The British Virgin Islands
The BVI are a group of islands and are a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean, to the east of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and north-west of Anguilla. There are no direct flights to BVI from the UK, instead you need to change in San Juan, Antigua or Barbados. The capital and main commercial hub, Road Town, is situated on Tortola, the largest island which is approximately 20 km (12 mi) long and 5 km (3 mi) wide.
Amongst its idyllic islands, the BVI boasts a wealth of national parks, with stunning scenery and tranquil beaches. The landscape shifts from towering mountains to remote coves, all encased by the crystal-clear waters of the Western Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
The law firms in BVI tend to focus on:
- Corporate & private equity
- Banking & finance
- Investment funds
- Commercial dispute resolution
- Insolvency & restructuring
- Financial services regulatory
Salaries for lawyers are very reasonable ranging from around US$115,000 at the junior level to $200,000 at the more senior associate levels. Bonuses are very good and firms will pay for relocation costs and flights to assist in your move.
Personal tax is only 8% and the cost of living is slightly cheaper than London, so disposable income is much higher than onshore.
To work as a lawyer in the BVI you need to be qualified as lawyer (solicitor or barrister) in England & Wales. All the other commonwealth qualifications alone are insufficient, although dual qualifications are recognised. At present there is no minimum level of experience required although in practice firms will only be interested in lawyers with at least 1-2 years’ PQE. The majority of lawyers will have at some point worked in leading international law firms or barrister’s chambers in London and these tend to be where the firms focus their recruitment efforts.
The BVI is a sailor’s paradise and the islands are rugged and mountainous. The Islands boast some of the best diving and snorkelling opportunities in the world along with other first-rate water-based activities including windsurfing, kite-boarding and fishing and plenty of land-based sports as well. The BVI truly represents an unrivalled work/life balance opportunity for a London City lawyer.