Maples and Calder has added four lawyers to its Hong Kong office as part of a growth push that is transforming the firm from a Cayman legal adviser to a comprehensive offshore outfit. In just the last year it has added the British Virgin Islands and Jersey to its offshore capabilities, and these new arrivals take the office headcount to 17 fee-earners.

Barry Mitchell transfers from the Road Town office and will head up the firm's BVI practice in Asia. Jos Briggs, a corporate specialist, joins from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Singapore, Vivian Loke, a securitization and structured finance specialist, joins from Simmons & Simmons, and Alex Last, a hedge fund specialist, joins from Freshfields in London.

This recent intake follows two appointments in the summer. The firm's expansion in Hong Kong reflects a wider consolidation trend in the offshore legal services industry. Like their onshore counterparts before them, offshore firms are now developing into multi-jurisdictional practices. Maples' Cayman rival Walker set the ball rolling when it opened in BVI two years ago. Since then other firms in the Carribean and also those in the Channel Islands have been building cross-border practices.

Just last month Maples and Calder moved into BVI through the acquisition of Smith-Hughes, Raworth & McKenzie. Mitchell was a partner in this firm prior to the merge.