A suite of legal and financial solutions
INNOVATION PROFILE Walkers Ireland:IN JUST TWO years, Walkers Ireland has established a strong presence in Dublin offering a complete suite of legal and Irish tax advisory solutions and global corporate and special purpose vehicle management services for clients across the financial services sector.
“We operate across a broad range of practice areas, including corporate, funds, structured finance and asset finance,” explains managing partner Vicki Hazelden. “Dublin is a sophisticated and attractive market. We offer a complete one-stop shop for our clients and a wide range of options for structuring financial services.”
Dublin is the latest location for the fast growing firm which has expanded from its original Cayman Islands base to establish offices in the British Virgin Islands, Delaware, Dubai, Hong Kong, Jersey, London and Singapore, employing 500 staff over the past 11 years.
The company provides legal and management services to Fortune 100 and FTSE 100 corporations and financial institutions, capital markets participants, investment fund managers and middle market companies.
The move into Ireland came as a result of a regular partners’ discussion on the firm’s next steps. “We have regular partners’ retreats where we go away to a hotel somewhere for a weekend to discuss strategy and so on,” says Hazelden. “Back towards the end of 2009 we were talking about where the firm was going next – would it be Luxembourg, Mauritius or some other country?
“Ireland was widely debated and the view was that what our clients were looking for in the post-crisis environment was what Ireland can offer in terms of funds, private equity, hedge funds, structured finance, insolvency and corporate recovery and so on. These were all areas that were a good fit for us and Ireland.”
Things moved fast from there. “Walkers doesn’t mess about”, she adds. “That meeting was in October, 2009, and by March of 2010 we were in the Westbury Hotel interviewing for senior roles in the new operation in Dublin. We had to hire people at the very top of their game in the different specialisms we operate in. We had to get the leading lights in those areas and that meant recruiting really good people. They are very hard to get; it wasn’t easy but it is something we managed to do.”
The Irish practice was grown organically, from the top down. “We are very happy with where we have ended up as a result of that process,” Hazelden notes. “That’s how we created the practice here; we started at the top and let the senior partner build the team. We will shortly have 30 lawyers in the practice after just two years – that makes us the fastest growing law firm in the country.”