From kitchen table to Campbells firm

An English judge who decided to be
difficult one day in November 1966 helped send Bruce David Campbell to the
Cayman Islands.

The normal procedure was for
lawyers to rise and ask for their matters to be called. This judge, however,
decided he would deal with matters as they appeared on the list, whether defendants
were represented or not. Mr. Campbell rose and asked if he might call on a
case; he was told no, in no uncertain terms.

Instead of fuming, he borrowed a
colleague’s copy of the Law Society Gazette. And there it was — a listing in
the Cayman Islands under “Situations Vacant”. Arrangements took time and
included a four-day stop in Jamaica so he could be admitted as a solicitor in
that jurisdiction, which then covered Cayman. By January 1968 he had joined
William S. Walker and Co. “I was the Co.,” he joked.

By late 1970 he was ready to be on
his own. His first office was the kitchen table in his home in Bodden Town.
John Morgan, general manager at Royal Bank of Canada, offered him a room in the
A.L. Thompson Building in George Town that was available because a bank client
had paid the rent and then cancelled his plans. Mr. Morgan also gave him three
companies to form, “so in my first month I made a profit.”

Eventually he set up offices in the
old Bay View Hotel.

Primarily a litigation lawyer, he
joined the late Jim Bodden, who was then involved in real estate. “Before the
Registered Land Law of 1973, land titles were in a terrible state because of so
many informal dealings that couldn’t be proved,” Mr. Campbell said.  After the law was passed, a cadastral survey
was done and an adjudicator was appointed who settled claims with common sense
justice, he noted.

By this time he had taken on a
partner, Haydn Rutter. They were later joined by Peter Kandiah and Ian
Falconer. The next move for Bruce Campbell and Co. was to the top floor of the
ScotiaBank Building, where the firm remains. Mr. Campbell retired in 1978.

The firm now has six partners and
11 associates.

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