Walkers BVI > Tortola, British Virgin Islands > Firm Profile

Walkers BVI
171 MAIN STREET, PO BOX 92
ROAD TOWN
TORTOLA VG1110
British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands > Dispute resolution Tier 1

Jointly led by oligarch litigation expert Oliver Clifton  and corporate dispute specialist Rosalind Nicholson , the insolvency and dispute resolution team at Walkers BVI is lauded as ‘confident, diverse, very well resourced, very experienced and able to mix it with the very best in the BVI’. Combining ‘huge intellectual rigour with the very best in commercial acumen and client care’, the team is notable for playing a leading role in a large proportion of high-value disputes concerning ultra-high-value fraud disputes emanating from Russia, the CIS and Africa. Iain Tucker brings to bear extensive experience in freezing orders and other urgent injunctive relief, often in support of foreign Court and arbitration proceedings, while Murray Laing attracts plaudits as ‘one of the very wisest and coolest heads’ in complex proceedings in the region. Another name to note is senior associate Cate Barbour.

Testimonials

Walkers DR team is very supportive from the beginning. Great communications, very easy to work with. Down-to-earth litigators with strong ethics and clear vision. Detail-oriented. Able to cope with emergency situations.’

Oliver Clifton is a guru in offshore litigation. He is very quick to catch every single detail and react. Oliver’s presence is key to a smooth trial.

The Walkers practice is confident, diverse, very well resourced, very experienced and able to mix it with the very best in the BVI. The team combines huge intellectual rigour with the very best in commercial acumen and client care.’

Murray Laing is a newish partner but with one of the very wisest and coolest heads. He delivers advice clearly and coolly and with impeccable judgment. Ros Nicholson is the stand-out corporate / chancery lawyer on the island in my view. Her corporate knowledge is encyclopaedic and her legal judgment sharp and brilliant.’

The team is led by partners with vast experience and excellent insight, the associates work around the clock to meet the demands of a substantial case. The team is agile enough to react with exceptional speed when called for, yet has the breadth and depth to run a heavyweight case for years with all the strategy and skill expected of a top global team.’

I consider Oliver Clifton to be the go-to lawyer for litigation in the BVI Commercial Court. Iain Tucker is also a very sophisticated lawyer and an expert in international fraud and insolvency litigation.’

The disputes team at Walkers are an impressive full-service litigation outfit able to handle the full gamut of offshore disputes. They give the other main players a run for their money in delivering an efficient, high-quality service.’

Rosalind Nicholson is the doyen of corporate and shareholder disputes and without peer on any particularly difficult commercial chancery issue. She is pragmatic, knowledgeable and invaluable to have on your side of the trenches. Murray Laing is thoughtful and incredibly responsive and is always across every detail. He has a real depth of expertise across civil fraud, commercial and insolvency matters that makes him an asset for any heavy commercial dispute.’

Key clients

Emmerson International Corporation

Court-appointed receivers over A.P.F Group Co. Ltd

Broad Idea International Limited

Formal Holdings Limited

Nam Tai Property Inc.

Deposit Insurance Agency and Mezhprom Bank

Mass Energy Group Holding Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing Oligarch and former Russian Government Minister Mikhail Abyzov in his claims against Viktor Vekselberg, Russia’s third-richest man, with appeals concerning a freezing order obtained over assets valued at more than $1bn.
  • Acting for Broad Idea and a Respondent to a Black Swan freezing order brought by Convoy Collateral.
  • Acting for the Ninth and Tenth Defendants in a claim brought by the Trustees of the Erica Trust against 27 defendants relating to the propriety of a transfer out of a substantial portion of the Trust’s portfolio of properties in London valued at approximately £60m.

British Virgin Islands > Trusts/private client Tier 1

Under the leadership of David Pytches, Walkers BVI‘s private capital and trusts practice guides clients through all aspects of BVI trusts and succession law, including the formation, administration and restructuring of trusts, succession planning matters, wealthy family and family office relocations, commercial trust and foundation structures, and charity and philanthropy matters. In addition, the ‘very intelligent, but also intensely practical team’ also exhibits notable contentious trust capabilities, routinely representing ultra-high-net-worth clients from Russia, the CIS and Africa before BVI courts. Elsewhere in the department, Oliver Clifton  and Rosalind Nicholson  (‘a tough and practical litigator who brings her experience at the English bar to bear very effectively’) are prominent names for contentious mandates.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘They have a very intelligent, but also intensely practical team, which is the perfect blend.’

‘Rosalind Nicholson is a tough and practical litigator who brings her experience at the English bar to bear very effectively. I would much rather have her in my corner than against me.’

‘Capable collaborative team.’

Key clients

Intertrust

Rawlinson & Hunter

Trident Trust

Nerine Trust Company (BVI) Limited

British Virgin Islands > Banking, finance and capital markets Tier 2

The finance, corporate and funds group at Walkers BVI is jointly overseen by managing partner Matthew Cowman and Omonike Robinson-Pickering, the latter of whom was promoted to partner in 2020 and is noted for her ‘realism and practicality‘. Both advise clients on all elements of banking and finance work, most frequently the BVI law dimensions of secured and unsecured financings, subordinated and syndicated lending work, security issues, leverage and acquisition finance mandates, project and real estate finance matters, and derivatives and structured products.

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Testimonials

‘They are super responsive and will get on the phone to discuss strategy and explain the market and the law. I’ve had local counsel before where I worked primarily with associates or everything happened via email – sometimes people speak past each other, and it’s nice to know the facts and where people are coming from.’

‘Omonike Robinson-Pickering was my primary contact, and she was super responsive. She foresaw problems and gave us warnings about them, along with her suggestions for dealing with each challenge. She knew when to stick to her guns, and when to give in gracefully since we needed to get a deal done. I appreciated the realism and practicality.’

Key clients

The Central America Bottling Corporation

Norwegian Cruise Lines

Brookfield Asset Management Inc.

Citibank

JPMorgan

Santander

Deutsche Bank

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

China Minsheng Banking Corp

Macquarie Group

Work highlights

  • Acted as counsel to NCL, a subsidiary of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, as it closed its private offering of $675m aggregate principal amount of its 12.25% senior secured notes due 2024.
  • Acted for The Central America Bottling Corporation in connection with its issuance of an additional $200m of its 5.75% Senior Guaranteed Notes due 2027.
  • Acted for Citibank, JP Morgan and Santander, the initial purchasers, in relation to the issuance of $150m aggregate principal amount of 5.875% Senior Notes due 2027 .

British Virgin Islands > Corporate and commercial Tier 2

Jointly led by Matthew Cowman and Omonike Robinson-Pickering, who was promoted to partner in 2020, Walkers BVI’s practice provides assistance to a variety of multinational clients drawn from Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America on complex cross-border transactions, encompassing the whole gamut of corporate law. More specifically, the department takes the lead on public and private acquisitions and disposals, mergers and consolidations, corporate reorganisations, plans of arrangement and joint ventures. Brittney Smith, who is an associate within the department, plays a key supporting role in many noteworthy BVI matters.

Testimonials

‘Responsiveness and great availability. business minded. noteworthy expertise.’

‘Great availability and excellent communication between the lawyers of the same law firm when partner in charge of file is absent.’

Key clients

The Central America Bottling Corporation

Norwegian Cruise Lines

Brookfield Asset Management Inc.

Citibank

JPMorgan

Santander

Deutsche Bank

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

China Minsheng Banking Corp

Macquarie Group

EagleTree Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised NCL, a subsidiary of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, on a private offering of $675m aggregate principal amount of its 12.25% senior secured notes due 2024.
  • Advised The Central America Bottling Corporation on its issuance of an additional $200m of its 5.75% Senior Guaranteed Notes due 2027.
  • Advised EagleTree Capital on its acquisition of Integreon, Inc., a leading global managed services provider.

British Virgin Islands > Investment funds Tier 2

Led locally by Matthew Cowman, Walkers BVI regularly acts for hedge fund groups, private equity houses, asset managers and institutional investors. Among the key areas of strength are matters relating to fund formations and capitalisations, financings, buyouts, regulations and downstream transactions. It has also seen a rise in mandates relating to the establishment of closed-ended private investment funds and incubator and approved funds, propelled by crypto managers in particular. In a recent development, Paul Waldron re-joined the BVI office as a senior counsel from Harneys in April 2021.

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British Virgin Islands > Regulatory and compliance Tier 2

Benefitting from a large global footprint, Walkers BVI’s practice is led from Cayman by the firm’s global regulatory and compliance head Lucy Frew . Fluent in BVI regulations, Frew provides specialist regulatory advice on a whole host of the jurisdiction’s regulatory frameworks, ranging from anti-money laundering and terrorist financing requirements to sanctions, exchange of tax information issues, economic substance requirements, reporting of beneficial ownership and data protection regimes. Senior counsel Lodewijk Van Setten remains the most active regulatory specialist located in the firm’s BVI office.

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Key clients

Citibank

JPMorgan

Santander

Deutsche Bank

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

China Minsheng Banking Corp

Work highlights

  • Advised HUMAN Protocol on BVI and Cayman regulatory matters and associated compliance issues.
  • Advised Hermez DAO on the BVI regulatory aspects of its proposed activities.

Cayman Islands > Banking, finance and capital markets

Leveraging ‘decades of experience‘ at the top end of the Cayman market, the team at Walkers handles an assortment of complex, bet-the-company transactions, acting for an array of lenders, borrowers and sponsors. The ‘exceptionally smartPhilip Paschalides handles debt capital market issuances, securitisations and CLOs; David Collins has considerable expertise in fund financing, bilateral and syndicated lending work, acquisition financings and corporate financings; and Rob Jackson focuses on project finance transactions; while James Burch specialises in debt capital markets deals. At the senior counsel level, aviation finance specialist Sarah Humpleby and structured finance specialist Paul Osborne (who ‘provides technically sound advice in a clear manner‘) are the standout names. Also highly rated in the banking and finance space are Hugh Anderson and Justin Hart, both of whom were promoted to partner in July 2020. In June 2021, Paige Gaston-Thiery moved in-house.

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

Walkers is our go-to firm for asset-based secured loans to private investment funds in the Cayman Islands. They have decades of experience in the space, their advice is highly practical and commercial, and they are incredibly responsive.’

Walkers has a solid bench of capable partners and senior attorneys. Paul Osborne, in particular, stands out for the transactions that we engage Walkers on.’

‘The team is incredibly responsive and constructive in solving problems.’

Strong CLO and finance practices. Responsive. Insightful on complex legal issues.

Philip Paschalides is my contact there and orchestrates his team’s business. Exceptionally smart, not just on a relative level to those in his jurisdiction, but relative to international practitioners.’

‘The Walkers team is able to provide excellent advice on any number of complex structures.’

‘Paul Osborne efficiently provides technically sounds advice in a clear manner. He understands the commercial aspects of our deals and is able to deliver practical advice.’

‘I work mostly with Walkers’ superb CLO team. They have deep experience, provide outstanding client service and have terrific technical and drafting skills. However, I value (above all of those excellent qualities) that nuanced judgement and commercial/practical approach to lawyering, which has, on more than one occasion, saved the day, when we have been faced with documents that are inadequate or ambiguous with regard to a critical issue.’

Key clients

Anchorage Capital

Apollo Global Management

BlackRock

Cerberus

Credit Suisse Asset Management

Goldman Sachs

Hellman & Friedman

Morgan Stanley

Neuberger Berman

PGIM

Redding Ridge Asset Management

PineBridge

Silicon Valley Bank

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

The Carlyle Group

Wellfleet Credit Partners

Work highlights

  • Acted as Cayman Islands counsel to Goldman Sachs on the American Airlines loyalty programme financing, the world’s largest financing using an airline’s loyalty programme as security to date.
  • Acted as Cayman Islands counsel for Titan Aircraft Investments I, Ltd. in preparing corporate authorities and legal opinions in respect of the Parent guarantor as well as reviewing all transaction documents and advising on matters of Cayman Islands law arising.
  • Advising Pacífico on a Cayman special purpose vehicle and its establishment of a diversified payment rights program.

United Arab Emirates > Offshore

Walkers has a sizeable practice and offers Cayman Island, BVI and Jersey legal services covering the full spectrum of banking and finance law. The practice has particular expertise in Islamic finance and advises clients on a number of different structures. Managing partner Daniel Wood heads the firm's Middle East offering. Banking and finance practice head Ciaran Bohnacker focuses on Islamic finance, aviation finance and structured finance work. Tom Cochrane leads the investment funds and corporate team. Cate Barbour, Johanna Hendry, Luke Petith were promoted to senior counsel in 2021.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Wood; Ciaran Bohnacker; Tom Cochrane

Other key lawyers:

Barnaby Gowrie; Cate Barbour, Johanna Hendry, Luke Petith; Carly Kilshaw; Terry-Ann Arch

Testimonials

‘Excellent team.’

‘Dan, Ciaran and Terri-Ann are the usual individuals. Great to deal with.’

‘The Walkers team in Dubai are hands down the best Cayman and BVI law firm I have ever worked with and I recommend Dan and Tom and Ciaran to every client that needs good offshore counsel. They are exceptional.’

‘The Walkers team are very responsive and very commercial.’

‘Ciaran Bohnacker is a stand-out partner at Walkers, always willing to go above and beyond – available at all times of the night.’

Dan Wood – Dan is an excellent funds lawyer and provides top notch advice. He is extremely responsive. The advice he provides is clear and practical. Tom Cochrane – Tom is a great funds lawyer. He gives clear practical advice. I enjoy working with him. Ciaran Bohnacker – strong on corporate matters, provides practical advice.

Key clients

GFH Financial Group

Standard Chartered Bank

International Airfinance Corporation

HSBC

Gulf Capital

Abu Dhabi Financial Group

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

Emirates NBD

National Oil and Gas Holding Company (Bahrain)

SHUAA Capital psc

Work highlights

  • Advised leading global payment processor Checkout.com on its $110m Series A financing for Saudi payments firm Tamara.
  • Advised the Ministry of Finance (Government of the Maldives) on its $1bn Trust Certificate Issuance Programme and its debut sovereign $200m Sukuk issuance thereunder, issued through a Cayman incorporated issuer and trustee SPV.
  • Acted as Cayman Islands counsel to SHUAA Capital on the establishment of $200m SHUAA Financing Opportunities Fund.

Cayman Islands > Corporate and commercial

Walkers is retained by high-end investment funds, alongside FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies drawn from a wide range of industries. As well as seeing an upswing in Special Purpose Acquisition Companies matters, the group also handles the full spectrum of traditional corporate and commercial law work, particularly M&A, strategic joint ventures, shareholder arrangements, corporate restructurings and commercial contracts. David Collins has a proven track record in advising financial institutions, funds, corporations, issuers and institutional investors on corporate transactions; Rob Jackson regularly advises on share acquisitions and disposals; and Caroline Williams displays knowledge of the sale and purchase of portfolio investments and secondary transactions; while Rolf Lindsay  has extensive experience advising on the structuring, formation and management of general partners. In July 2020, both Hugh Anderson and Justin Hart were promoted to the partnership.

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

Walkers’ emphasis on exceptional client service, knowledge of the client’s business and the regulatory requirements surrounding it, and their commitment to always providing an appropriate team for the situation, has stood out among my experiences with them and in comparison to other firms we work with.’

Whether a partner or associate, I received their immediate attention with respect to requests regardless of the complexity. The team stays on top of project status whether they are directly involved or just looped in and worked very efficiently to keep costs and time to a minimum — organisational skills are superb.’

Top-notch Cayman counsel. Professional, cordial, responsive and always available to assist.’

They are very responsive, efficient and truly kind and enjoyable individuals to work with.’

Key clients

Apollo Global Management

BlackRock

Cerberus

Hellman & Friedman

CVC Capital Partners

Oaktree Capital Management

The Blackstone Group

The Carlyle Group

Oakhill Advisors

First Reserve Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised the founding partner of Colle Capital Partners I, LP on all aspects of the incorporation and listing of a SPAC.
  • Acted as Cayman Islands legal counsel to Apollo Global Management Inc. in respect of the establishment and listing of its $750m special purpose acquisition company, Apollo Strategic Growth Capital, on the NYSE.
  • Advising Vector Capital on all aspects of Cayman Islands law with respect to the formation of the SPAC, drafting the constitutional documents, shareholder approvals and board approvals for the NASDAQ listing, reviewing the S-1 and all other transaction documents.
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The firm: Walkers is a leading international law firm that provides legal, corporate, fiduciary and compliance services to global corporations, financial institutions, capital markets participants and investment fund managers. Clients include FORTUNE 100 and FTSE 100 companies, as well as the most innovative firms and institutions across the financial markets. Walkers’ lawyers are experienced, entrepreneurial, committed to client service and held in high regard by clients for their ability to deliver outstanding legal advice.

Walkers is experienced in all types of international and cross-border transactions, covering a broad range of sectors, with a particular focus on both contentious and non-contentious corporate and finance law, investment funds, private equity, structured products, capital markets, private capital and trusts. Walkers delivers excellent, clear, practical advice based on an in-depth knowledge of the legal, regulatory and commercial environment in Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Jersey and Ireland. The firm is consistently ranked in the top tier of leading global legal directories. Clients describe Walkers as “a top-class firm,” and “stellar,” adding: “They are dedicated and responsive…”

Corporate: Walkers’ corporate group advises global corporations on a wide variety of company, commercial and corporate law matters. It has extensive experience advising on all corporate matters including mergers, acquisitions and disposals, corporate re-structuring, joint ventures, shareholders’ agreements and commercial contracts and agreements of every nature.
Contacts: Matthew Cowman, Omonike Robinson-Pickering

Finance: Walkers has a market-leading finance practice and regularly represents the main US and European banks, as well as corporate, private equity and hedge fund borrowers. The team is especially active on a range of secured banking and finance matters including fund financing, corporate lending, margin loans, corporate bond issuances, resource based project financings and asset finance transactions
Contacts: Matthew Cowman, Omonike Robinson-Pickering

Insolvency and dispute resolution: Walkers advises companies, directors, general partners and insolvency practitioners on all aspects of litigation, corporate recovery, restructuring, insolvency and dispute resolution. The team is internationally recognised as having the premier practice for dispute concerning ultra-high-value assets and fraud disputes. Walkers is also known for its unrivalled expertise in corporate litigation, shareholder and boardroom disputes, and related advice on strategy, risk management and issues of corporate governance, contested takeovers, and contentious and non-contentious restructuring. They advise creditors, debtors, private equity and hedge funds and other stakeholders and have worked with many of the leading international law and accounting firms.
Contacts: Oliver Clifton, Rosalind Nicholson

Investment funds: Walkers’ investment funds group is one of the largest specialist investment funds teams worldwide. They advise many of the world’s most prominent asset managers, fund promoters and institutional banks and investors on all aspects of offshore investment funds including fund formation, structuring, regulation, fund restructuring, fund re-domiciliation, termination and on-going general advice to investment funds and managers.
Contact: Matthew Cowman, Paul Waldron

Private capital and trusts: Walkers’ private capital and trusts group is a multijurisdictional team of specialist lawyers that focusses on serving the needs of wealthy families, entrepreneurs, family offices, professional trustees and onshore advisers. The team’s work includes establishing private capital investment funds, direct investing, private and commercial trusts, wealth and succession planning, wills and probate, charitable and philanthropic trusts and entities, trust litigation and a broad range of corporate services designed to support back office operations. Clients have come to rely on Walkers as a trusted advisor for its unmatched expertise, discretion and individually tailored advice with a long-term, multi-generational perspective.
Contact: David Pytches

Private equity: Walkers’ private equity group acts for most of the world’s largest and most successful private equity firms. It advises on all aspects of fund formation and capitalisation of investment vehicles, public and private mergers and acquisitions and down-stream transactions, capital call and subscription line financing, leveraged buy out, group restructuring, secured lending, take-private and IPO formation and due diligence.
Contact: Matthew Cowman

Regulatory and risk advisory: Walkers’ regulatory and risk advisory team comprises dedicated specialist financial regulatory and risk management advisory lawyers who bring unique insight from having worked inside various national regulators, including the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority. The team regularly advises non-regulated and regulated financial institutions on the interpretation and application of regulatory rules, policies and procedures. Clients include a wide range of businesses in the banking, insurance and reinsurance, investment fund, administrator, fiduciary and investment management, advice, broker-dealer and arranger sectors.
Contacts: Lucy Frew

Restructuring: Walkers’ restructuring team offers clients a premier restructuring service for companies in financial difficulty. The team consists of experts drawn from top tier international law firms and chambers, and includes the corporate expertise of Rosalind Nicholson, offering a unique crossover in the BVI between litigation and corporate law (with many years’ experience as one of the UK’s leading company law barristers) on both contentious and non-contentious restructuring initiatives.
Contact: Rosalind Nicholson

Global managing partner: Ingrid Pierce
BVI managing partner: Matthew Cowman
Number of BVI partners: 8
Number of partners worldwide: 124
Number of BVI lawyers: 20
Number of lawyers worldwide: 420

DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
Corporate, Finance & Funds Matthew Cowmanmatthew.cowman@walkersglobal.com+1 284 852 2208
Insolvency & Dispute Resolution Oliver Cliftonoliver.clifton@walkersglobal.com+1 284 852 2246
Regulatory & Risk Advisory Lucy Frewlucy.frew@walkersglobal.com+1 345 814 4676
Insolvency & Dispute Resolution Murray Laingmurray.laing@walkersglobal.com+1 284 852 2226
Insolvency & Dispute Resolution Rosalind Nicholsonrosalind.nicholson@walkersglobal.com+1 284 852 2237
Private Capital & Trusts David Pytchesdavid.pytches@walkersglobal.com+1 345 814 6831
Corporate, Finance & Funds Omonike Robinson-Pickeringomonike.robinson-pickering@walkersglobal.com+1 284 852 2222
Insolvency & Dispute Resolution Iain Tuckeriain.tucker@walkersglobal.com+1 284 852 2230
Corporate, Finance & Funds Alex Dysdalealex.drysdale@walkersglobal.com+1 284 852 2262
Corporate, Finance & Funds Paul Waldronpaul.waldron@walkersglobal.com+1 284 852 2249
BVI partners : 8
Partners worldwide : 124
BVI lawyers: : 20
Lawyers worldwide : 420
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