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The Job Blog

Cayman: Legal market overview for expat attorneys

I would like to share my blog that was published on the Totally Legal website on 1 August 2014.

Introduction

The Cayman Islands are an overseas British territory consisting of three islands; Grand Cayman, and its two sister islands, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. They are located in the stunning Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica. Cayman is world famous for its offshore financial institutions and law firms.

Legal Market Overview

The legal system is based on English common law but is constantly evolving with the addition of local statutes. The areas of law in demand are; banking and finance, corporate, funds, commercial and insolvency litigation, and trusts. On a small island competition is rife; affording law firms the luxury to recruit exceptional attorneys. Such lawyers usually have immaculate academic records plus training and post qualification experience from prestigious magic/silver/US firms within the commonwealth or another offshore jurisdiction. Attorneys benefit from a quality, varied and interesting caseload. Many move to Cayman for faster career progression, something which is not guaranteed in the City. Tax free salaries are higher than other offshore centres.

Salary Guide:

(Numbers are expressed 000’s and currency in US dollars)

  • 3 pqe – top $175, middle $150, bottom $130
  • 4 pqe – top $190, middle $165, bottom $145
  • 5 pqe – top $225, middle $180, bottom $155
  • 6 pqe – top $240, middle $195, bottom$160
  • 7 pqe – top $255, middle $210, bottom $170
  • 8 pqe – top $275, middle $225, bottom $180
  • 9 pqe – top $290, middle $235, bottom $190
  • 10 pqe – top $300, middle $245, bottom $200
  • Entry level salaried Partners – top $500, middle $300, bottom $225
  • Senior salaried partners – top $800, middle $500, bottom $300

Firms provide generous bonus structures which are dependent on a number of variables, including, billable hours, departmental/firm performance, and business development. Attorneys will obtain medical insurance and pension through their packages.

Work permits

To obtain a work permit, non-Caymanians and those without status must have at least three years post qualification experience from a common law jurisdiction, as per the Attorney General’s regulations. Re-qualification is a standard process; attorneys apply to the Cayman Bar after their work permit is granted.

Cost of Living/Lifestyle

Grand Cayman is an expensive place to live although comparable to big cities. Generous salaries provide an extremely comfortable lifestyle. Many attorneys opt for weekend breaks to nearby destinations including Miami, Honduras and Panama. Cayman has excellent schooling and plenty to do for spouses. The island provides a fantastic outdoors lifestyle; the famous seven mile beach, numerous sports teams/societies, world-class diving and amazing weather all-year round. Compared to City life, the commute to work is short and stress-free plus shorter working hours make for a perfect work/life balance.

If you are interested in a secretarial, paralegal, attorney, partner or barrister role in Cayman, please do contact me: nikeeta@baraud.com.