Chambers Global 2018: (The Bahamas)
Lennox Paton has been rated Band 1 as a firm by Chambers Global for the Bahamas. We are the only law firm in the Bahamas to have a Band 1 rated attorney in each of our main practice groups: Brian Simms QC (Litigation and Dispute Resolution), Michael Paton (Financial Services) and David Johnstone (Real Estate).
On Lennox Paton: BAND 1
“Lennox Paton has long established itself as a key player in the market, noted for its wide- reaching corporate and commercial practice. The team is experienced advising on an array of offshore, corporate restructuring, financing and estate-planning matters.
The firm also maintains its strong reputation in dispute resolution, handling big-ticket, cross- border litigation and arbitration cases on behalf of international corporations, regional public entities and major financial institutions.
Market sources value the team’s knowledgeable and attentive nature, with one stating: “I love the fact that they are very client-focused and attuned to our priorities.”
On Brian Simms QC (Bahamas, Head of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice Group) BAND 1:
“Senior partner Brian Simms QC remains “highly regarded” in the market, with peers highlighting his formidable depth of knowledge and experience. One source also remarked upon his “clear and robust” style, noting that “when it came to the trial he was very good.” He has acted in a number of high-value asset recovery and trust litigation cases.”
On Michael Paton (Bahamas, Head of the Financial Service Practice Group) BAND 1:
“Michael Paton remains a “key player” at the firm, and receives particular acclaim for his trusts and investment funds work. Market sources praise his combination of “real-world experience” and “very creative” approach.”
On David Johnstone (Bahamas, Head of the Real Estate and Resort Development, and Private Client Practice Groups) BAND 1:
“David Johnstone heads the firm’s real estate practice, covering resort development, secured financing and commercial lease transactions. A large part of his practice involves advising high net worth private clients. Interviewees value him as “a really intelligent lawyer” and “one of the top conveyancers in the country.”
On Scott Cruickshank (BVI, Managing Partner and Head of Litigation) BAND 3
Scott Cruickshank is managing partner of Lennox Paton’s BVI office, having been based in the jurisdiction since 2008. Peers in the market regard him as a “very nice guy” with “a sensible head” on his shoulders. His expertise spans shareholder disputes, asset tracing cases and high-value trust disputes, in addition to commercial litigation.
On Michelle Neville-Clarke (Bahamas, Financial Services) BAND 3
Michelle Neville-Clarke‘s practice covers a range of work, including banking and finance, corporate law, M&A, investment funds and employment. She is regarded as a “very good funds lawyer” by market sources.
Christopher Jenkins (Bahamas, Litigation and Dispute Resolution) BAND 3
Christopher Jenkins is particularly noted for his expertise in insolvency, shareholder and construction disputes. Interviewees highlight him as a responsive and “very good younger lawyer.”
Sophia Rolle-Kapousouzoglou (Bahamas, Litigation and Dispute Resolution) UP AND COMING
“Rising star” Sophia Rolle-Kapousouzoglou has a growing reputation in the field of insolvency litigation. She impresses sources as a “solid lawyer” with an industrious approach to the work she takes on.
Chambers High Net Worth Guide 2018 (The Bahamas)
The HNW Guide is a new publication focusing purely on Private Wealth. As a firm Lennox Paton has been graded Band 2.
On Lennox Paton:
“Lennox Paton’s trust and foundations group represents individual clients and institutions, and provides sophisticated estate planning solutions. The firm has an international client base, with clients from Latin America and Europe, and increasingly from the Far East.
Lennox Paton is also noted for its “very strong litigation practice“. The firm’s litigators deal with trust disputes between beneficiaries and trust companies, and applications to update and amend trusts.”
On Brian Simms QC:
“Brian Simms QC has an excellent reputation as a litigator in the Bahamas. He is a “very experienced, very capable” trusts litigation specialist, an interviewee notes. Simms is the firm’s senior partner and heads its litigation group. Described as “very thorough,“ he represents trustees and beneficiaries, and has extensive experience with multi-jurisdictional cases.”
On Michael Paton:
“Michael Paton handles non-contentious trusts work at Lennox Paton. He focuses on advisory work for private clients and trust companies. Described as “very experienced” and “very knowledgeable”, he is a non-practising qualified CPA. Sources also highlight his speciality in investment funds matters.”
Global Restructuring Review 100, 2017
The GRR 100, is an annual guide to the world’s leading law firms for cross-border restructuring and insolvency matters. After months of extensive research, The GRR selected a group of firms from around the world who we can verify are able to handle cross-border restructurings and insolvencies, and related matters such as sovereign debt crises. Lennox Paton were selected for The Bahamas.
The firm plays a major role in building up Bahamian cross-border laws – and is instructed in all of the Bahamas’ largest cross-border cases Global head of restructuring and insolvency Brian Simms QC
History of the practice
Offshore firm Lennox Paton is a dominating force in insolvency across the Caribbean, particularly in the Bahamas, where it has done much work towards developing the island’s restructuring laws and setting valuable precedents, both in cross-border and domestic cases.
In the 2000s the firm, led by division head Brian Simms QC, spent much of its time on creditor-side roles in large international fraud cases. More recently, Lennox Paton partners (particularly those in the Bahamas), have found themselves arguing in court over cross-border ideology. As result, the firm has played a major role in bringing the cross-border provisions of the Bahamas up to speed with other prominent offshore jurisdictions.
The firm has restructuring partners planted in each of its three offices in the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and London. Simms leads the division from his seat in the Bahamas.
Who uses it?
Lennox Paton regularly represents liquidators, often appointed by foreign courts, on the hunt for assets in the firm’s home Caribbean jurisdictions.
Historic track record
The firm’s most significant historic cases include advising various offshore investment funds in the 2009 Madoff liquidation, and guiding pan-Caribbean investment fund Moore Park Fund in its liquidation in the Bahamas and the BVI in 2007.
From 2006 to 2008, the firm also advised the receivers of the Grand Bahama Port Authority in the bankruptcy of Freeport, the second largest port in the Bahamas.
In mid-2015, judges in the Supreme Court of the Bahamas refused to recognise the Chapter 11 proceedings of the US$3.5 billion hotel and casino complex Baha Mar, exposing a lacuna in Bahamian legislation, which left courts unable to recognise foreign proceedings without a pre-designated list of accepted jurisdictions.
The same issue arose again less than a year later, foiling the efforts of Cayman court-appointed liquidators working to trace the assets of a collapsed Cayman bank, Caledonian Bank. Partner Sophia Rolle- Kapousouzoglou worked for the applicants in both cases, and later assisted the Bahamian Liquidation Rules Committee in crafting a list of 142 jurisdictions whose insolvency proceedings Bahamian courts could recognise. With Rolle-Kapousouzoglou still representing the Cayman liquidators, the Bahamian court would later readdress the Caledonian bank proceedings, granting access to the bank’s assets.
In the British Virgin Islands, associates acting for four entities of distressed Chinedse industrial fishing group China Fisheries. In December 2016, the four companies fail to postpone their liquidation in the BVI after creditors filed winding up petitions against them.
Simms and Rolle-Kapousouzouglou also represented Bermuda based ZCM Asset Holding, a share custodian to a Bahamian mutual fund company, in a court case that led to a decision granting permission to a Bahamian liquidator to serve a summons out-of jurisdiction for the recovery of alleged fraudulent preferences.