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Growth of and consolidation amongst the offshore legal firms in the first quarter of 2010 has been dramatic.

First there was news on January 11 that Appleby were to open a Guernsey office through the hiring of a four-strong team from the leading Guernsey practice Ozannes, thereby giving Appleby a presence in both of the Channel Islands.

Just a week later on January 18 it was revealed that another of the Offshore Magic Circle firms, Conyers Dill & Pearman, also intends to establish a presence in Guernsey this year, whether by merger, acquisition or building an office from scratch.

Just 2 weeks after that it was announced on February 1 that Ozannes and a third member of the Offshore magic Circle, Mourant du Feu & Jeune, intended to merge with effect from 1st May, thus creating the third largest offshore law firm in the world and propelling it above Walkers, Conyers, Ogier and Carey Olsen.

Meanwhile The Lawyer’s Offshore Survey 2010 revealed that Appleby has now become the largest offshore firm in the world in terms of partner numbers, taking over the number one slot from Maples & Calder for the first time in the three years that the Survey has been published. With 74 partners and 207 lawyers, it is now akin in size to a top 50 UK firm.

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