“You die and go to heaven, I will stay here in Bermuda” – Mark Twain.
Bermuda is self-governing British Overseas Territory in the western North Atlantic Ocean. It is an archipelago of 7 main islands and situated about 650 miles east of Cape Hatteras (North Carolina, U.S.). It is not part of the Caribbean as is commonly mistaken. Bermuda is a thriving financial centre, with one of the highest GDP’s in the world.
Bermuda is ideally located between Europe and the United States. It offers a convenient time zone, 4 hours behind London and 1 hour ahead of New York and Toronto, and provides easy access to major airports on both sides of the Atlantic.
As one of the world’s leading Insurance/Reinsurance and financial centres, with the captive insurance sector being the largest in the world, Bermuda is also a jurisdiction of choice for funds, asset finance and for incorporating global companies seeking to list on internationally recognised stock exchanges.
The law firms in Bermuda tend to focus on:
- Banking & finance
- Investment funds
- Commercial dispute resolution
- Insolvency & restructuring
- Financial services regulatory
- Private wealth
Salaries range from US$150,000 for a lawyer with four years’ PQE, to US$250,000 for senior associates. Partners’ profits are also comparable to US law firms. There are no income taxes in Bermuda but there is a small payroll tax of around 5%.
As with Cayman and BVI, you need a work permit to work as a lawyer in Bermuda. To obtain this you will need to be admitted in a Commonwealth jurisdiction as Bermuda law is common law.
Bermuda has a very high standard of living with a well-established infrastructure and a high standard of schooling and healthcare. There are a number of excellent sports facilities, including golf clubs and a rugby club which hosts players from around the world at the annual Bermuda Classic rugby tournament.
Accommodation is slightly more expensive than London, with most people renting. However, the commute times are minimal and the cost of other items, such as groceries compares favourably to onshore centres. The quality of work and shorter working hours make Bermuda one of the best locations in the world to practice law.