Local law firm Brooks & Brooks,
founded by Sheridan Brooks, the first female attorney and Caymanian to open a
legal practice in the Cayman Islands, celebrated its 20th anniversary on 23
“I started out with government
after I qualified, first as Crown Counsel and then I went on to become legal
draftsman,” Ms Brooks recalled. During her time in government she received
encouragement from a lot of people to go it on her own. Initially she did not
decide which area of law she was going to practise, Ms Brooks said. “It was
more likely to be criminal because I had done a quite a bit of criminal law
when I was with the prosecution, but I was fortunate enough to be appointed
secretary to the Constitutional Review Commission, who came on about two months
after I opened.”
This covered most of the work Ms
Brooks was doing before her practice branched out into many different types of
“I still do different types of law,
but I think we are regarded more as a matrimonial practice,” she said. “But if
there are ancillary problems that our clients have, such as traffic, we do that
Looking back over the past 20 years
Ms Brooks noted that her profession has changed a lot. After qualifying as a
barrister in England, everybody in the profession was very friendly, very
supportive and very helpful, she said.
However, with an increase in the
size of the profession and economic pressures, relationships with fellow
attorneys have become much more competitive, she said. In addition, the
workload has increased significantly, in particular in family law. “This
economy is not conducive to relationships developing because there is a lot of
pressure, tension and stress financially,” she noted.
From starting out on her own with
her sisters filling in for her whenever she was in court or unavailable, the
firm had to evolve in line with the increase in demand for Ms Brooks’ work.
“The firm was growing and I needed
additional attorneys,” she said. Right now Brooks & Brooks has three
Taking on new attorneys also
represented the main highlights in the gradual, organic growth of the firm.
“Bringing on new people has been
both a euphoric experience for me, but at the same time very challenging,” Ms
Brooks said. “Because it is very difficult to anticipate whether relationships
will work out or not.” Fortunately, it worked out for her firm, she said, and
helped create “a nice and friendly environment”.
Currently Brooks & Brooks is
the only all-female firm on island. “But that is not intentional,” she said.
“We have had men work here before, but at present it is just women,”
Overall the first 20 years of her
firm have been quite even, Ms Brooks noted, and this steady, even development
is also the direction she would like her firm to take in the future.