With international business and cross-border transactions increasing dramatically, a partner in a Bahamian law firm said it is critical for local attorneys to keep pace with legal precedence, trends and changes in other jurisdictions.
Fresh from attending the International Lawyers Network (ILN) 2013 conference in Miami, Halsbury Chambers partner Nerissa Greene said issues of taxation, employment, energy and natural resources – once thought to be local – have such global repercussions today that attorneys who practice in the Bahamas need to keep abreast of evolving trends.
“It is no longer a luxury to remain abreast of changing judicial precedent, practices and procedures in other parts of the world; it is essential,” said Ms Greene, who specialises in real estate, conveyancing, family law and civil and corporate law.
“As responsible legal advisors and consultants, we must be 110 per cent current with the ever-evolving face of law.”
Although much of the conference focused on energy production and dissemination, including issues related to natural gas and fracking, the value of seeing how fast law was being created in new fields could not be underestimated, Ms Greene said.
“I think there is a misconception among the general public that law is static, that it’s what is written in those leather-bound books that dominate law libraries. The reality is that while principles largely remain constant, nuances in the law change with great frequency, and the procedural matters, evidentiary requirements, standards are always under scrutiny and can flip with a single case that sets new precedent,” she added.
Ms Greene said attending the ILN 2013 conference also allowed her to network with attorneys from Asia, the US, Canada, Latin America and Europe. Membership in the ILN is limited and by invitation only.
Halsbury Chambers is the official Bahamas member of the association of 91 full-service law firms with more than 5,000 lawyers world-wide. The ILN provides clients with easily accessible legal services in 67 countries on six continents.
“As attorneys, particularly in civil matters, we represent clients who may have interests in multiple jurisdictions, so whether those clients are individuals or large enterprises, we need to be prepared to advise them appropriately because they may be comparing doing business in the Bahamas with doing business elsewhere,” said Ms Greene, “and that counsel can range from employment to taxation matters.”