Lawyers’ law stirs up court

| 16/01/2013

law_books.png(CNS): The chair of the Law Reform Commission’s committee dealing with the Legal Practitioners' Bill essentially threw in the towel over the controversial law Wednesday when he gave a special address at the Grand Court Opening. Asked by the attorney general to give an update on the critical and stalled piece of legislation, Ian Paget-Brown gave a long and detailed account of the on-going situation regarding the law and what appears to be the continued resistance from the major firms to anything short of a blanket grandfathering of practice certificates to their overseas lawyers without strings when it comes to advancing Caymanians in the profession.  

The on-going row between government, local lawyers, the Cayman Bar Association on the one hand and the Law Society and major firms on the other, took centre stage at the ceremonial start of the judicial year. Since 2007, the need for a modernised law to regulate the legal profession in Cayman has become bogged down in arguments about who overseas can practice Cayman law and how local lawyers can be protected from what is now seen as entrenched discrimination by some of the islands’ major offshore law firms.

In an outspoken and transparent explanation of the difficulties the local Law Reform Commission (LRC) has had with the law over the last five years, Paget-Brown took the Law Society and the major firms to task. He accused them of being populated by lawyers who no longer had any loyalty to the jurisdiction and did not care about Cayman. Pointing to the early days when the offshore legal profession was being created in Cayman, he said the lawyers then were loyal to the jurisdiction.

He said that the LRC had believed it had made progress recently but a letter from the major firms to the commission on Friday made it clear that this was not so. He said it appeared that the leading offshore players were not prepared to give anything in exchange for the automatic issuing of overseas practice certificates for all those lawyers the firms say need to be able to practice Cayman law overseas for them to stay competitive.

He spoke of the more than one billion dollars firms have made over the last ten years practicing Cayman law outside the jurisdiction and he said there had to be some way for some of that money to be channelled towards the development and advancement of Caymanian lawyers and the profession in the Cayman Islands.

The committee chair said that he was appalled when the LRC learned the extent of the discrimination against Caymanian lawyers and the things they were being faced with, as he had up until then, he said, believed that people in the profession had beenbehaving honourably. He said many young local lawyers were unable to express themselves, however, for fear of losing their jobs, which was why the LRC, when it began looking into modernising the Legal Practitioners' Bill, had no idea this issue needed to be addressed as part of the legislation.

Paget-Brown said the commission had received little cooperation from the Law Society and the offshore firms on how the problems and conflicts in the profession could be reconciled within the law.

The only response to the commission’s request for information regarding how many overseas lawyers would require certificates and in what jurisdictions and practice areas, was from the society’s former president, Charles Jennings, whom Paget-Brown said had wanted to know by what authority the LRC was asking such questions.

As a result, he explained that the LRC was forced to undertake its own research and found that Cayman firms employ over 1,500 lawyers overseas. Of those, around 180 practice Cayman law and most will require certificates as only 24 of them have actually been called to the Cayman bar.

The remaining 160 or so attorneys that have no connection to Cayman are the ones the Law Society and major firms now wish to see automatically given certificates. He lamented the request that they also even want those lawyers to be excused from flying to Cayman to be called to the bar. He said this was illustrative of the disrespect some firms have for Cayman’s legal profession.

“It is not some on-line boarding pass to a gravy train,” Paget-Brown said. “It is an honourable profession but they are committed to short term gain,” he added as he pointed to the plight of young Caymanian lawyers being marginalised and the misleading information the law firms were supplying to the Cayman authorities to get work permits for under-qualified lawyers.

Paget-Brown pointed out that the lawyers from the major firms were putting their profits ahead of everything, which was a breach of their professional duty.

“I feel we have been wasting our time,” he said of the work the LRC has done on the legislation but he added that in his own opinion the profession needed the law and in the end he believed that only lawyers based in Cayman should be allowed to practice Cayman law in order to protect the profession.

In his response to the impassioned speech, the new president of the Law Society and a partner at one of the firms which Paget-Brown had taken aim, Alasdair Robertson, said that the profession was in desperate need of a modern Legal Practitioners' Law, which is about the regulation and discipline of lawyers.

“I fear that the lengthy delay and consequent misunderstanding of the objectives of the bill have enabled the bill to become something more than merely a bill to regulate the profession. It is important for us to ensure that the objective of the bill remains clear, namely to introduce a regulatory framework that reflects modern international standards,” he said.

Robertson added that there was a need to look forward and not back as the profession had changed and was less discriminatory. This, he said, was evidenced by the number of Caymanians recently called to bar as well as the number of Caymanians who were heading up local law firms or were partners in major offshore firms.

The law, Roberts said in his presentation, was critical to the future success of the jurisdiction and the profession had to be a meritocracy and he didn’t know of any Caymanian lawyers that would not agree with that. He said the Law Society had published a commitment paper about what the profession planned to do with regard to the advancement of Caymanians.

“Contrary to the perception of some, the profession has, and will continue to ensure the inclusion of Caymanians,” he said.  However, he went no further on the issue as he said that he did not believe the Grand Court Opening was necessarily the place to give a detailed response to Paget-Brown.

Meanwhile, Dale Crowley, the president of the Cayman Bar Association, which is calling for a bill that protects local lawyers, said much of the association resources last year were aimed at a modernised Legal Practitioners' Law.

“The association has always strived to achieve a balanced law which enables local firms to compete successfully on a global basis but which provides for the proper regulation and discipline of the profession within and outside of the Cayman Islands, and affords suitable protection for the recruitment, training, development and progression of Caymanians within it,” he said.

Crowley recognized that much work remained and said the association would stick with it to ensure a balanced bill is passed into law this year.

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, in a short response to the contributions regarding the bill, pointed out that the judiciary was also concerned to see the law passed and once again offered its services to assist with the difficulties being faced.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Completely agree with Mr Paget-Brown's comments. A large number of Caymanian attorneys are growing increasingly frustrated with one of the local firm's un-official policy of not allowing Caymanian attorneys to advance as quickly as foreign lawyers in hopes that they will resign. This provides that firm's partners with an opportunity to "high-grade" their staff (their words) by restocking with attorneys from overseas who they think will appear more impressive to their clients. 

    Nevermind that this is in direct violation of the Cayman Islands' Immigration Law. The Immigration Department is apparently monitoring the "Caymanian Exodus" from this firm closely. Rumor has it that if Caymanian attorneys continue to leave this firm because of lack of advancement opportunities, no new work permits will be granted and partners' permanent residency status will potentially be revoked. 

    I only hope that it's true…

  2. Anonymous says:

    This stuff is hilarious.  You want to be a sophisticated offshore financial center but hire locals.  Get over it.  Attend a top 10 US law school and go back to Cayman.  Then you can whine.  UK schools have nothing on the US.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Do all you work permit holders not realise that if the profession continues to be outsourced the majority of YOUR jobs will be gone first because you cost more to keep than a few Caymanians. This is NOT expat vs. Caymanian – this is simply Cayman not allowing these firms to cheat us out of millions-biillions of dollars in fees they don't pay by outsourcing and $ that never sees these Islands. EVER. 

  4. Anonymous says:

    Why the gavel in the photograph?  When was the last time anyone saw a gavel in a Cayman Court room?  Never.  Because there aren't gavels in Cayman Courts.

  5. noname says:

    How about if the CIG hires them all then they can deal with the 'Caymanian' atiititude and pay them the big bucks for the little things.  Give unto JU JU all that is Ju Jus.  Let business hire who they want instead of being forced to hire intitled, pissed off little girls.  Or just listen to the little girls tell you how to run things.  Like now.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Sloppy, lazy journalism, CNS!


    You report on what, on any view, was a highly tendentious speech replete with unsubstantiated allegations, but you report it as if it were fact.  Surely a thorough treatment of the subject would involve some consideration of whether Paget-Brown was in fact, talking utter rubbish, and at least some report of the reactions of those listening (generally appalled at the poor judgement shown in abusing the occasion in this way)?  What about some analysis of its likely effect, positive or negative, on the debate, not to mention on the country if his views were followed?


    Your word choice betrays, or at least implies, that you accept what he says.  You say he "pointed out" that the lawyers from the major firms were putting their profits ahead of everything.  One "points out" an observable fact.  The right word here would be allege, contend, claim, suggest or the like.  In fact the major firms spend millions of dollars a year on scholarships, training and charitable donations.  How many articled clerks has Paget-Brown trained?


    You make no comment on the massive and (to anyone who really understands the offshore world) obvious omission in everything he said – the huge amount of work and revenue that the foreign offices of Cayman firms bring in to Cayman and the service they do in promotingthe jurisdiction.  Paget-Brown seems to assume that clients in Hong Kong and elsewhere would be entirely happy (and continue using Cayman structures) if told that they could now only deal with someone on the other side of the world 13 hours time difference away who does not speak their language.  Not so.  Preventing clients from getting the service they want is bad business for Cayman.  It will not drive work to Paget Brown & Co but to the BVI, Bermuda and elsewhere, with the consequent loss of government revenue, corporate administration business, directorships, audit work, banking business and more.   A balanced report would have looked into that.


    All in all, a pretty disappointing and lazy way to report on a highly controversial speech that unnecessarily and irresponsibly enflamed a delicate situation.  You can do better.

    • Anonymous says:

      Lol. Throw a stone in the pen and the pig that squeals the loudest is the one that was hit. You dismissed previous similar complaints as emanating from disgruntled Caymanians who simply didn't measure up and wanted to get back at the firms. Can you please explain to us why a very senior English attorney of Mr. Paget-Brown's rank who has practised Cayman law for 40+ years would make all of this up? What would he hope to gain by doing so? It would have been clear to him what he stood to lose by the attacks that he will no doubt suffer from you and others of your ilk.  

      While Mr. Paget' Brown's comments were long overdue I sincerely thank him for his integrity and brutal honesty. The truth hurts.

    • Anonymous says:

      It did'nt go your way did it?Mr Greed.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Oh please save it!

    I used to work in a big law firm and yes some of the Caymanians had their entitlement syndrome but so did the expats! Thinking they were the Gods gift to this earth. Don’t get me started with their fake facetime pretending to work while gossiping like little school girls and their deplorable billing practices or treatment of the non-lawyers either! Talk about entitled hypocrites! Some real regulation of this profession is needed!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Look at the partners of these firms. They are not role models by any stretch. They are complete douchebags who come to rape and pillage these islands and invite their buddies into their little clubs whilst shunning the place and people that afforded them the opportunity to actually be someone. I would shame them but it is clear they do not have any.

    • In Solidum says:

      As one of the people to whom you are referring, fair enough.  I really don't care too much what you think and I never wanted to be a role model.  I worked hard.  Studied hard.  And all I wanted to retire early with a large pot of money.  Which is what is going to happen.  I will leave good deeds to the earnest. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Until you are busted for your illegal billing practices then your wife finds out about your mistress and your coke habit spirals out of control. Then it divorce court and your kids hate you. Next thing you wake up next to Kirky in the street and wonder where it all went wrong. I can tell you. It is when you sold your soul and no matter what you do now you will never be able to buy it back.

        • Anonymous says:

          You seem to have mixed up real life and the Lifetime Channel. 

          • Anonymous says:

            Chappie just sent to jail would disagree, he is living the 'Lifetime Channel'…too big to fail or fall..?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Sorry – how many Caymanian lawyers has Ian Paget Brown educated employed, trained, mentored over the years? Seems pot calling kettle black to me!

    • Anonymous says:

      When you have more than enough of the pie you can do all that money has a lot to do with what a company can and can not do.

  10. X Voter says:

    It’s amazing to see this profession which so many of the C$C supporters originate from is so harmonious and successful. Is this why you all have decided Politics is your new profession? You ruined the ability for Caymanians to succeed in the financial professions, exactly how are you going to help us poor folk? Outsource our jobs to lower paid nationalities?  

  11. Anonymous says:

    I am a local Caymanian Attorney and I feel that I have done all that would be required of me to advance in my career as a young Caymanian: 1. I studied at a pretigous schools in England for my degree and professional qualification, 2. was the recipient of many notable awards, 3. obtain high marks in my law degree, 4. trained in Chambers in London (difficult to achieve) and gained other International experience, 4. I have over 12 years experience in the profession and 5. I am a consciencous and hard worker with a positive attitude, meaning never late or calling in sick constantly or not a team player (which is what most Caymanians are accused of). Yet I was constructively marjinalised and overlooked in favour of my expat counterparts when I joined one of the major firms on the Island. This is not something that I imagined or "made up", this is a real problem and this problem of discrimitation needs to be addressed and not condoned or even worse- ignored!!! If this could happen to me and countless other experienced Caymanian attorneys (and trust me I know a lot of them) what hope is there for the young Caymanian lawyers trying to advance their careers at entry level? I am not anti-expat, I am just pro-fairness.


    • Anonymous says:

      Frequent misspelling of straightforward words and failing to correctly number points sequentially are not the sort of thing that tend to go down too well in a profession that deals with the meaning and intepretation of language.

    • Anonymous says:

      Pity that when you went to “a pretigous schools”, at which you were presumably also “consciencous” (and where I hope you were not “marjinalised” or subject to “discrimitation”) they did not teach you how to spell.

      • Anonymous says:

        I will bet my last dollar that the so called "Young Caymanian" who wrote the letter is non other than an expat who wants to discredit Caymaninans.   First of all if the writer was a Caymanian lawyer he/she would have signed the letter.

    • Anonymous says:

      Setting aside the "poor me" attitude and sense of entitlement as evidenced by the now hackneyed phrase "young Caymanian", your inability to spell basic words may be a contributing factor in your non-advancement.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe, but the quality of your written work is appalling.  You would not advance in the firm where I work.

    • Anonkymous says:

      My dear – let me caution you to be very diligent in the review of your writing, especially when you are jumping into a battle of words over a very sensitive subject which boils down to whether or not Caymanians are educated or qualified enough to rise within a law firm.

      I appreciate that you are passionate about your personal plight – but you have only succeeded in giving the detractors fuel to dismiss you as an unacceptable candidate for partnership or progression. A sad turn of events for you.

      It is unfortunate that you did not type this in Word and spell check or grammar check it before posting. Lawyers are expected to be letter perfect, as even the slightest omission or error can change the entire meaning of a sentence, with devastating consequences.

      I can only imagine that this poor eye for detail on your part is what has held you back. It is not enough to have good grades and win awards. There are many book smart people who cannot survive the method part of work. Memorizing is just not enough.

      I would ask CNS to delete or edit your contribution if I were you. Your points will be overlooked and your errors ridiculed. Which will only prove the point being made by some that Caymanians are ill-equipped to make it to the top.


      • Anonymous says:

        Don’t worry we took a screen grab and will test the description against resumes on future applications. This one ain’t getting near a job with writing and attitude like that. PS We outsource resume first reviews to India – how cool is that?

    • Anonymous says:

      From the way this post was written, I think the reason your career did not progress is because – YOU MADE IT ALL UP.  This atrocious piece of fiction does not pass the BS sniff test.  Pooh-ee.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is English your second language or are you just full of crap?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Here come more token hires and the pain of token promotions. As if we are not burdened enough already.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Meritocracy not passportocracy please.

    It is in the enormously vested interest of the law firms to hire and promote Caymanians, who come FAR cheaper not because of having to pay them less, but because of the very low costs of recruitment and because of the absence of massive work permit fees.

    When they find Caymanians able to do the job – and there are of course many of them – those Caymanians are snapped up as quickly as possible and held onto tightly. They're a prized possession that firms will POSITIVELY discriminate with, WANTING them to advance with the firm if at all possible because it's in the firm's best interests for that to happen.

    So is it not POSSIBLE, that the fact you don't have hundreds of Caymanians in major law firms, and the fact not every Caymanian who wants to join them is able to, is because there are not hundreds of Caymanians able to do the job? And that's not weird, insulting or discriminatory. If you went to any English town with a population of about 30,000, you wouldn't find hundreds of people able to be good corporate lawyers for a large firm there either. 

    The assumption going around seems to be that as long as you've completed a law course, you are equipped to be a corporate lawyer responsible for the resolution of massively complex, multimillion dollar contracts. Sorry, you're not. 

    In England, tens of thousands of law graduates have to try and find careers outside the law  every year because there are hundreds of applicants for each opening with a major firm. We have an imbalance of major versus small law firms here, so young Caymanian law grads have to adjust to the world's reality that some of them, too, may have to find work outside of practicing law.

    • Anonymous says:

      We have heard that glib garbage over and over. That's why I was elated to hear the truth coming from the lips of Ian Paget-Brown.  

      • Diogenes says:

        If I told you that the sun comes up in the East every day, would the fact that you heard it repeatedly make it any less true?  Just because you don't like the message does not make it untrue.  Try and put your prejudice to one side and examine the contentions the writer makes

        – if you went to a town with a population of 30,000 people, how many people there would you think would be intellectually capable and/or interested in being top class lawyers – not run of the mill solicitors, but people capable of dealing with the complex corporate law issues that Cayman handles?  No – in fact, how many do you think would even make it as really basic solicitors – how many lawyers do you think a small market town of that size in the UK has?

        – would your answer change if you were told that the high school graduation rates in that town were the same as those Cayman demonstrates?

        – if all that stops people becoming top class lawyers is desire rather than education and talent – there must be a huge supply if every 30000 or larger population towns and cities in the onshore jurisdictions can produce the number of lawyers Cayman employs – how come these lawyers can secure such high salaries – after all, there is a unlimited supply, right, so the natural laws of economics would rive the price down

        – why would any law firm centrered on making as much money as possible for the partners that own it deliberately not employ Caymanians when they would be so much cheaper to hire (given the work permits and international recruitment costs) – are you seriously suggesting that the partners that own these firms are so determined to prejudice Caymanians that they will walk away from substantial costs savings in order to exercise that prejudice?

        Think you need to consider Matthew 7.3. 

        • Anonymous says:

          You’ve got t all turned around. Repeating garbage over and over doesn’t make it true.

          There is no question that their decision-making is often influenced by prejudice.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ian Pagent-Brown is a man of integrity who became one of us by choice, deed and character.  Mr. Ian Pagent-Brown is one of the nation builders of this country that did not write himself in our success story without providing a place at the table for Natives.  Ian you are one of us and rest assured that you will always have a good place in the history of these islands by your "Caymanians" who respect and love you for your fight for justice.  Thanks again Ian Pagent-Brown you are a true "Caymanian".

        Your fellow Caymanian

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, Mr. Paget-Brown's heavyweight international career and reputation means a lot.  I am sure that he does not have foreign lawyers practising Cayman law in the large foreign offices of his firm.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, but you shouldn't be admitted to the Cayman bar if you're not willing to even show up on the island.

    • Anonymous says:

      When you go to a Bermudan town of 50,000 there are hundreds of people who are good corporate lawyers. Many are even partners in Cayman firms. No expatriates are partners there, and no Caymanians are partnershere.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Absolute discrimination.

    Anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant or in denial period.

  15. What stuns me is says:

    I remember when I workat at one of these big firms how they planned these little cocktail receptions for Mackeeva and they would go all out to wine and dine him, and then they would crack jokes about his table manners and talk about how much money they gave his campaign. This is why we are now in this situation, not only have these firms kept Caymanians out, they have also "cozied up" to our so called leaders so that they would not stand up for us. We should ask for the 1 Billion to be repaid same time we implement this law.

    • Anonymous says:

      Can CNS tell me why you cannot share the articles on CNS Business please.


      CNS: We just haven't installed that function yet. It's on a long list of things to do.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Caymanian lawyers expect to study here, graduate here, walk straight into any firm they please to do articles, then stay or move about the firms as they please and be made a partner within 5 years. That's unrealistic. To any ambitious Caymanian lawyer I would say as soon as you've done articles go and work in London or New York for at least 2 years. If you can make it in those jurisdictions, without the protection of positive discrimination laws, the local firms will be falling over themselves to hire you when you get back. But carping on about how someone with 10 years international legal experience got a job instead of a newly graduated local who has never been further than Miami just sounds entitled.

    • Anonymous says:

      It looks like another Bahamas is on the way, same thing happend to them…time to stand up

      little South Africa.

      • Anonymous says:

        The usual BS scaremongering. Grow up.

        • Anonymous says:

          No scaremongering, but the Bahamas are doing very well nowadays and definitely are in charge of their own destiny.

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh yes, glad to know others are thinking as I have been for the last several years. One day, a Caymanian Lynden Pindling will rise up amongst us and i hope it "soon come!" 

    • Anonymous says:

      So there are no jobs for new graduates?  Or does one need '10 years international legal experience' before they can graduate?  I understand your point about good experience but I don't understand the strategy that eliminates entry-level.   If someone graduates locally with honors, why can't they get their foot in the door?

      • Anonymous says:

        Because there is a world of difference between merely getting a law degree and being a credible candidate for a future associate position in a leading firm.  Getting a law degree is not really that big an achievement unless you are the graduate's mother.

    • Anonymous says:

      @9:12 Where are these 'positive discrimination laws' you speak of being practises in Cayman?


      Maybe indigenous Caymanians do need to follow the West Indian Caymanians with their UK passport and tight friendships with local fellow status holders and head to the UK because if you are not a Jamaican/status holder or don't have an influential family to 'get you in the door' your grades/experience/work ethic may truly mean you will have to keep that civil service position dear native Caymanian.


      If I had to make a guess at any positive discrimination it would be for Jamaican status holders (dark and light skinned), but hey subject do a survey of Legal Department and recruits during last 10 years in firms before you think I'm xenophobic.

    • Anonymous says:

      expat lawyers in their early 20's have no 10 yrs experience

    • Anonymous says:

      Partly agree: except when I requested a secondment to our offices in any other jurisdiction, the firm denied every one of my requests for 4 years.

      During that time, the firm told me to be grateful to work with the hot- shot new English attorney, (2 yrs pqe same as me) whom the firm was lucky to have come for a 1yr sevondment, paid for by the firm, including housing, car and repatriation allowance. I have a mortgage and a small car loan for a Honda, and meet all my expenses from my salary. No perks.

      After a year, he impressed the firm enough to be offered a contract. We are both now 3 yrs pqe. However, he is on a base salary $30,000 more per year, and his hourly rate is $375 to my $275.

      The firms explanation for these differences? He has “international experience.” – which I don’t. Which the firm gave him and paid for.

      The firm also pointed out that I was not as ‘profitable’ as my expat counterpart. I pointed out that his higher hourly rate set by the firm gave him an advantage.

      Since the partners dictate the flow of work, the top quality clients with large retainers (Hsbc, Deutsche Bank) and are never late settling invoices, go to the expat. He’s already going to get a huge bonus. Meanwhile, the Caymanian is assigned to small clients, who are likely to also request a discount, or may pay late.

      HR gently notes certain of the partners are “very exasperated with these persistent questions of some conspiracy and making inquiries of other staff members’ personal salary information”.

      I am reminded that my performance is graded on your ‘ability to work well with others’. These personal questions make everyone uncomfortable.

      A while later, another expat mentioned the secondee was a schoolmate of one of the firms partners.

      What do I do here? My expat counterpart is a perfectly nice guy. How do I tell the partners of their hypocrisy and not expect to get fired?

  17. Anonymous says:

    I will probably get shot down in flames for this but the comments need a little balance.  I used to be involved in a mid-sized law firm, with a Cayman office.  I really wanted to employ locals – because I thought they would be a more stable work-force and because a lot of the lawyers who go to Cayman from overseas are relocating either because they can't cut the mustard elsewhere, or because they want an easy life.  Frankly, it would make good business sense to use locals if you can.  I was warned by some others that the work attitude of local Caymanian lawyers would be a problem, but I did not believe that could be true.  So I went ahead and hired a couple of local lawyers.  They both proved to be a nightmare – turning up late (if at all) for work, sometimes simply disappearing without anyone knowing where they were for more than a week at a time, having all sorts of unauthorised outside interests etc.  When I tried to address the issue I was effectively threatened that I could not sack them as there would then be problems with the immigration board and that trouble could be stirred up through the individuals local political connections.  If Caymanian locals do want to get the best roles in Caymanian firms, then they need to address these individuals who give them all a bad name.  Law is a tough profession, which can reap excellent rewards for those prepared to work hard.  I would applaud any efforts of local Caymanians to step up to the plate.  But doing that requires honesty on both sides of the debate – employers who probably are naturally biased against locals and who need to challenge their own prejudiced assumptions, and from the local Caymanians who don't have a god given right to a job without earning it.  Both sides are at fault here and the result is not good news for the Island. If it is to be resolved then it is time to stop mud-slinging and address genuine grievances on both sides of the debate.

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      Your experience at a mid(low)-level practice may be true but there are plenty HARD working Caymanians who are overlooked and given every excuse in the book so that expats can maintain a stranglehold on the profession. This is a FACT!

      • Turtle's Head says:

        Anything called a FACT in CAPITALS is a fact because it was said in capitals.

    • Anonymous says:

      The shoe is always on the wrong foot when it comes to employing the caymanian, but when the expat comes along the unintelligent caymanian employee is assigned the task to show the new employee the way.  How much more bias can the tape get.   Same old same old.   They are shown the way, and then the new employee kicks the teacher to the curb, is given a higher position,increased salary, then himiliates the local by making complaints ,until the local is forced to resign.  It happens all the time. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Camanians are like all other nationalities – good and bad.  There are lazy expats in jobs also and very dedicated Caymanians in those jobs as well.

    • Beatriz says:

      If things are sooo bad and the we Caymanians are so bad workers then relocate to London, Hong kong or New York! Maybe you can think about the Bahamas or Bermuda to relocate! Having worked in the Investment banking field it's a proven fact that if you are not blonde and blue eyed or sleep with the boss you don't make it ahead!

      Caymanians work ethic is no different from other nationalities when they are given the opportunities. As for the passport issue, try relocating to the above countries and tell me that the local Passport holder doesn't have rights in their own country! Only in Cayman can it happen! But one thing is true about us Caymanians, we are a tolerant people and that has been our down fall.

  18. Pro Tem says:

    What a load of bunkum.  Caymanians receive every opportunity to advance locally.  The big firms take on more local article clerks than they would like to in order to appease boards.  The talented get on.  A passport is not a qualification.  At the end of this sorry episode there will be imposed on the Cayman financial services industry yet another cost to burden us and make us less competitive in the world market.  I notice no-one ever manages to name a Caymanian lawyer who was wrongly passed over in a firm.  I notice there are no cases where a Caymanian lawyer has taken these firms to Court and won.

    • Sucka Free says:

      Yes Bunkyum thats exactly what you and your kind do when you get together no doubt Passivity is the same as defending injustice and a lie told often enough becomes the truth eh?

      • Anonymous says:

        A graduate of the Truman Bodden Law School?

        • Anonymous says:

          I would say with that exemplary command of the English language, they graduated with HONORS, no doubt…

          • Anonymous says:

            Command of English language.  Is it 'HONORS' or 'HONOURS'.  Why the caps? 

    • Anonymous says:

      well said…. I'm sick to death of listening to these phantom caymanian discrimination stories… if there is a genuine case of discrimination, there are a number of of legal and statutory ways of rectifying this……


      • Anonymous says:

        David and Goliath is a fairy tale. You cannot apply laws ageist people who refuse to even acknowledge they are subject to them.

  19. Sucka Free says:

    Bare truth because they can no longer import who they want to work here , they now want to be able to transfer the work overseas so those who are unable to come here can make the money over there and at the same time they want to deprive Caymanians of that opportunity. Then trying to decieve us by using the word Competitive leading us to believe we are deriving some benefit from it. This is someone that Paget Brown who rightly states has no loyalty to Cayman and in truth of the matter should not even be here!

  20. Lorna says:

    Thanks Mr. Paget-Brown.  Having worked with you for a number of years (many years ago) I know that you have always had Caymanians at heart and that you are CAYMANIAN in your heart.  When the debate was going on sometime ago on radio, I tried caling in to voice my opinion and to say that not all foreign lawyers are against us. The two persons that always come to mind are Ian Paget-Brown and Bruce Campbell, both of whom have been on the legal scene in Cayman for over 40 years.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Funny how these expat lawyers think they are the ish when they get here and try to run tings but they were nobodies back home. Nothing like being discriminated against in your own country. Don’t worry Karma is a b*tch!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Based on some of the allegations made, I am surprised there has not been an arrest.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Planned to do ??????????

    Planned to do, planned to do

    always planning to do, do what

    keep us down. talk talk and no action

  24. Anonymous says:

    Ian is 100% correct! We just cannot allow these firms to continue using us to our detriment and their financial gain… we are not blind or stupid!

    • Anonymous says:

      …or is it you using them?  There is more than one perspective to all of this.  Who brings the work here in the first place?

      • Anonymous says:

        Bahamas coming.

        • Anonymous says:

          Bahamas coming? never! Cayman needs solid political leader and leadership.  I will pharaprase a quote from an excellent leader " For those who wish to be one of us, you also have a responsibility to try to be like us; to try to share our hopes and aspirations; to help us build and achieve.  You do not have a responsibility to retard our progress or to destroy every thing Native" I say until leader can speak the truth about the Caymanian plight, Caymanians will be nothing more in Cayman than what Connor was in Mobile and we all know what that was.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Caymanian partners? Go on then Law Society, you said there were lots in the major firms. Name them!

    • Anonymous says:

      If you google the firms and look at their directories you will see the lists of names which include a great many very talented Caymanians, some of whom are managing the firms.  Please do your own homework and stop spouting hate as if you have a point, which you don't.  You aren't helping by trying to sell hatred for the sake of creating hate in Cayman.  Shameful to be divisive pointlessly – shame on you.  There's more that brings us together than pushes us apart in this boat we all share, and drivel like yours helps no one.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah, but why do you want certificates for lawyers who have never even come to the island?

      • Anonymous says:

        What is said on websites and told to regulators is often very far from the truth. Your research is pretty shallow and its result far from accurate.

      • Anonymous says:

        When a law firm misleads regulators here as to who the partners are, or who the applicants for a position are, or chooses an overseas candidate before ‘advertising locally” that creates hate. When you defend that conduct, that spreads it.

    • Anonymous says:

      …and we mean real equity partners, not associate partners i.e. highly paid employees with a title.

      • Anonymous says:

        So now being a highly paid employee with a title is a problem? 

        • Anonymous says:

          Ummm…obviously if it means you are being passed off as a partner to show how well Caymanians have been promoted.

          • Anonymous says:

            and in the process even having committed a criminal fraud on government agencies.

    • Anonymous says:

      Brian Hunter, Brian Hunter, Brian Hunter, and James Bergstrom. There. See, that’s at least four of them.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Mr. Pager Brown, thank you!

    • Anonymous says:

      Finally the truth has come out. As one local lawyer said on a radio talk show recently, "it is no longer a profession, but an industry here". Many of them are here because they couldnt cut the mustard at home, now they believe they are big fish in our little pond.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Sad to see all this Cayman $ going overseas. This practice should be stopped so this $ gets invested locally.

    • Anonymous says:

      It's not Cayman money though.  It's foreign money being spend on structuring foreign-based investment entities which refer to Cayman laws and use Caymanian underlying structures.  Why would you presume that Cayman is entitled to more than the money earned for hosting the underlyuing structure?  Do you foresee that the rich elite of London and New York are going to be the direct clients of local attorneys?  No, they are captive clients of the UK Magic Circle firms (and the US equivalent) who are going to do all the work themselves in the UK (or US), and when they refer a piece of the action to a Cayman-based offshore firm for local handling we should be saying "thank you", not pissing on the Cayman-based offshore firm for talking the Magic Circle firms into sending something our way in the first place. You people really need to reassess how this business actually works before you round up the neighbours to go kill the golden goose.  The Magic Circle firms can easily start using VISTA trusts instead of STAR trusts for all of this, and BVI can eat your lunch.

      • Anonymous says:

        It is Cayman money being paid for Cayman legal advice to expats overseas and being spent overseas instead of locally.

        It is pretty black and white smarta$$!

      • Another anonymous says:

        It is not Cayman money going overseas. if you think that you do not understand what you are trying to talk about. The paragraph "It's not Cayman money" was accurate (I am a different author, just restating the point). Cayman was basically uninhabitable  30 years ago, and while having come on tremendously, there is nothing particularly special about it now to stop the financial services work going elsewhere. If you want more money in Cayman make it less risky for decent hard working (expat) families to feel safe about settling and spending there money here. Already, expats contribute a huge portion of their salaries (which otherwise would not be here, because the money originated in the US, UK, hong Kong) to the local economy. The expat lawyers who come here now are often more senior, with families. Do not compare them to the jobless bachelors who came out 20 years ago!

        Having overseas offices helps Cayman: they create work which leads to the establishment of Cayman companies etc. which give rise to CIMA and other government fees. If you put a block on it the work will go to the BVI, Mauritius, wherever.

        The message for young Caymanians who want to do well in the law is do your articles in the UK or Canada, or the US and get some experience on proper transactions. The majority of corporate work done in Cayman is far too narrow/shallow for you to develop as a lawyer. It also means you obviously wont understand the transactions you are asked to help on, so instructing onshore lawyers wont trust you with the work.

        Even if for entirely cynical reasons, such as making quotas, the dream of the offshore firms here is to have capable Caymanians who can rise up and make it to partnership. So opportunities will be there if you do the graft…

        However, that is of course dependent on there still being a financial servies industry for yu to grow into, so you best hope that the golden goose hasn't been throttled by your countryman who don't understand economics and think Cayman is the centre of the universe…

  28. Anonymous says:

    Lawyers up to no good?

    What a surprise.

  29. Anonymous says:

    HA! Guess what?  You're dealing with lawyers. What I don't understand is why you want so much to be one of them.

  30. Anonymous says:

    HALLELUJAH! Finally the truth is being told and it is even sweeter that it is being told by a non-native Caymanian. Thank you Ian Paget Brown.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Whata bunch of Criminals!!!

  32. Anonymous says:

    Lawyers, barristers, judges, QCs, attorneys, chief justices, crown cousels, constitutional advocates, attorney generals, exceedingly grand muftis of babylon,  yada-yada ad nauseam have tricked the rest of us into making them rich.

    I did a land transaction recently with a local real estate company and the agent had all the papers made and notarized. I wrote him a personal check and picked up the papers a couple of days later.

    I duly submitted to Land & Survey and voila, the land was mine! Legal fees. ZERO! 

    My dear chaps and chappettes of the legal profession, I sincerely hope that people can learn to trust each other again one day, and then you'll need to get real jobs. You've been rumbled, LOL. Tongue in cheek, you can go back to pretending to be poring over that rather large legal volume looking for a precedent.

    This news story demonstrates the utter confusion that this 'profession' has introduced into our lives. It seems that nobody can make heads or tails out of this Legal Practitioners Bill.

    Finally, how much has this cost us? These people don't come cheap.

    • Anonymous says:

      you know who else doesn't come cheap… realtors… 7% for nada… but the contract you signed to buy said land… probably drafted by a lawyer! So you tell me… who you need more, lawyers or realtors?!

  33. Anonymous says:


  34. Anonymous says:

    Please pass this law it is sorely needed and these big bad expat partners need to share the pie with Cayman!

  35. Anonymous says:

    Wow expat partners trying to keep the $$$billions$$$ to themselves what a surprise! It is high time Caymanians be afforded equal opportunity so that Cayman can prosper!!!

  36. Anonymous says:

    The big firms position would not pass muster in any real country.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes well in any 'real' country the locally provided attorneys would also have a 'real' work ethic…..

      In the 'real' world, law students would not dare apply to a firm for an articling position with a result of 40% on their law school exams, yet time and time again the law firms are expected to take these students on board…. 40% is a fail in every other country except Cayman.

      • Anonymous says:

        That sounds like changing the subject. Why should someone who has never been to Cayman get the right to practice Cayman law in some other overseas jurisdiction. Truly ridiculous.

      • Anonymous says:

        You are so wrong. This is the same criteria set by Law Schools in England for any LLB exam. A 40% in the English system is about a 60% in the American.

  37. Anonymous says:

    If you are Caymanian and you are qualified in whatever profession, the excuse for not being employed in Cayman is, "You don't have enough experience". If you are lucky enough to get employed, the excuse for not advancing in your career is that you don't have sufficient local experience. If you do have this, the excuse is then, "You don't have enough International Experience" If you possess all of the above, the excuse is then, "You didn't study at a prestigious university and your experience was not gained from a highly recognized company". The excuses goes on and on and on and on …………. !!!!!   

  38. Anonymous says:

    As a young Caymanian lawyer I have witnessed good Caymanian lawyers with no hope of ever becoming a partner in the all British clubs that is the major law firms. What a joke. Something desperately needs to be done.

  39. Anynomous says:

    Mr Smelie please do the right thing.  These overseas Lawyers are fleecing the Cayman Islands.    They have no care, no respect and no thoughts whatsoever for the Cayman Islands.  Just their pockets lined with dollars.  Just cannot get enough.

  40. Anonymous says:

    more of milking the Cow and not wanting to feed the calf, what’s new?

    • Ya mon says:

      How are the locals supposed to feed the cattle which supply all the milk?  Isn't it just a case of the locals wanting some of the money that the international law firms bring into the jurisdiction? The firms aren't asking the locals to feed the calf, but for goodness sake don't shoot the cows.