In October 2018, the two legal professional associations in the Cayman Islands, the Cayman Islands Law Society and the Caymanian Bar Association, merged to form the Cayman Islands Legal Practitioners Association (CILPA). Spencer Vickers recently sat down with David Collins (Interim President) and Erik Bodden (Interim Treasurer) of CILPA to discuss what this new association means for the Cayman Islands and the Cayman Islands legal community.

The formation of CILPA marks the first time that the legal profession in the Cayman Islands is represented by a single, unified and inclusive body. The 2019 Grand Court Opening highlighted the importance of CILPA and its potential to bring together the legal community. CILPA’s responsibilities will include supporting lawyers in an increasingly complex regulatory environment, advocating on behalf of sole practitioners and small firms and ensuring the continued strength of the Cayman legal product on the global stage.

Establishment of CILPA

As a new association, CILPA is still taking its first steps. A substantial amount of work is underway to build an association aimed at delivering great value to lawyers, clients and to the Cayman Islands community.

Without taking the time to pause and reflect, it is easy to overlook the substantial growth of the Cayman Islands legal profession over recent years. As the legal profession has grown and matured, legal products have become more sophisticated and complex. As the Cayman Islands financial services industry has evolved and responded to global developments, more regulations and more laws have been enacted. Just as each Cayman Islands lawyer has had to adapt to these changes, so too does the legal profession itself and the association which represents it.

CILPA not only marks the merging of two legal associations, but it represents a transition from associations run solely on the (substantial) goodwill of their key volunteers to a professional independent organisation. While volunteer help will, of course, still be required, the Interim Council is developing plans for CILPA to operate as an independent industry body with its own budget, office and full-time staff. These necessary developments will give CILPA the capability to achieve CILPA’s aspirations for a thriving self-regulated legal profession, to support the development of Caymanian lawyers within law firms, to strengthen the local economy and to enable the Cayman Islands to reach new levels of prominence as the leading offshore financial services centre.

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This article was first published in Cayman Financial Review.

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