Local lawyer takes on Maples

| 21/01/2009

(CNS): A writ of summons has been filed in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands on behalf of Theresa Pitcairn, a Caymanian attorney, against her former employers, Maples and Calder. Dated 11 December, the document contains an extensive statement of claim which sets out Pitcairn’s grievances that she was discriminated against in terms of salary, bonuses, training, distribution of work and promotion when compared to expatriate attorneys at the firm.

According to the statement, Pitcairn claims that she had worked “tirelessly and loyally” for the company for many years and had been led to believe that she could expect to rise to partner. However, Pitcairn claims that despite promises made as far back as 2004 she was held back from advancing, was unfairly treated and paid well below other lawyers at the firm, despite being commended for her work.

In her final full year of service, 2007, her sixteenth withthe firm and her fourteenth as a fully qualified lawyer, Pitcairn states that she was offered an annual salary equivalent to that earned by lawyers with 3-4 years post qualification experience. In the claim Pitcairn’s attorney Graham Hampson states, “By awarding Mrs Pitcairn a salary at that level Maples discriminated unfairly between her and expatriate lawyers with equivalent or less post qualification experience.

“Notwithstanding the many representations made to her by Maples the inescapable conclusion reached by Mrs Pitcairn was that Maples had no genuine intention of making her a partner. In addition, Maples was seeking to maintain Mrs Pitcairn’s salary at a level which was below the level of a lawyer with less post qualification experience.”

The statement of claim says that Maples failed to provide Pitcairn with adequate training; fair opportunities; a fair distribution of work; equal remuneration with equivalently experienced and qualified expatriate lawyers; make her a partner before the end of 2006 and had acted in a manner that discriminated between her as a Caymanian attorney and other non-Caymanian Attorney’s and on the grounds of her gender and /or her race and otherwise than on merit and ability.

The claim also contains correspondence between Maples and Pitcairn’s attorney where the firm denies the accusations.  In the letter Maples states that Pitcairn had fallen short of the standards required to become a partner in her annual assessments. The letter stated that while Pitcairn was considered as being able to “…deal adequately with certain types of transactional work, she has not yet proved herself capable of detailed technical analysis, difficult problem solving or leading complex or novel transaction without supervision by a partner.”

Despite the fact that the statement of claim describes the circumstances under which Theresa had been commended for her work and the various circumstances under which she was led to believe she would be offered a partnership, Maples have denied any such promises were ever made and said that partners had taken a great deal of time to train Pitcairn over the years and she had been offered numerous trianing opportunities. Despite those efforts Maples said she still scored too low in her assessment to be made a partner.

"There is only one route to partnership at Maples and Calder: convincing the equity partners of one’s suitability," the correspondence stated. 

Pitcairn claims she was first led to believe she would be made partner by Anthony Travers (although retired now, Travers was at the time the firm’s senior partner) in 2004 when she was told she was meeting the criteria to become partner within a year or two.

Even prior to her review at the end of 2006, Pitcairn claims that other partners told her Maples had no issues or concerns regarding her dedication, hard work, loyalty and legal knowledge, and stated they were happy with her performance and encouraged her to submit an application for partnership.

Maples told CNS yesterday that the firm would be vigorously contesting the action and would be filing its response to the statement of claim shortly.

Maples and Calder, established in Cayman in 1967, is an international law firm specializing in international and offshore law. It is headquartered at Ugland House, which hit the international headlines in 2007 when US Senator Carl Levin announced that there were 12,748 companies registered there.  The firm has offices in seven offshore jurisdictions, including Cayman where it employs 102 lawyers;  26 are said to be Caymanian and of those 10 are partners.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This lawyer is sooooo right and I do not even work in the firm’s cayman office.  Good for you Theresa

  2. Anonymous says:

    THAT’S RIGHT THERESA, SOCK IT TO THEM! AND SOCK IT TO THEM GOOD! Don’t let them intimidate you! And don’t stop until you get justice! Too many Caymanians sit down and let OTHER people and these big foreign Firms and Companies in Cayman walk all over them and take advantage of them in their own country, Cayman; and they choose to say or do nothing. But I know you. You won’t let up or give in. I know you will be like a Pit Bull on their heels. Theresa is a very successful, diligent, determined, intelligent and strategic Go-Getter. She knows what she is doing! She has already overcame many barriers and obstacles in her lifetime and she is still going stronger, more beautiful and better than ever. She will come out on top no matter what. Just remember this: YOU CAN’T KEEP A GOOD WOMAN DOWN. ESPECIALLY A GOOD, STRONG, INTELLIGENT, BEAUTIFUL, CAYMANIAN WOMAN THAT IS WELL LOVED BY ALL.

    Best Wishes Theresa, and may you succeed in this and all your future endeavors. God Bless You.


  3. Anonymous says:

    Unless you are Caymanian, and unless you have worked at Maples (especially over the period of time that these young, female, Caymanian attorneys are referring to) you can never know, or speak objectively, about the issues raised in the writ. Those who have been there are the only people who know, understand, and can speak to the culture of this firm’s practices. This debate is not about personality differences; it isn’t even about capability. It’s about consistency, fairness and doing what is right.  If I were the firm’s managing partners I would seriously consider whether this public debate is worth the long-term reputational damage that might be brought to bear on certain individuals, or to the firm as a whole.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The following parallels to this debate may be of interest to your readers. The arguments propounded here echo the arguments made by the Nationalist Socialists in the 1930s in support of the final solution. Karl Marx observed at the beginning of The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, “Hegel remarks somewhere that all facts and personalities of great importance in world history occur, as it were, twice. He forgot to add: The first time as tragedy, the second as farce.”

    “A self-respecting nation cannot, on a scale accepted up to now, leave its higher activities in the hands of people of racially foreign origin”  (The explanation in the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung of April 27, 1933 for the law enacted by the Nazi government of Germany to restrict the proportion of Jewish students at German universities)
    “What they [Jews] possess today, they have…gained at the cost of the … German nation by the most reprehensible manipulations….[They] were capable of snatching all the leading positions… and have prevented the less successful Germans from developing their abilities. We have hundreds of thousands of intelligent children …. and we wish that one day they…will hold the leading positions”  (Adolph Hitler, Speech to the Reichstag, 30 January 1939)
    • Anonymous says:

      To equate the legitimate concerns of Caymanians about the discrimination they experience in their own country with nazism is absolutely specious, preposterous and reprehensible. How on earth does saying that we are not content with crumbs that fall from the table but want our rightful place at our own table amount to nazism?! This is reminiscent of the old Western movies where the ‘Injuns’ were pushed off their land by the white settlers in the name of progress and fought back were then labelled as "savages".  Indian = evil; white settler = good.  

  5. Anonymous says:


    I hope people do not allow raw emotions, albeit understandable, to cloud their vision and lead them to believe that such situations are purely down to an anti "Caymanian" stance towards career progression. Logically speaking, discrimination has been felt in workplaces all over the world throughout history, for diverse reasons – ageism, racism, "colour" discrimination even when, ironically, the "victim" is working in his/her country of birth – the list is endless. However, one underlying factor – I believe – always rears its head and will continue to do so again and again and that is the fact that the majority of money-making corporations have a disproportionate number of MALE vs FEMALE employers at the helm and as long as women largely play a role further down the corporate ladder than their male counterparts, there will always be sex discrimination and female repression in the workforce!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I find it interesting KB that your comment posted on Wed Jan 21 didn’t contain your full or real name either!!!!!

    Yes Anonymous! Just like you!

    Hats off to Theresa for standing up for her rights and for giving the rest of us Caymanians hope to stand up for our rights as well in the work place!

  7. whodatis says:

    Someone left the following comment…

    "What a load of foolishness. This person is a lawyer for heavens sake and dealing with other lawyers. There has never been such a profession of self-serving, arrogant individuals on the face of this earth. They deserve each other and guess what, it’s all about the money.

    Wake up Cayman!

    Lawyers, Bankers and Insurance ‘Professionals’, when the next Ivan comes, guess what, your profession means nothing. Get a real job. Losers."



    This is absolutely the best comment thus far on this topic!

    I couldn’t agree more! However, so many Caymanians are quick to jump on the bandwagon of this being such a "wholesome", "conservative", and "Christian" nation!!


    Our economy THRIVES off of cut-throat international commerce, government corruption, illegal financial activity, proceeds of lucrative drug-trafficking and so on – let us not kid ourselves please.

    We are a global financial centre that plays a major part in trillions of dollars of trade every year – I guarantee you all that much of this wealth has been created by illegal, crooked and injust means.

    The person also said – "Get a real job. Losers" – whereas this was a source of much amusement it held a valid point. These "professions" are merely swimming in the wake of profits and most likely inflated, projected $ global worth (as evidenced by the current economic crisis).

    They are essentially "working for money" – as in MONEY is actually their boss, product, motivation and obsession. When one really takes a serious look at the situation it is actually quite sad.

    All the best Cayman,


  8. Caymanian abroad says:

    I think Pitcairn has mounted an important claim here that allows the public to examine many aspects of this sensitive issue – Caymanians vs expats.  

    I’ve been working abroad as a professional for over 5 years.  I feel confident in saying that as an expat, I can clearly see the glass-ceiling effect.  All the other expats that I work with agree.  In my view, the locals are underpaid even though they are equally qualified or better.  I have a masters degree from a UK university and most of my counterpart locals have a masters degree and a Phd in the same field from UK universities, however, I’m still paid more.  And even worse, the British professionals here with just bachelor degrees are also paid more the locals.  By the way, there are over 500 locals with PhDs doing the same work and some with more experience than I.  Real issues.


    • Anonymous says:

      I was beginning to think we had a honest expat expressing an opinion until the 500 locals with Ph.Ds came into play. My position has allowed me to have first hand information. There is absolutely no doubt at all that expats (not meaning our Caribean neighbours) are paid more than Caymanians having the same qualifications and experience for the same job.  There are additional perks and benefits, sometimes part of the salary is paid abroad. And no, this is not the result of their superior performance since it starts at the outset. The ads in the local newspapers contain significantly lower salaries than overseas ads. As John Adams said, facts are stubborn things. They are not erased by sarcasm.  Unfortunately, sometimes other Caymanians are complicit in the discriminatory treatment.

      P.S. here is the full quote: "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence"

    • Anonymous says:
      Well done, I applaud you…………..!!!!!
      People……………… please read……… the words….. (over-and-over) if you have to, then, and only then, will you understand what this person is trying to say (see the issues the writer has raised for what they are) don’t attack writer it is just ink on a page, attack the issues.
      I have no doubt that the writer is delighted to be an expat, since Caymanians are 2nd class citizens in there own country, that’s why they are all here… don’t you get it….????? this is the only place in the world where the natives are 2nd classed to the immigrants population.
      The writer is on the outside looking in, and have stated the facts….., the truth……………, the way they see, and the way things are……………..
    • Anonymous says:

      1)Ask any member of staff (yes, I mean staff, not lawyers or partners) at M&C and they will tell you why Pitcairn was not, and never would have been, made a partner, no matter her colour/ethnicity.

      2) Qualifications mean very little — you can either do the job well, or you can’t. Pay has  little to do with formal academic qualifications; you might need formal qualifications to qualify for a job, but beyond that they’re meaningless. Wake up!  


      • Anonymous says:

        Not true. I worked with "Pitcairn" for many years. She is able enough. How would "any member of staff" know how to assess partnership potential? That is a ridiculous statement.

        • Anonymous says:

          I see the old professional reputation assassination machine is at work again.

          • Anonymous says:

            Re: @ Quote:.."I see the old professional reputation assassination machine is at work again. ..":Unquote.


            • Anonymous says:

              I love the caps and the authoritarian and defensive tone it reflects. I’m just shivering now. It means that various posts here and elsewhere reflect a coordinated effort to unfairly damage Mrs. Pitcairn’s professional reputation. Is that clear enough for you?     

      • Anonymous says:

        There is an interesting parallel to this in article in the Cayman Net News of 29th Jan entitled ‘Law Firm accused of Bias’. It starts: "Hard on the heels of a writ issued last month charging legal firm Maples and Calder with anti-Caymanian discrimination, Cayman Net News has learnt of a similar writ against the firm in 2005, filed by Caymanian Sophia Dilbert".

        Is there a pattern here?

  9. Anonymous says:

    What a load of foolishness. This person is a lawyer for heavens sake and dealing with other lawyers. There has never been such a profession of self-serving, arrogant individuals on the face of this earth. They deserve each other and guess what, it’s all about the money.

    Wake up Cayman!

    Lawyers, Bankers and Insurance ‘Professionals’, when the next Ivan comes, guess what, your profession means nothing. Get a real job. Losers.

    • Anonymous says:

      Everyone beats up on lawyers until they need one, then you’re a saviour. I remember a friend once remonstrating that I had only joined the profession for the money. Well, first chance he got he went to law school to join us! So unfortunately, a lot of ignorance and envy abounds. One can make any occupation sound mercenary. It takes an unhealthy degree of cynicism, uncommon ignorance or a toxic dose of envy to be so overweening as to dismiss three entire professions. 

      • whodatis says:

        Whodatis step on sumboddy’ toe a’ wha’?

        Re: "Everyone beats up on lawyers until they need one, then you’re a saviour. I remember a friend once remonstrating that I had only joined the profession for the money. Well, first chance he got he went to law school to join us! So unfortunately, a lot of ignorance and envy abounds. One can make any occupation sound mercenary. It takes an unhealthy degree of cynicism, uncommon ignorance or a toxic dose of envy to be so overweening as to dismiss three entire professions."

        Ok – the term "lawyer" is quite broad.

        In this particular instance (meaning the law firm involved), the "lawyers" that we speak of are not the "fight for justice" and "let us right all wrongs in the world" type of lawyers.

        The legal profession at the the time of its conception was an honorable, necessary and respectable one. Today however, it is not. You know exactly what I mean as you are in the field.

        The most lucrative areas of legal practice (which coincidentally are the very ones that roughly 95% of Cayman based lawyers are a part of or are trying their darn hardest to be a part of) do not warrant or deserve the respect and admiration often bestowed upon them.

        Personally, I find it quite disappointing that such inherently intelligent individuals select such shallow and meaningless forms of employment. That brilliance could be applied to much greater causes in this world. It is sad that education and intelligence the world over now translates into the avenue of selfish substantial wealth. Wouldn’t you agree?

        • Anonymous says:

          The legal profession continues to be an honourable one. I would certainly trust the average lawyer far quicker than I would the average member of the public.

          In case you haven’t heard, Cayman’s economy is largely supported by the financial services sector. That is where the jobs are! It is therefore no coincidence that the practice of most Caymanian lawyers would support that sector. Incidentally, there are at least as many Caymanian accountants. They should be on your hit list as well. I am not sure what you mean by a ‘real job’ or why you imagine these jobs are shallow and meaningless. What do you propose exactly, that we ratchet up the crime rate even higher so that we can all become criminal defence attorneys and prosecutors, that there be a ‘brain drain’ from Cayman in search of ‘real jobs’, or that we return to farming and fishing?  The quips are not so cute when you really think about the issue, are they?


  10. Anonymous says:

     To sad but optimistic Caymanian… 

    well written and great points.. and yes I think that my experiences are mostly blue collar rather than white. I have seen so many workers who only show up when they feel like it and then finally just stop showing up. True.. this is not a reflection of every Caymanian worker… just the experience I see more often in my own sphere. I also wonder why I hear people calling talk radio shows to complain about people not being given jobs and not having work to feed their families yet I see entire industries with nearly no Caymanian people participating (eg. diving). True, this is not a great paying industry but its better than nothing. In the end.. I think every country has immigration issues similar to here except that being such a small place they may become more readily seen day to day. I posted to see what kinds of responses might arise and its been enlightening to hear back. Thanks. 

  11. Anonymous says:

    Shame Shame, thank god for those who fought for the emancipation of the Slaves!

    Obama would not be the Most Celebrated President today!

    Shame on those who cannot see the injustice that they have done..And are still doing.

    For one who was born in Jamaica then lived in England  for 16 years &  now the Cayamn Islands for the past 20 years & of Caymanian Father, I have seen prejudice in many places around the globe, but there has been also great improvements and they continue to strive, so lets not go backwards but forwards for equality & respect for each other.



  12. Anonymous says:

    …and where are the "Caymanian" law firms inall of this, how have they assisted "Caymanian" lawyers?

    Examine the track record of "Caymanian" law firms over the past 30 years and then see how many of the early "Caymanian" law firms made "Caymanians" full equity partners?

    There is a very, very poor record of "Caymanian’ lawers assisting other "Caymanian" lawyers.

    It would be an interesting exercise to determine how many Caymanians were made equity partners at "Expat" law firms vs. "Caymanian" law firms.

    If ever there was a good example of the "Crabs in the bucket’ syndrome then it is the "Caymanian" vs. "Caymanian", equity law partners / salaried lawyers.

  13. Anonymous says:

    “An unemployed lawyer is a REVOLUTION.”

    From “The Adventurers” by Harold Robbins 1966
    Has the REVOLUTION begun?
    Do we have to have REVOLUTION to bring about “Change” in this era of much promised “Change”?
    When commenting on the euphoria following electing one of the many “New” Cayman Islands governments by sweeping out the “Old” government, that venerable newsman and commentator Dorin Miller said “Don’t be fooled again all that has happened is that we will see “New Faces” and hear “New Voices” on the political stage, but they will all be reading from the same “Old script””!  
    If the basic script is not changed then things will indeed remain the same. 
    Will Dorin be proven right again after the 2009 election?
    Why do successive Cayman Islands governments waste the “Goodwill Capital” of an enthusiastic electorate at the beginning of their term by embracing so many of the ways of the “Old Government”?
    Will the electorate find ways to hold their favourite political candidates truly accountable?
  14. Anonymous says:


    This post is to address to the poster stating “I wonder what motivation” as well as all others.
    Please allow me to offer my view of their “motivation”; for as long as I can remember, firms like M&C have been allowed to discriminate against Caymanians, albeit unintentionally at the beginning as I am confident that there were not too many highly qualified “Caymanian Lawyers” back in 1967 looking for a job. Couple that with the fact we too (as the world all over) have our own self-serving fellow “Caymanians” in positions of power resulting in conflict of interests who perpetuate the discrimination for their own personal direct or indirect gain. As the saying goes “it’s not what you know but rather who you know”. This is a truth we have to admit so we can address it accordingly.
    There is also the issue of the “comfort zone” this is a trait all humans from the beginning of time have displayed, in that we band together with our own cultures i.e. European with European, American With American, Caribbean with Caribbean etc. I know from personal experience during my college days that all the different nationalities (while being of a social nature) gathered in pockets throughout the campus as the obvious reason being they could relate to each others customs etc. thus creating the “comfort zone”. This is in my humble opinion part of what’s happening here as we are truly an international community. Like it or not.
     Work Ethic:
    The accusation that we Caymanians, don’t show up for work on time or at all is utter rubbish! In so far as the “white collar”, educated worker is concerned, there is a level of discipline that is required to obtain an education which I humbly submit would carry over to their respective philosophy in everyday life as a general rule. (Not to say we don’t have bad apples). I would hasten to admit that the accusation leveled of Caymanians not showing up for work is more applicable to the “blue collar” sector, not true for all or even most, but a reality non the less. As a Caymanian employer I have experienced the same in the past. That said, we should not all be painted with the same brush.
    Running the country:
    I for one do not believe that we Caymanians have built or even could run this island without the assistance of foreign nationals that have come and gone as well as the ones we have currently invited to our shores. Anyone who thinks otherwise is in need of medical attention.
    I do believe however, that we have played and must continue to insist that we play a significant role in the development of our island and that we be given (not without merit) equal opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with our counterparts. Remember! We did it as sea men; we can do it as lawyers, bankers, accountants, construction workers etc.
    If you don’t go to the doctor and complain about a pain that is hindering you from functioning properly in everyday life how can you expect to get or feel better?? Where there is smoke there is fire!! Granted, not all complaints are valid but when you have decades of the same complaints, no rational person would say there is nothing going on here.
    I would hate to think that Mrs. Pitcairn’s education is being questioned, especially after being employed by M&C for the past 16 years! That said, to address your comment about educating oneself. It is incumbent on both an employee and employer to ensure continued professional development which all too often, despite making tens and even thousands of millions of dollars annually, large companies do not offer adequate opportunities. I wonder what percentages of any large multinational company net profits are used to provide professional development for the local populous of the country in which they enjoy their tax free status and thus reap the fruits of that status? Hmmmmm….
    Free handouts:
    I take personal offence to the accusation that we as a people are looking for free handouts! While we (as in all places) have a few rotten apples in our barrel, I feel obligated to state that we are (as throughout history) prepared to work to EARN our keep. All we ask is to be placed on a level playing field with our foreign counter parts rather than being asked to train our supervisors to do their job when they take up their posts.
    There is a disparity between local and foreign nationals both socially and professionally which is perpetuated by both parties. A disparity which I would hasten to add need not exist if only there were a true effort to provide equality in the work force (handouts not required).
    It is up to us Caymanians to continue demanding our just deserve (not a free lunch) while respecting your foreign co-worker/ neighbor, understanding that they too are here to better themselves and or families and that the job they perform allows their employer to contribute to the success of our islands economy (we benefit) when you consider the big picture.
    While I personally encourage dialogue be it in favor or against, I would like to suggest that it be done with less emotion (on both sides) and more objectivity so that we may reduce the great divide.
      We can and we must work together and remove the hate that is growing as it will otherwise grow into a cancer that will consume thus destroy our island paradise. The evidence is all around for us to see, just look at our neighbors……..
    A sad but optimistic Caymanian!  
  15. noname says:

    All aboard the Entitlement Express!

    The summary of the claim does not tell us what the attorney in question billed, what experience she has outside of Cayman, how she performed in terms of marketing or her relationship with major interntional clients.  These are the hallmarks of a partner in a leading law firm not raw years qualfied and a nationality.  That plus the prospect of enough business in their field of expertise to sustain another mouth to feed.

    Every law  firm promises senior associates they are partnership material for as long as possible until it is obvious they are not.  It is the only way of holding on to these important assets. 

    If anything, law firms discriminate in favour of Caymanians: they are cheaper to employ (no permits), tend to stay longer (they don’t have significant others who get bored of being away from the "real world") and when a good one is available they are always taken rather than having to employ a second-rater to appease the powers that be.

    In employment terms Cayman is a small town.  A small town with a poor education system for the very best.  At best Cayman, as a small provincial town, could not be expected to produce more than a handful of top quality international corporate attorneys.  The same would be true for a small provincial town with a similar population in Queensland, Manitoba or Lincolnshire.  That is simply a question of numbers not discrimination. 




    • Anonymous says:

      "The summary of the claim does not tell us what the attorney in question billed, what experience she has outside of Cayman, how she performed in terms of marketing or her relationship with major interntional clients.  These are the hallmarks of a partner in a leading law firm not raw years qualfied and a nationality.  That plus the prospect of enough business in their field of expertise to sustain another mouth to feed".

      The problem is that these matters are largely controlled by the firm itself and may be another aspect of discrimination. The nationality is often important in that if it matches their own some partners take the associate under their wing, mentor them and provide them with an abundance of high quality  work.  Well, suprise, surprise – they have more billable hours, better relationships with international clients etc.   A lot of lip service is paid to the training of Caymanians and providing opportunities. The reality is somewhatdifferent. The notion that there is discrimination in favour of Caymanians would be laughable if the matter were not so serious.

      Note that others were made up as partners so sustaining mouths to feed does not seem to be the problem.   

  16. Anonymous says:

    In response to the poster who posted "I Wonder What Motivation …"

    Although I agree with you that “No one should be entitled to any job on this island. Everyone should have to qualify through training, certification, experience and performance. Sitting back and expecting everything to be handed over on a plate is a recipe for failure both at the personal level and societal level…" I think you are being a little one-sided with this statement as you are implying that all Caymanians possess a sense of entitlement. While I am not disputing that there are some Caymanians out there that do possess this mentality, as a soon to be Master’s educated Caymanian professional who has worked both abroad and in my homeland and who only wants to be assessed on these factors and not just because I am a Caymanian – there is no denying that expatriates are always perceived to be at a higher standard than Caymanians in this country. 
    There are several expatriates that come to this island who have no relevant to the industry job experience/skills or education and just because they are from another country they are automatically regarded on a higher level and those individuals benefit GREATLY from the opportunities presented to them (opportunities that would NEVER be available in their home countries). Case in point – the present Manager of Maples and Calder’s HR Department is an expatriate (who I believe married a Caymanian – so by “definition” is a (paper) Caymanian). This individual came to Cayman to be a waitress in one of the hotels and now a few short years later, is the HR Manager at the largest law firm in the country with no formal training and just a few prior years junior HR experience that she gained when she lucked out and was moved to fill a temporary void in the HR Dept at the hotel where she was waitressing?  And how can we forget former UCCI President Hassan Syed?
    The truth of the matter is that no can wrong theseindividuals for taking the opportunities that were presented to them – after all they were/are doing what benefit/s them.  But the fact is that there are Caymanians who are educated, trained and eager to make their mark in their own country. But for some reason, despite many Caymanians tireless efforts to reach that elusive gold standard, their efforts are never good enough and the same opportunities that are presented to the waitress who now oversees Maples hiring or Mr. Syed who is probably laughing at how easy it all was, are never presented to us. Instead, companies across Cayman are quick to believe that when John Doe from the UK (or wherever) applies for a job, that he is the perfect candidate for whatever job that needs filling just because he has the added advantage of being from a big city, never mind his years experience or qualifications.   
    As Caymanians we know that we just can’t lie on a resume or make up false certifications, because the truth will come to light and we, unlike expatriates, have nowhere to run away to because THIS is our home! So for all the expatriate’s reading all of these comments that may be getting a little upset at the seemingly negative undertones of all the various comments – please do not take them personally as it isn’t a personal attack –  it is just that we are frustrated and fed up with the practices that  are in place in our own country and Theresa Pitcairn’s case is just bringing all that is felt to the surface.
  17. Anonymous says:

    A response that would come from the gate keepers and colonial masters.

  18. Anonymous says:

    If she was offered the partnership she would say she was’the best person for the job.’ She wasn’t offered the job so now its ‘discrimination.’

    I’m sure she is a good lawyer, but to be one of the few that gets to become a partner you need to be a great lawyer. Perhaps she does not have what it takes, but i guess its always easier to accuse everyone of being racist than accept your short commings.

    • Caymanian Stone says:
      Now – the greatest thing is to know!!
      It is well known in the legal profession that Maples have had three Caymanian partners since its inception in 1967. It is now 2009. The Caymanian lawyers were and are , Sharon Pierson the wife of Linford Pierson (former Cabinet Member) who was made a partner when her brother in law Naul Bodden was the chairman of the Immigration Board, Andrew Reid, whose father is Billy Reid and who was also a chairman of the  Immigration Board. Andrew Reid now chairs the immigration Business Staffing Planning Board, a board that.  Olivaire Watler was made a partner and is now with Conyers. Maples has never made an indegenous  Caymanian  a partner since Andrew Reid and Olivaire Watler in the late 1990’s. Wanda Ebanks was made a partner after Theresa Pitcairn left the firm in 2008. There are no other indigenous Caymanian partners in the firm. None. Yet there are many non-Caymanians lawyers who acquired status in the UDP 2003 giveaway and were made partners.
      It is well known that in the legal profession that there is a difference between a salaried partner and an equity partner. It has always been said that Caymanians are usually salaried partners and do not earn what the equity partners do. Salaried partners do not participate in the ownership of the firm.  As a general comment lawyers are now wondering whether expatriate salaried partners automatically become equity partners under the Immigration law.
      I dont know of any Caymanian lawyer that would want anything that they have not earned. Who are the mediocre partners in the firms that you are referring to? What stringent levels of capability are you referring? If I were you I would do some research and ask the oldtimers how certain managing partners with Cayman status scored with their degrees (and the managing partners I am thinking about are not indegenous Caymanians). Which lawyers are voted to partnerships as a matter of expediency?
      I have been around these islands for a long time. While I dont know Ms Pitcairn personally I observed her achievement at a distance. I saw how she handled the Miss Cayman controversy and how she made these islands proud. She is not merely likeable or capable enough, she is a very intelligent woman. Today I have discovered what I have always heard other people say about her, she is not only courageous but she calls it as she sees it.
      • Anonymous says:

        Your comment has just proven the defendent culpable in this action. The motive is glaring.Thank you for your keen observation.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Okay……Maples may have ten Caymanian partners but how many of them were Caymanian when they started working there?  And let’s not kid ourselves… does "Partner" mean they are actually owners and have a share of the profits or is this situation like so many other businesses in Cayman today and these ten so called Caymanian Partners are just called Partners to keep immigration happy and are in reality simply earning a salary with a fancy business card and have no share of the profits at all?  Yes, this is happening everywhere.  Meanwhile the expats, (who wouldn’t put up with simply being a partner in name), are made real "equity" partners while the Caymanians get the title and nothing else – but hey telling immigration you have all these "Caymanian Partners" sure makes the numbers look good!

    When is Government going to enforce the law?   I welcome the expats and their expertise – this country needs them.  But for too long now, the immigration law, there for the protection of the qualified Caymanian people, has not being obeyed or enforced.

    Why are we allowing this to happen? When is it going to be too late?   What is the future for YOUR Caymanian child?

  20. Annoymous says:

    I find it hard to consider Teresa mediocre, considering she has lasted 16 years with the firm Maples and Calder.  That in itself she should be awarded for longevity as a native Caymanian.

    If she was not capable of qualifying as a partner why is she still employed by them?  Are they just making numbers look good for immigration purposes to grant several more work permits for expat lawyers to come in and receive preferential promotions over Caymanians?

    I hope and pray that justice will give you favour Teresa, and please announce your court dates if this is taken to open court, many of us out here would love to attend and witness what trials you have endured for the past 16 years, of which their only claim is that you are are not qualified enough for the promotions, or partnership.  Absolute nonsense, and we can all pick sense out of that bag of rubbish they have responded with.

    Let me say this to the public and hopefully, this comment will make the posting.  Caymanians are awake now, we are wide awake and our eyes, and ears are soaking it all up and taking in all in.  We are standing firm on our foundations now, no longer will be pushed aside, and scorned by the expats.

    To the voting public, make sure your vote is heard this election, because we will have no other opportunity after this to stake the final claim in all that we know and love as a Cayman Islands

    May God see the truth of the matter and deliver our people from the jaws of those whose only concern is to oppress us native Caymanians in our country.

    We all witnessed history being made yesterday with the swearing in of a black american president, we too will make our own history this year at the poles – those who doubt us – wait and see!!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Incredible.Reading the comments posted before me I’m surprised this matter even needs to go to trial. It appears the majority of readers who have commented before me have already come to a decision without consideration of all the facts.

    The reality is that there are many Caymanians, in many industries, who feel they are owed the top job and the top salary. I don’t discount Ms. Pitcairn’s statement that she put in many long hours and hard work. The truth is that to make partner in a leading firm such as Maples it takes more than long hours and hard work, it takes strong technical skills, leadership qualities and the ability to make a positive difference to the firm.

    So she was lead to believe she would make partner. Who hasn’t had conversations with their managers and left feeling confident in their prospects? A discussion of partnership potential is not a contractual agreement of a partnership offering, and I’d bet my lucky stars that 90% of all mid level associates in law firms worldwide have been in similar situations.

    To those individuals who have commented above me I have this to say: don’t be so quick to judge based on race, colour or sex; and don’t forget that it’s the ex-patriate workers who have laboured tirelessly without basic constitutional rights of protection that have made Cayman as prosperous as it is today.

    And yes, I am Caymanian.

  22. KB says:

    I find it interesting that everyone posting comments here is congratulating Theresa for standing up for what she believes in, for finally gathering up the courage to challenge the foreigners, yet virtually everyone that has commented has chosen to remain anonymous. What are you afaid of?

    • Jo says:

      Excellent point KB, but you did not give your name either!

      It will serve M & C well to settle this matter with Theresa quickly, rather than have this matter dragged further in the Grand Court and the Court of public opinion.

      I agree that there are always two sides to a story, and althought the issue of becoming a Partner is not a matter of right of any Assoicate (in any jurisdiction…not only Cayman Islands) if she was only paid a salary commensurate of a junior attorney (despite being with the firm as an associate for 14 years+), then she has an excellent case in that regard.

      However, we have to be careful with our comments moving forward, let’s not foster more hate, discrimination and fear by saying things anonymously.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I wonder what motivation a major player like Maples and Calder would have for "discriminating" against a Caymanian? Any business is bound to fail if the criteria on which they hire and promote is based on race, colour, status in the community, ethnicity, etc etc rather than on merit and merit alone. Having seen it first hand and heard the stories of Caymanians who do not show up for work and do not demonstrate even some of the most basic skills necessary for the positions they are filling.. I wonder why a company like Maples and Calder would "disciminate" against a person who was supposedly doing such a great job. To what end? If Caymanians ran the businesses and did ALL jobs on this island themselves.. the nation would fall apart and businesses would fail. No one should be entitled to any job on this island. Everyone should have to qualify through training, certification, experience and performance. Sitting back and expecting everything to be handed over on a plate is a recipe for failure both at the personal level and societal level. Complaining constantly when you don’t get it all handed over on a plate makes no friends and earns no respect from anyone. The opportunities on this island for Caymanians and expats alike are boundless. Invest a little in oneself through schooling and training and any job under the sun is available right here at home. Whining that someone else who DID invest in an education got the job ahead of you serves no useful purpose. Never before have I encountered a place where people expect to be given a job they are unqualified for then have their employer pay in time and money to train them to the level required to actually do that job. In most places one has to show up ready and able to work day one. If this person was truly discriminated against then shame on them and how stupid of them. I would be curious to ask however why she expected to become partner if she is unable to do the work of a partner without someone else’s supervision. 

    These are some thoughts that I am sure will elicit some rash and negative reactions but hey… dialogue is fun right?

    • Anonymous says:

      "I wonder what motivation a major player like Maples and Calder would have for "discriminating" against a Caymanian? Any business is bound to fail if the criteria on which they hire and promote is based on race, colour, status in the community, ethnicity, etc etc rather than on merit and merit alone. Having seen it first hand and heard the stories of Caymanians who do not show up for work and do not demonstrate even some of the most basic skills necessary for the positions they are filling".

      Does this person live in the real world? It is patently silly to imagine that business people do not ever have any biases with respect to promotion. Why do you think that affirmative action was necessary in the U.S. History is replete with examples. Here is a simple example of how it works: A and B are both qualfifed and are up for promotion to position X  by C. C and A have the same country of origin but B is Caymanian. A therefore gets the job. Does the business fail? No. has there been discrimination? Absolutely. Why would that be? There are so many reasons that it would be impossible to list them here.  One big reason is that expat employers often feel threatened by principled, intelligent, capable Caymanians because they will not go along to get along and not, for example, deceive the Immigration Boards and Cabinet on their behalf.  Another reason, is that the expat partners say that they have to meet the expectations of some clients ( who wish to see a white face face) when the meet the lawyer. Black Harvard graduates in the U.S. are often told even while at University that they will be expert advisors to the CEOs and not the CEOs of fortune 500 companies for the same reason. 

      Clearly, you have  a negative stereotypical view of Caymanians which is itself racist.  The truth is that when you are Caymanian you have to be twice as good.  

  24. Anonymous says:

    Why everybody still talking about Caymanian VS Cayman status/paper caymanian?Who is the real caymanian by the way.We all British Citizens!!!!.This figth has been going on for generations stop it now!!!!!!

  25. Anonymous says:
    Eugenics started in the British Isles and exported to Germany where Hitler worked it to a fine art. It ended in America in 1976 when the state laws of Virginia were challenged in court by a bi racial couple won a land mark law suit. In the Cayman Islands it is practiced by the inventors and the holders of the reigns of power the UK. That is what Colonialism truly is. A slicker form of eugenics practiced by companies that treat expats much better regardless of the laws on the books then native born citizens. This will be the landmark case that will expose the ugly scars of Colonialism and eugenics and break its back in one full legal setting.
    The whole world will focus on this case garenteed.
  26. Anonymous says:

    Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, — they will be met.

    we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

    On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas,

    We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.


    In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

    For us, they toiled  and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.


  27. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone considered the distinct possibility that Ms Pitcairn, likeable and capable enough, may simply not have enough of ‘the right stuff’ that constitutes partner material? The fastest way to mediocrity in a professional practise, is the retention of mediocre partners. Unfortunately for the Islands’ legal community, there are already too many mediocre partners in too many mediocre law firms- and the white-hot legal innovations that were a signature of Cayman islands lawyers in days gone by (and which secured its place as the off-shore domicile of choice), have now been replaced by a bunch of mediocre practitioners voted to partnerships as matters of expediency. I applaud M & C’s decision to continue to uphold stringent levels of capability for their prospective partners- this way, M & C will continue to be leaders of the shiver.

    • Anonymous says:

      "Has anyone considered the distinct possibility that Ms Pitcairn, likeable and capable enough, may simply not have enough of ‘theright stuff’ that constitutes partner material?…I applaud M & C’s decision to continue to uphold stringent levels of capability for their prospective partners- this way."

      Don’t you think it is a little early to be giving applause? Are you quite certain that all those that they have made partner reflect "stringent levels of capability"? Being Caymanian does not automatically mean that you are mediocre, nor does being an expatriate imply "stringent levels of capability". "Suitability" often depends on whether you will toe the line.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nothing could be further from the truth then this sexist statement.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if the 10 "Caymanian" partners paper or born…  Does anyone know?  This is the same that happened at a local accounting firm where all the partners got status (some from when UDP was giving them out) and therefore the partnership was 100% Caymanian but there was no born Caymanians until last year when they finally allowed one born Caymanian into their partnership.  Interesting how these things work.

  29. whodatis says:

    It is so blaringly obvious what is the TRUE situation in Cayman today!

    It was only a matter of time until such action took place. I trust this is just the FIRST instance to tackle a grave issue within the Cayman workforce!

    However, that being said – the onus is also upon Caymanians who were lucky enough to teleport through the proverbial "glass ceiling" to address and highlight discrimination against your fellow nationals! Too many of you are cowards or afraid of losing your ‘good standing’ in the upper echelons of the firm to make any noise on the matter. I say shame on you – you tap-dancing, spine-less Remoras.

    Honestly, where do you believe you fit in? By the mere circumstances of your position; your foreign colleagues do not truly respect you, and you surely do not deserve the respect (although you undeservingly receive it!), of your fellow Caymanians – simply because you are the pawn-like gate-keepers keeping out your own!

    I wish you all the best with your legal action Mrs. Pictairn.

    Stay up Cayman,



  30. Anonymous says:

    FINALLY a Caymanian professional who doesn’t sit back quietly and put up with the injusticejust for the sake of having a larger than average bank account balance! We all know that Maples and Calder is at the helm of a long list of companies that greatly benefit from this country’s tax laws, without giving any real regard to the people of this country. They, like so many other organizations, put on a mask and say that they value, promote and train Caymanians – when the truth is the only reason why they even hire Caymanians is because they HAVE to turn in numbers to Immigration. I’ve seen Maples and Calder’s recruitment adverts overseas, and the tag line to encourage expatriates to relocate to Cayman and work for them is “Sun, Sand and SALARY.” But ask a Caymanian lawyer that works there, how often they get to see the sunlight or enjoy their salaries (which are significantly lower than their expatriate counterparts) ?

    Historically what, companies like Maples and Calder do, is they designate one or two “token Caymanians” and parade them around as the designated poster-children for that company, to give others the impression that they really do value and invest in Caymanians. I bet in response to this, Maples and Calder will launch a campaign, probably profiling every single token Caymanian that they have employed (or even given a scholarship to), and say how much they invest in Caymanians! COME ON !  Please do not insult the Caymanian people with your petty marketing attempts just to save face. WE KNOW BETTER !

    Theresa, I applaud you for your courage to stand up, when so many Caymanians working in the Financial Services Sector are afraid to ! THIS IS STILL OUR COUNTRY – we haven’t lost the fight yet !

    • Anonymous says:

      Fight?  How about growing up??  Maples and Calder look after local Caymanians very well.  Much better than other firms on island, and pay them better salaries.  Maybe if some Caymanians were not so lazy or removed the chip from themselves they would do better.  But I know for a fact all are treated equally within that firm.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely what is needed.  I hope more will follow Teresa’s lead and file suits of discrimination. 

    This is so prevalent in this community and since our Government is blind to these issues and simply don’t want to touch them for fear of upsetting the power hungry in this country that continue to disenfranchise professional and qualified Caymanians. 

    We must stand up and fight for what little Caymanian rights we do have left in this country, and in May2009 vote for leaders that will do the same.

    Teresa I pray that you will be successful in your lawsuit and that the entire community will come together and give you their support and prove that we are not the dumb idiots that those who come to our shores daily think that we are.

    I support you all the way…..

  32. Anonymous says:

    KUDOS! To Theresa for standing up for her rights! Don’t back down! Stand proud! Stand strong! Stand tall! There is much too much discrimination and unfair treatment of Caymanians in the work force! I deal with it every single day!  And I am sick to death of it! If I am one of those that has to wait until I get with my Caymanian friends to talk about how unhappy I am with the unfair treatment of the Caymanians in my company! I’m one of those that wish I could rule with an iron fist and oust everyone who try to keep us Caymanians down! I pray God will guide Theresa through this and justice will be served for all those Caymanians who have to suffer at the hands of the foreigners who come to our country and hold us back at all costs, but push their own to the forefront! Don’t back down from them Theresa!! Fight for your rights, fight for all Caymanians! Fight for your rights as a well educated, beautiful, strong black woman and most importantly a CAYMANIAN!!!!!!

  33. Anonymous says:

    Good For You Theresa!!

    I Know for a Fact That You was, & others like yourself "Young Aspiring Caymanians, with so much excitement & hope when they joined this company (And there are many out there, not just Law Firms) but only to be blanked out in all the upward mobility.
    Basically you are being used just to make up the percentage, to make it look good for immigration purposes!
    Good Luck as this will pave the way for Caymanians to take a stance in what is Fair & Just as things are not too good for our youth leaving schools, colleges & university, as being a Caymanian is distasteful to the Employers they want their own!
    If  we ignore injustices the offenders will continue to offend…
  34. Anonymous says:

    This is not new!

    Discrimination in the workplace occurs everyday, and it makes me sick. 

    Young, educated, and highly qualified Caymanians return home to contribute to the country, yet are faced with a wall of challenges; and, in most cases, it is a result of inadequate organizational structures wherein it is claimed that "the company/organization/service is not equipped to handle a young, qualified Caymanian." If this is the case, why aren’t changes taking place to facilitate the utilization of the knowledge and skills that can be offered by such Caymanians?  

    This is happening in the public and private sector; from lawyers to police, from accounting to culinarly.

    To all the young, educated, and highly qualified Caymanians, I say, never forget your worth!

    • Anonymous says:

      And the same s–t is happening in the communications sector as well.

  35. whodatis says:

    Well, its about time!!

    I was wondering when the local Caymanian attorneys would finally take a strong stance against the discrimination that they suffer on a daily basis!

    Let this be an example to all young, local Caymanian professionals! Quit complaining around the Caymanian-only lunch table and take action such as this. Lawyers, accountants, bankers – even those in the Tourism industry – you are SURROUNDED and OVER-RUN with lawyers galore in the country – make use of them!

    All the best,


  36. Anonymous says:

    You go, Theresa! Fight for all those Caymanian attorneys who have been discriminated against over the years. 

    Others, don’t be fooled by their last minute attempt tocover their tracks.