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Harneys – Best Offshore Law Firm

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Harneys operates through 14 international locations and its global funds practice advises on all aspects of offshore investment funds, from the establishment, to the ongoing maintenance and then the restructuring both in distressed and planned scenarios. 

The firm’s investment funds practice has continued to grow, particularly in Cayman, where Harneys has rapidly closed the gap between it and other firms in the jurisdiction through a number of key hires, including Appleby’s former global head of investment funds, Ian Gobin, who joined at the start of 2016. This year, Harneys has continued to build on the back of what was a very good 2016 and has continued to bring in some very well regarded practitioners into its BVI, Cayman, Hong Kong and London offices. 

As Philip Graham (pictured), Partner at Harneys, comments: “What’s been interesting to observe this year has been the rise of cryptocurrency strategies. We are seeing a lot of activity both in the BVI and the Cayman Islands on this front and this of course also ties into numerous Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) as well. It’s been fascinating to see how cryptocurrency developments interact with the funds world and will continue to fundamentally change the landscape we are all working in.”

Harneys is not just a typical offshore law firm that churns out documents and makes sure a fund launches on time. It wants to evolve to become a much more relationship-based law firm which acts as a fundamental tool in the armoury of all its investment manager clients. This has worked very well in Latin America, and also for its Vancouver office, which services the whole of the west coast of North America. 

As well as its long-term established managers, Harneys brings a sharp focus to support start-up and emerging managers, particularly out of the BVI. Launching its blog ( was a vital part of reaching out to this part of the market. 

As Graham explains: “It’s been a runaway success and helped us access some fascinating clients. One of my favourite enquiries came from someone who wrote, `I’m a Latvian based in Norway and want to look at Korean equities. Can you help me?’ How on earth would I have found this guy through normal means before?

“The whole idea of the blog was to finally write in layman’s terms, not like a lawyer, to try and appeal to a wider and more specific audience. People don’t necessarily know why they need offshore structures or a fund administrator for example. We’re trying to help with that as best we can.”

This illustrates the emphasis Harneys places on effective communication. This is especially true when keeping clients up-to-date on legislative and regulatory updates. 

“Clients don’t want 100 mailshots every week, we all have enough issues keeping our inboxes under control and important things could get missed. Clients need their lawyers to be thinking about them personally and individually and in particular, what practical steps they need to take for their business in response to such developments. It is a fundamental focus of ours as we continue to evolve,” says Graham.

On winning this year’s award, Graham concludes: “It makes me incredibly proud to have the global team’s hard work and dedication recognised by such a prestigious publication. But rest assured, we will not be resting on our laurels. There are many exciting projects still under construction and we look forward to continuing to grow in strength for many years to come.”

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