Lawyers adopt own code

| 12/01/2012

wig-book-page16.jpg(CNS): Members of Cayman Islands’ legal profession have voluntarily adopted the code of conduct which forms part of the stalled legal practitioner’s bill, even though the law has not been passed in the Legislative Assembly. Dale Crowley, president of the Caymanian Bar Association, has said that the association in partnership with the Law Society has adopted thecode after government failed to pass the legislation that had been agreed by the profession, resulting in local lawyers losing the ability to practice overseas. Crowley said the profession was hoping the adoption of the conduct, despite the absence of a law, would persuade the UK bar to reinstatement of the right of Caymanian lawyers to qualify in Britain.

The proposed law to govern the locallegal profession has raised controversy because of the issues relating to immigration and what some have said is the discrimination of Caymanian professionals and trainees. In September the premier stated that it was the legal profession that could not agree and he had instructed local lawyers Sherri Bodden-Cowan and Theresa Pitcairn, who have been conducting research on the issue, to help draft a new bill.

However, speaking at the Grand Court opening on Wednesday, Crowley said the bill was agreed on over two years ago by both the Bar Association, which has 150 lawyers as members, and the Law Society, which represents the majority of the legal firms in Cayman.

Law Society President Charles Jennings echoed Crowley’s comments when he said that despite enjoying “the overwhelming support of the profession as a whole”, the bill had remained unpassed and both professional associations were unsure where it now stood.

“The bill seeks to address the practice of law, not, as some seem to think, immigration issues, and I believe it has aroused a great deal of controversy for reasons that are beyond its remit,” Jennings said in his own speech at the court opening ceremony. “Since however nobody so far has approached the Law Society to explain them to us, it is hard for us to know how we can meet them.”

Jennings explained that, since it appears the legislation will not be passed, the profession had taken it upon itself, on a firm-by-firm basis, to voluntarily adopt a Code of Conduct in the same form submitted to the government some seven years ago.  He said there were 25 law firms from the society representing the vast majority of the lawyers practicing in Cayman.

The failure of government to pass the bill has resulted in a loss of market share as an international financial centre and harmed Cayman’s reputation as a progressive jurisdiction, Crowley said Wednesday as he explained the need for adopting the code in the absence of the legislation.

He added that the profession had witnessed first-hand the negative impact that the failure to pass the legislation has had on Caymanian lawyers, who lost the ability to qualify in the United Kingdom based on their Cayman professional qualification because of the absence of a Code of Conduct.

“This prevents many young Caymanian lawyers from pursuing experience and opportunity in the United Kingdom, and also acts to severely curtail opportunities in other offshore jurisdictions where a UK qualification is required, including the BVI, Bermuda, the Channel Islands and Hong Kong – all jurisdictions in which Cayman firms have a presence,” Crowley said.

The Bar Association will now apply to the Law Society of England and Wales for a reinstatement of the right of Caymanian lawyers to qualify into the United Kingdom, the president added.

See code of conduct here.

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Comments (73)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The CBA and Law Society are fully aware that the reason why the legislation is not in place is because they want a law which contains provisions which will further marginalise the locals. They want lawyers in UK,  Hong Kong etc to be called to the Cayman Bar even  if they have never visited the Islands so that they can staff their foreign offices with persons other than Caymanians. They also do not want the government  to have oversight of their internal accounting hence their enactment of their own code. XXXX Tell the truth. Do not put this on the Government.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The expats who qualified in the UK or Canada don't benefit from this! They can qualify here under existing rules. All you need is a code of ethics and then Caymanans can have a shot at qualifying elsewhere. What is so hard to understand? 

    It's a no-brainer, why get it tied up in a discussion of who rules the bar in Cayman?

  3. Simon says:

    Locked out of the money making firms again. Prisoners in our own land. Our government leader stands by turns his head, shuts his eyes and covers his ears. When he does that to the professional class you know what he is doing to people like me. God help us all.

    • Yarn Dyce says:

      Isn't selection on merit rather than nationality a bummer?

      • Anonymous says:

        Sucks. I wish the UK would let foreign lawyers work there but they have strict quotas to ensure that UK citizens get jobs before any Canadian or Indian.

    • Leapfrog says:

      A perfect mix of self-pity and entitlement – parliamo Caymunian?

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh my goodness!  Why not start your own "money-making firm"?  

      • Anonymous says:

        Are you advocating apartheid?

        • Mr. Vholes says:

          I suspect you are advocating apartheid, the poster is advocating capitalism.

          • Anonymous says:

            Don't be silly. I am advocating that Caymanians have their place at the table. Any table. There should be no table from which they are excluded. That is the opposite of apartheid, knucklehead. The other poster on the other hand seemed to be suggesting that Caymanians did not belong there and there should be another table for Caymanians.   

  4. Anonymous says:

    Dude…, seriously?? The "Caymanian" or "Cayman" Bar Association is dominated by "expat" lawyers?? Is the executive dominated by expats too? Who gave up control of the Assoc if not Caymanians ourselves? anyway, this is not an us vs. them matter. Also, do you think this lack of a code of conduct is hurting opportunities for Caymanian lawyers or expat lawyers? Please note, expat lawyers ALREADY HAVE what they need to practice elsewhere, they are very transient, Caymanians are not as mobile and this will assist us but, low and behold, it does not get passed. Monkeys in a zoo could make better decisions than what we have in the LA!

    • Anonymous says:

      Control was given up with the status grants. It added a lot more 'Caymanian' attorneys and some Caymanian attorneys resigned from the CBA because they did not support the action to challenge the legality of the status grants.  Well it has now come back to bite them in the **s.  

      • Historian says:

        That would be the action the CBA did not have the spine to bring and have thus acted forever more as if they had won it?

  5. Knot S Smart says:

    A big city London lawyer went duck hunting in rural Scotland. He shot and dropped a bird, but it fell into a farmer's field on the other side of a fence.

    As the lawyer climbed over the fence, an elderly farmer drove up on his tractor and asked the lawyer what he was doing.

    The lawyer responded, "I shot a duck and it fell into this field, and now I'm going to retrieve it."

    The old farmer replied. "This is my property, and your not coming over here."

    The indignant lawyer replied. "I'm one of the best trial lawyers in the UK, and if you don't let me get that duck, I'll sue you and take everything that you own.

    The old farmer smiled and said, "Apparently, you don't know how we do things in Scotland. We settle small disagreements like this, with the Scottish Three Kick Rule."

    The lawyer asked, "What is the Scottish Three Kick Rule?"

    The farmer replied, "Well, first I kick you three times and then you kick me three times, and so on, back and forth until someone gives up."

    The attorney quickly thought about the proposed contest and decided that he could easily take the old codger. He agreed to abide by the local custom.

    The old farmer slowly gets down from the tractor and walked up to the city fella. His first kick planted the toe of his heavy work boot into the lawyer's groin, which dropped him to his knees.

    His second kick nearly ripped the nose off his face.

    The lawyer was flat on his belly, when the farmer's third kick to a kidney nearly causing him to give up, but didn't.

    The lawyer summoned every bit of his will and managed to get to his feet and said, "Okay, you old tosser, now it's my turn."

    The old farmer smiled and said,

    "Naw, I give up, You can keep the duck!"

  6. Anonymous says:

    Lets get more to the point. So does this mean that once we have UK acceptance of Caymanian lawyers that Caymanian lawyers can practice elsewhere in the Commonwealth automatically?

    • Anonymous says:

      No.  Each jurisdiction (including this one) controls admission to its own legal profession. Commonwealth lawyers cannot be admitted here automatically: they have to show qualifications comparable as to law, practice and procedure to those of a Cayman attorney or certain other prescribed qualifications.

      What is does (if accepted by the English regulator) is to remove an obstacle, faced by lawyers qualified only in Cayman, to obtaining recognition of that qualification for the purposes of becoming solicitors in England and Wales, which qualification in turn is necessary or helpful in qualifying in several other jurisdictions.  Understandably the regulator had been taking the position that the lack of a code of conduct in Cayman meant that a Cayman qualification was not equivalent.

      Now what we need is for Government to get on and pass the law.

      • Anonymous says:

        This one doesn’t truly control admission to the legal profession. The lack of integrity of a number of members of it ought to be evidence of that. The immigration abuses alone could sink some of them. The record is there in writing, but then again – this is Cayman.

  7. Absurdistani says:

    Of course, this has not been actioned by the UDP. It would be to the benefit of Caymanians which is not in line with the UDP's "give away Cayman" strategy.

    Once again, Mac is blaming others for this mess.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The Premier said the "legal profession could not agree".  The legal profession said "the bill was agreed on over two years ago by both the Bar Association, which has 150 lawyers as members, and the Law Society, which represents the majority of the legal firms in Cayman".

    Who is lying?


    • Anonymous says:

      Not agreed by Caymanian attorneys and these days the CBA is dominated by expat attorneys with status.  

      • Anonymous says:


        While you’re at it. No law firm should be permitted to conduct business in the Cayman Islands if they refuse to hire our young Caymanian attorneys that need to be articled there.

        If government can fine violators $100,000 of the customs law where tampering with a container is concerned….Then by golly government can pass a law that law firms be fined $250,000 for refusing to hire our young Caymanian lawyers who need jobs., Yes they would be making that amount or more so. Lets get some checks and balance here……Ezzard put it on the table please.
        Alden you’re the PPM leader why are you so quiet on this one, do you have space for young people where you work in that law firm?
        You should have taken care of ths long ago.

        • Tiny Briefs says:

          Young Caymanian attorneys would not need to be articled would they?   What you are referring to are mere law graduates.  Only a fraction of those with a law degree are suitable for a career as an attorney.  The large law firms tend to over-recruit at the articles stage.

        • xxxx 'em!!!! says:

          Yeah, those boostairds practicing law here like they own their own busnesses or something!! Xxxx ’em all and send them back where they came from!! That’ll show them. Who needs checks and balances? Just run them all off and let’s get back to running our own international law practices! Ezzard can be our managing partner!

        • JTB says:

          "While you're at it. No law firm should be permitted to conduct business in the Cayman Islands if they refuse to hire our young Caymanian attorneys that need to be articled there."


          That already happens. As part of any law firm's business staffing plan they will be required to take on articled clerks, the number depending on the size of the firm. If those articled clerks are any good, then on qualification they will be retained, both because they are cheaper than expats and also because it keeps the immigration board happy.


          The paranoia and delusion about expats excluding Caymanians from law firms in this island is quite amazing. If they are good enough, the system is already rigged to give them an advantage. The only reason any Caymanian law graduate can't get a job in a Caymanian law firm, is because they are not good enough.

      • Anonymous says:

        OK.  Just wondering based on the article.  But wouldn't the ability to practice outside of Cayman be of benefit to all attorneys?

        • Canadian Lawyer says:

          If I can add this to the mix, firms here are hiring everyone who has 2 things: the required Law Society qualification and a pulse (we’re in a bit of an economic boom here), and the 1st years start at about $95,000 and you’re in the $200,000+ range by year 5. I’m qualified in 3 jurisdictions (including yours), and I’m happy to be where the money’s at. Caymanians would do very well to ensure that they have inter-jurisdictional portability of qualifications as well, so as to be able to come up here (for example) and earn what is actually quite a lot of money, in a friendly welcoming common-law jurisdiction. Having worked with your clerks and our articling students (as we call them), your junior associates would do just fine here. As someone else posted, onshore-trained expats already have the ability to go where they will – you should make Mac give you the same opportunities.
          Best wishes from Canada.

        • Anonymous says:

          Clearly, what is your point? 

          • Anonymous says:

            My question was along the lines of:  if being able to practice outside of Cayman benefits all attorneys, why would the law allowing that "not [be] agreed [to] by Caymanian attorneys"?

            • Anonymous says:

              Err… because the proposed law contains many other provisions which are detrimental to Caymanians.  Clear enough for you?

              The possibility of Cayman-trained attorneys being eligible for admission in the UK was not a any part of the objective originally. It is just a spin being on the issue by the Law Society.  

              • Anonymous says:

                I'm not a lawyer and was just seeking to learn more about what was going on with this issue.  Remind me to never ask a question unless I already know all the answers.  Jesus, you're a prick.  Is that clear enough for YOU?

      • Anonymous says:

        Nonsense. As you are presumably referring to so-called “indigenous Caymanian” lawyers, about 5 disagree with it and the rest agree. So much for the majority view prevailing.

        • Anonymous says:

          You mean those who appear to agree are employed by firms who give them no option but to agree. 

          • Anonymous says:

            That’s just a modern urban myth that suits what is in reality a tiny band of whiners: “there are thousands of us but most can’t speak up out of fear”. The real reasons the “others” don’t speak up are (1) they don’t support the whiners, (2) unlike the whiners, they’ve got work to do, and (3) er, they’re happy with their lot.

            Reality check: it’s no coincidence that the whiners are failed or wannabe politicians. It’s a common trait of such creatures to claim support they don’t have.

            • Anonymous says:

              …..and failed lawyers.

            • Anonymous says:

              It's no urban myth. There are of course some Caymanian 'sell outs' who think their best interest is served by brown nosing who will regret it in the end.  Their mentality is as long as I keep my head down and don't make any waves I will eventually be rewarded with partnership and make a lot of money. You sound like one of them. Do you really think they have any respect for you? 

              • Anonymous says:

                No, they’re just hard working young Caymanian lawyers who enjoy working at the big firms and are well-rewarded for doing so. It’s not a question of nationality; there are people like them all over the world. It’s only in the bitter, twisted mindsets of the populist politicians (which is what I imagine YOU see yourself as) and/or those who couldn’t make the cut as successful lawyers that working hard in a big law firm equates to “selling out” or “brown-nosing”. Shame on you: you’re doing several bright young fellow Caymanians a huge disservice – assuming you’re a Caymanian, that is, which I doubt.

                • Anonymous says:

                  You imagine wrong.

                  As I am sure you know "working hard" is not what I am calling brown nosing. It is going along to get along regardless of principles. It is their willingness to shaft their Caymanian colleagues in order to gain favour. There are a few who don't.

      • JimBob says:

        Expat attorneys with status – is this your attempt to avoid calling them what they are  – Caymanians.

        • Anonymous says:

          Calling them Caymanians is your attempt to disguise what they are – expats with status. They certainly don't consider themselves Caymanian unless there is some particular benefit to be derived.  

          • Dollar Bill says:

            Nice bit of thinly veiled racism there.

            • Anonymous says:

              Race is not part of the issue.

            • Anonymous says:

              Oh yes. As soon as Caymanian points out the truth about expats behaviour he is "racist" or "xenophobic" but expats can say whatever they like about Caymanians but they are somehow immune to the charge of racism. Hypocrite. 

          • Anonymous says:

            "They certainly don't consider themselves Caymanian unless there is some particular benefit to be derived."  Which is the only reason we ever wanted status in the first place.  2003 you have to love it.

      • Bueller says:

        That would be the CBA with over 150 members (excluding student members). Just how many Caymanian lawyers do you think there are?

        • Anonymous says:

          A lot more than you think. Unfortunately many of them are not actually in the profession any more. Easy work permits fixed that.

          • Mr Vholes says:

            Or perhaps the demands of competence . . .

            • Anonymous says:

              …because to be Caymanian means incompetence.

              One thing this forum does is to bring out the racism which is otherwise hidden.  

              • JTB says:

                No Caymanian doesn't necessarily equate to incompetence. But equally, it does not necessarily equate to competence.


                Being born Caymanian, or getting a law degree, are not of themselves sufficient to justify a job in an offshore law firm.

      • Hanging Judge says:

        "expat attorneys with status" – i.e. Caymanians.

        The CBA is a pathetic protectionist body which does not more than preserve income for the mediocre.  The Law Scoiety is the only credible voice of the profession.

        • Anonymous says:

          An expat attorney is granted a work permit.

          In return he is required to train Caymanians.

          He does a little but slacks off. Then it is time for a key employee application. For a few months he is assigned somone to train.

          He gets key employee.

          The Caymanian he was training is laid off almost immediately.

          The lawyers gets PR, then status and joins the CBA.

          He doesn’t like Caymanians in Cayman and is publicly disparaging of both. He can’t wait to leave or at least get behind his gated community so he does not have to interact with a real one.

          How is an indigenous Caymanian supposed to view them?

          • Statusshmatus says:

            I would think "well done for playing the game so well".

            • Anonymous says:

              I suppose you would, right up until the point your attitude creates a mob mentality that chases you off what could be a wonderful Island which benefits all.

            • Anonymous says:

              That's right. When an expat behaves poorly to benefit himself it is "well done". If a Caymanian does so he is "third world". Thanks for demonstratingthe expat hypocrisy we know exists. 

        • Anonymous says:

          Well they appear to be one and the same these days.

        • Anonymous says:

          You find the Law Society "credible" because it serves your interests. The reason the CBA was formed was because Caymanian attorneys were outnumbered and had no real say in the Law Society. XXXX 

          • Anonymous says:

            Well said. Caymanian lawyers have no voice in the Law Society. That organization only represents the interests of firms. The firms are controlled by expatriates including expatriates who do not even live in Cayman. The CBA is severely fettered in what it can say and do in part because many of it’s members may be Caymanian, but their prime loyalty is elsewhere.

            • Turtle Pattie says:

              Why don't you set up a "Really Really Caymanian (Sons of the Soil Only) Bar Association" and get together with other embittered lawyers who blame their failure to make it in a market where to be frank a passport ought to be a guarantee of a huge salary on the furreigners and see how you get on?  I know a few of Mac's friends who would be card carrying members.

              • Anonymous says:

                A number of the brightest and most insightful Caymanian attorneys (a number of whom are quite successful) are telling it like it is.  You can't handle that so you make up this ridiculous figure.  

                • Turtle Pattie says:

                  I think you are making up the fact that I made up a figure since there were no figures in my post.  It is that sort of poor comprehension that probably held back your legal career.

                  • Anonymous says:

                    You were, as you are, now relying upon ridiculous stereotypes. "Figure" was used to persons. What's that you were saying about poor comprehension? 

                    BTW my legal career was not held back. I am quite successful.  

    • Anonymous says:

      The problem was the Caymanian Bar Association and the friends of Mac.  What was an already overly protectionist piece of legislation which would increase the cost of using Cayman as an OFC was not protectionist enough to meet the unreasonable demands of certain local practitioners.

    • Anonymous says:

      well, the Premier is not a lawyer…and you know what they say about lawyers, hmmmm

      plus the Law Society cannot actually represent the true Caymanian 'voice' since most are status holders and many were given status becuase of their legal profession in first place……

  9. Anonymous says:

    Traditionally societies have little faith in their sharks. Yet our sharks are setting the standards, for which we should be grateful. We do have some really smart sharks here. But what does this make our politicians, eyeless jumbo shrimp? Its no coincidence that some of our sharks are moving to Luxembourg. 

  10. WOW says:

    It seems as if the UDP is fast losing the support of the legal professionals who traditionally wrote huge checks to support the party and received "favours" in return. I wonder if this signals the shutdown of those parasitic relationships and now we will finally see some of the big firms brought under control so that the abusive attitudes and practices will stop, particularly in relation to their employees.

    It appears that the governments lack of action in this area has put a dent in some big pockets. But I guess this is what happens when you have a "prostitiute government" and a better prospect comes along.

    As we have seen it didnt take long for that pretty green dress to slide down to the floor when Mr Dart and the Chinese started waving dollar bills.

    Ahh Cayman our government is such a little slut

    • The Watcher says:

      WOW!!!  Our Government is such a little slut.  Lol!!

      After some careful thinking, whether I like it our not I have to agree with all you have said.  But can we find any among the whole team who will prove to be any better for the People of Cayman.  If your car is broken down, then show me you can fix it.  I do not want to hear plans until it stop running.

      I am a Caymanian "The Watcher" but I watch every one and express how I feel, so I have ample time to watch Caymanians and expatriates Caymanians and non Caymanians.   My question however is to hear what every one is looking for.   Can we please every one?  No we cannot. however it is nothing wrong with trying.   So for the year 2012, I will continue to be :The Watcher: and see how this little slut of a Government, you say we have turn into a real DOWN TOWN SKETELL.

  11. Help us Please!!! says:

    Another case of the incompetence of the CIG hurting business and damaging the very citizens that it was supposedly elected to represent and help, and of business trying to “work around” the fact that they exist in a business environment with a defective form of government and incompetent leadership. Very large congratulations to Cayman’s CBA and LS for organizing itself to get past the CIG’s failings, and best of luck in trying to assist Caymanian lawyers in gaining traction internationally. It’s just remarkable that the CIG is working against you…

    • Theo says:

      There is always three sides to any story, you know; the right side, the wrong side and my side, Get IT.

    • Anonymous says:

      In the CIG's defense, its not that they are intentionally working against us. They don't even understand the businesses Cayman is in. To them we pay dividends on bonds and interest on equities. They think Cayman is the only island in the Caribbean, perhaps even the world. This ignorance is compounded by them going into the business of helping themselves. Cayman happens to be in two very competitive businesses. We need to elect the best and brightest to government in order to survive. Yes survive. God forbid such a person wasn't born here. For those of you who fit the bill but don't want to run for elections, hear me loud and clear, find alternative passports for your kids. They will never have the life you had here once this group of politicians are done with us.