Citywealth speaks to David Cadin
Tell me about your role at Bedell Cristin.
I am the managing partner at Bedell Cristin, responsible for the firm as a whole across all of its offices (the BVI, Guernsey, Jersey, London and Singapore). I have been full time Managing Partner since January 2016, taking the firm through the sale of, and separation from, its trust company and implementation of its strategy as a standalone business. Part of our plan we set ourselves was to recruit a Chief Operating Officer once we had reached certain milestones, and Neil May started in that role in November 2017. That will enable me to hand over some of the management responsibilities and to go back to litigation, which I think is important not just for me personally, but also for the firm and for the Jersey Bar generally; I am also the Bâtonnier, or Head of the Bar, and I think that the Bâtonnier needs to be seen in Court regularly.
What trends do you see in the use of technology and data in litigation?
There is more data, more technology and more reliance, whether in terms of the amount of material involved in litigation cases, the use of assisted review of documents, virtual trial bundles, or streams of live transcription. The crucial skills for litigators now include an ability to manage huge volumes of information and data, much of it created after the proceedings have been instituted, in order to cut through vast swathes of irrelevant or peripherally-related material, and a knowledge of how to deploy data, and technology, offensively, such as through a beguiling simple request for a few electronic documents.
How has the private client industry changed over the last ten years?
Two words: regulation and consolidation. Over the last ten years, the private client industry has been subject to far greater scrutiny, which has led to more stringent international standards and consequential increases in regulation. Jurisdictions have responded differently, and at varying speeds, to those changing standards. This in turn has led clients to follow a flight to quality. Implementing those standards comes at a cost and it has become harder for smaller providers to operate in that market. However the returns for those who can operate successfully in that regulatory environment are excellent, and this has encouraged both consolidation and the entry of third party investors such as private equity houses.
You deal with many high-value cases. Tell us about any interesting client instructions.
We are very lucky in Jersey that we get involved in some of the most extraordinary cases. The case of the moment is Crociani & O’rs v Crociani & O’rs  JRC 146 where Bedell Cristin secured a judgment for USD200 million. The case has everything in terms of family intrigue, fine art, glamour, tax, and a defunct US law firm. A fascinating read.
Before that, I successfully defended the first defendant in probably the biggest fraud, anywhere ever, when an Italian lawyer and others tried to defraud a local bank of USD 380 billion on the back of documents allegedly signed by the Pope, Barrack Obama and the Queen…
Will Jersey benefit from Brexit?
We hope so. Jersey has never been part of the EU, so at one level, Brexit changes nothing. Jersey will continue to work with partners in all areas of the world to secure a better future for all.
What are the main challenges your clients are facing at the moment?
I think that it is difficult to identify specific, common themes in terms of challenges faced by clients. Clients like certainty, and unfortunately now is a time of great uncertainly in terms of Brexit, political and economic issues. As lawyers, all we can do is to provide certainty around their transactions and clarity in the face of opacity. Regulatory issues are always a hot topic and are showing no signs of disappearing. GDPR is just another example of where businesses need urgent assistance from lawyers.
Tell me about an achievement you are most proud of?
This is really tricky but I am going to choose my Eisteddfod certificate for improvised drum solo. Until a few years ago, I had never played a musical instrument and had certainly never composed anything. Not only did I have to compose a piece of music, but I had to play it, on stage, in public and in front of an audience. It was the most terrifying thing that I have ever done and took me completely outside my comfort zone.
What was the last book you’ve read? Tell us about it.
Sad as it may seem, I have just finished reading “Avoiding Extinction: reimagining Legal Services for the 21st Century” by Mitchell Kowalski. It is an eminently-readable, fictionalized account of a law firm, and challenges received wisdom in a whole host of areas ranging from structure, billing practices, use of information and engagement of lawyers through to succession.
What do you do to unwind?
I enjoy dinghy sailing, paddle boarding, and really anything involving the water. Even in winter.