Challenging Financial Conditions Require Specialised Advice, Reports Walkers

Walkers Expands London Team to Help Clients Navigate Volatile Market

(LAWFUEL) – Walkers, the offshore law firm of choice for financial institutions, global companies and international lawyers, announced today the addition of Linda Martin and Chinyin Lim, two highly qualified attorneys, to its London office. Ms. Martin is the new Head of Finance and Corporate for London and the Middle East and Ms. Lim will join the Finance Group as an associate. The expansion of the London team is a reflection of Walkers’ insight into the economic climate and enhances its ability to provide advice and service to clients navigating the current turbulent financial market.

The dislocation in the credit market and lack of liquidity in the financial system has resulted in very challenging conditions for financial institutions and international companies. This means that clients need highly experienced attorneys with both specialised skills and a broad understanding of global markets.

“Walkers’ clients can be sure that they are dealing with lawyers who understand transactions from their perspective and who offer sensible advice in complicated situations,” said David Whittome, Walkers’ Head of Europe, Middle East and Africa who is based in the London office. “Our senior lawyers ensure that all eventualities are covered and add value in situations that are beyond the ordinary. The current economic climate is far from ordinary and the appointments of Linda and Chinyin add another dimension to our Finance Group.”

As an example of the market shifts, Walkers has seen the emphasis move away from transactional-based instructions in the City of London in favour of more advisory work. In particular, Walkers is seeing significant restructuring and enforcement work. “Many transactions are either currently in a state of default or have required restructuring work to avoid that scenario,” said Antonia Hardy, Global Head of Finance and Corporate and a Partner in the Finance Group with Walkers in London. “When deals run into trouble Walkers can add significant value because of our level of understanding and ability to respond quickly in order to meet client expectations in difficult circumstances.”

“We expect market conditions to remain unpredictable for the next 12 months until confidence returns, although it is unclear when we will see a return to normal conditions in the credit market,” Ms. Hardy continued. “For the banks that are in a position to lend, they will need to ensure that the appropriate protections are included. The importance of robust security packages has been one of the lessons learned from the financial crisis and there is a role for specialist advice over the integrity of structures so that banks don’t get caught out.”

The seniority and depth of experience within the team is particularly suited to address the current market dynamic and has been most beneficial to Walkers’ clients. Linda Martin and Chinyin Lim follow in line with Walkers’ policy of hiring the most senior and experienced lawyers, each having more than ten years post-qualification experience (PQE). With a team of 19 lawyers, the London office is perfectly placed to provide the highly specialised advice and innovative solutions required by clients in today’s difficult market conditions.

“Like the Finance Group, we are also seeing increased demand for specialist advice pertaining to liquidity and other investor related issues within our hedge funds and private equity groups,” said Robert Duggan, Walkers’ London Head of Hedge Funds. “We expect this demand to persist as conditions in the financial markets continue to change rapidly. Hedge funds have had to deal with large scale redemption requests and funds are now taking this opportunity to revisit their documentation and structures with a view to riding out this period of volatility. The breadth and depth of experience within our team means we are particularly well placed to service these needs.”

Linda Martin brings expertise in a wide range of debt and equity capital markets transactions, structured finance, asset financing and general banking and corporate matters to the Walkers team. She joined the firm as Head of Finance and Corporate for London and the Middle East in January of this year after spending 11 years with Maples and Calder. Working initially in the Cayman Islands for four years, Ms. Martin also spent four years in Hong Kong and moved to London in 2005. Having qualified as an English solicitor in 1992, Ms. Martin worked in the London and New York offices of Clifford Chance until 1997 and has more than 16 years of experience in the capital markets and structured finance arenas. “Even in a tough market there are opportunities for a talented and dedicated team such as Walkers’.” Ms. Martin said. “I’m particularly looking forward to using my experience in Hong Kong, London and Cayman to help expand Walkers’ proven ability to offer clients counsel on a wide array of complex global issues.”

Further strengthening the Finance Group in London, Chinyin Lim will join Walkers in March. With more than seven years experience with Linklaters, Ms. Lim’s appointment will help expand this already highly experienced team. Having originally trained in Malaysia, where she was admitted in 1996, Ms. Lim has more than 13 years of PQE. “Chinyin’s work in the financial structuring group with Linklaters brings a wealth of experience in executing complex and highly structured finance transactions, encompassing a broad range of financial products,” Ms. Hardy said. “We are very excited to be bringing Chinyin on board and feel she will be a huge asset to the group.”

In the past 10 years, Walkers has built a full service office in London with seven partners and twelve associates offering finance, hedge funds, private equity and trust advice regarding the laws of the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands and Jersey. The growth of the London office complements additional expansions within the Walkers group, most recently with the announcement of its decision to open a new office in Singapore. Walkers has also expanded its Hong Kong and BVI offices in the past several months, underscoring the need for the unparalleled skills the firm offers.

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