Bermuda law firm Appleby Spurling & Kempe and Cayman law firm Hunter & Hunter will unite their business operations on 1 April 2004, creating the first law firm with a major presence in both Bermuda and the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Cayman Islands.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
The combined group, to be known as Appleby Spurling Hunter, will also have an expanded presence in the British Virgin Islands and the major financial centres of Hong Kong and London, giving it a broad reach among offshore law firms servicing hedge funds.
Partners of the two firms voted unanimously in December 2003 to approve the creation of the new enterprise, which will be a combined entity of approximately 430 lawyers and staff worldwide. This combination will result in one of the largest offshore providers of legal and business services.
The move follows the earlier decision by Channel Islands legal and administration firm Ogier and Cayman law firm Boxalls to join forces in offering services to their clients, including hedge funds (see previous Hedgeweek article).
AS&K Managing Partner, Peter Bubenzer said: "Joining Appleby Spurling & Kempe and Hunter & Hunter together creates an optimal situation for clients. They will benefit from a broader and deeper array of services in all of our locations and have dispassionate guidance regarding the selection of the most appropriate offshore jurisdiction. The range of our expertise will be greatly enhanced, so we will be able to offer access to even greater resources."
Bruce Putterill, Senior Partner of Hunter & Hunter, said: "Our two firms are already leaders in their respective jurisdictions. The combination of firms opens the door to an even greater presence in other offshore jurisdictions. Also, with offices in major business locations such as London and Hong Kong, we provide access to, from and among key financial centres."
The combined group will continue to focus on the historical strengths of each firm: general company and corporate advice, insurance, funds and investment services, asset finance and banking, telecommunications, dispute resolution, insolvency and restructuring, capital markets and financial structures, trusts and real property. Additionally, the legal offerings are complemented by trust, corporate administration and company management services.
Background Note: Appleby Spurling & Kempe is a leading provider of offshore legal services. Headquartered in Bermuda, the firm has offered solutions to complex legal problems for more than 100 years. It maintains offices in Hong Kong  and London  and is opening an office in the British Virgin Islands .
The firm's principal focus is on the corporate commercial arena. This includes the incorporation and formation of offshore structures. The firm also has a substantial litigation & insolvency  department handling both local and international matters and has experienced attorneys in its trusts & financial structures  and property  departments. The firm has a total complement of approximately 340 persons, including more than 70 lawyers.The firm also has several subsidiary and affiliated companies to add value to the services provided in the practice:
Hunter & Hunter is one of the largest and leading law firms in the Cayman Islands. The main focus of the firm's practice is on international and commercial work, mainly for institutional clients, but it is a full service law firm also known for serving the local community. The firm comprises some 30 lawyers and has a total staff of 85. As well as its head office in Grand Cayman, it has an office in London to provide enhanced services to its clients based in Europe.
copyright hegdeweek 2004