Gibraltar: Global Recognition For Hassans And James Levy
Last Updated: 1 July 2008

In an event unique in Gibraltar’s legal history, Hassans, Gibraltar’s largest law firm, in May this year achieved a double accolade. At an impressive ceremony in Barcelona the firm’s Senior Partner James Levy QC received a Life Time Achievement Award – a singular recognition from Chambers & Partners in conjunction with Lex Mundi.

At the same time Hassans was one of 6 firms nominated for recognition as the best of the world’s off-shore law firms, the only Gibraltar firm ever to receive such a nomination. Just to be nominated for this award – which measures achievement and standing against that of all the hundreds of legal firms in the world’s major offshore centres – is in itself singular recognition. The awards are based not only on Chambers’ assessments, but those of the world’s largest international association of independent lawyers, as well as the opinions of the firms’ peers and clients.

The firm was established in 1939 by Sir Joshua Hassan - Chief Minister and political leader of Gibraltar for 40 years and a towering figure in the Rock’s progress towards democracy and self-government - its present stature, both locally and internationally, derives in large measure from the efforts of James Levy QC.

An Honours graduate from Manchester University, Levy attended the Council of Legal Education in London and joined Sir Joshua in 1972 immediately after being admitted to the Bar. At the time the firm operated from two rooms in Horse Barrack Lane where the two lawyers, Sir Joshua and James Levy, shared a single secretary, and when the two were joined by a third lawyer, Tony Provasoli, workspace was made for the newcomer by placing a collapsible card table in the reception area of the practice.

Today the firm employs 80 lawyers of whom 24 are partners. Levy, who took silk in 2002, advises large public companies on mergers and acquisitions and property companies on acquisitions throughout Europe. For many years he has been prominent in helping develop the jurisdiction as a finance centre. This included leading the drafting teams on anti-money laundering, banking, insurance, financial services, tax and trust legislation.

He is the only lawyer in Gibraltar to have been rated "Star Performer" by Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 for 3 years in a row and Chambers and Partners had previously included Levy in their one-off listing of the “Top 100 Lawyers in the World”.

Though rooted in Gibraltar, the firm has an international clientele, which it continues to develop. The firm has links with all the major London, Continental, US and Israeli law firms and approximately three-quarters of its work is related to international clients. Many of these will have been consulted by Chambers in assessing its decision to include it in the select few considered for the award as the world’s best offshore law firm. Despite all this, Levy spends at least 20% of this time on pro bono Gibraltar legal work for people of all walks of life that need his advice.

The firm's international clients come above all from the US, the UK, Israel and continental Europe. They include major multinationals, global banks, building societies and high net worth individuals from around the globe.

Over the years strong links have also therefore been formed with major multinationals, financial institutions, banks, legal and accountancy firms throughout the world. Gibraltar's status within the European Union is often a significant factor in attracting such institutions and businesses to it.

Hassans provides a full range of legal services for clients whether these are small businesses, private individuals or major multinationals. It advises corporate clients working in or through Gibraltar (and indeed internationally with no Gibraltar aspect) on a wide variety of cross-border transactions and financing structures. Other matters handled include international corporate restructures, joint ventures, M&A and corporate franchising, tax and ecommerce.

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