Bryan Little recently joined Ogier's dispute resolution team in Cayman. He has experience working in London, Guernsey and Cayman and studied at the Cayman Islands Law School. In this Q&A he gives insights into life and work across these different jurisdictions and his experience moving from in-house to private practice.
What was it like being a law student in Cayman?
Two of my good friends from school who were attending the Cayman Islands Law School (CILS) persuaded me to apply, and I'm glad they did. I had an outstanding experience at law school here. The small class sizes allowed me to develop superb relationships with my professors (many of whom I keep in touch with regularly to this day). I fully attribute the high quality of teaching at CILS (later renamed) to my graduating with a First Class degree. Also, the connections I made through law school, both with local firms and through Liverpool University, allowed me to get summer work experience in both Cayman and London.
The lifestyle of a full time student in the Cayman Islands is also second to none – there's a very vibrant sports community here, and the flexibility between lectures and tutorials allows you to make the most of what Cayman has to offer. There is also a relaxed and unpretentious culture on the island generally, which was great for a student! After graduating, I was straight into the BPTC in London, which I passed with a Very Competent.
You have experience living and working in London, Guernsey and Cayman – tell us more about that
The connections I made in law school helped me get a job as a paralegal at a top firm in Cayman. That experience and my unique offshore background is actually what led to me getting a first six pupillage at XXIV Old Buildings in London, widely regarded as the top set of chambers in London for offshore work. That pupillage, in turn, led me to getting a second six at Erskine Chambers, another elite set specialising in company law and insolvency. That experience was exceptional. I worked closely with top QCs on some of the most complex matters going through in the High Court.
After pupillage, I took up an offer to join a leading administrative services company in their legal and regulatory department, first in Cayman and then in London. Again, without the offshore connection, this job wouldn't have been possible. My experience as a pupil barrister and, later on, an in-house lawyer in London was great.
The move back offshore to Guernsey was a breath of fresh air though, literally. The beauty of the island is something that you stop and appreciate almost daily. The people were so friendly and welcoming and the quality of life is excellent. There are so many ways to get involved in the community as well and they really welcome new joiners to all sorts of clubs and sports teams.
The work in Guernsey was of as high a standard as that in London. The interesting difference was that we have a fused profession offshore, so you aren't in court as often and your clients are not only solicitors but also businessmen, high net worth individuals and other professionals.
And Cayman is a paradise - the work is as good you find in London and it's great fun to live here. You still work hard, but you generally have more time to spend with friends and family than you do in London. My commute to work is 10-15 minutes by car with parking in front of the office. The weather is great all year so there is lots of time spent outdoors.
How has your experience of in-house regulatory work informed your work in private practice?
Working in-house gave me a unique insight into how our clients operate, what their expectations and needs are, and what pressures they feel from onshore managers. Also, it allowed me to understand the technical language that fund managers use to describe their business. There is an entire language of finance terms that you need to interpret when sitting in meetings or reading investment reports.
Another cool element of sitting in hedge fund board meetings was hearing the diverse array of views on market trends, investments strategies and risk, and what super smart people who successfully manage hundreds of millions of dollars are planning to do with that money. I got a financial education in the course of doing my day to day job.
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