Simmons & Simmons slashes London lawyer headcount

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By Thomas Connelly on

All is not well at the top City player


International giant Simmons & Simmons is to make lawyer redundancies at its London headquarters.

The international law firm — which has long enjoyed a strong City presence — is believed to be giving a number of real estate specialists the boot. While some reports suggest the shake-up will affect up to ten lawyers, Legal Cheek understands the actual number is in single figures.

A spokesperson for the City player has said:

We can confirm that the firm is making a very small number of roles redundant at this time. I’m afraid we’re unable to provide any further details.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first indication that all is not well at Simmons.

Just last month the outfit confirmed that profit per equity partner (PEP) had slid by 10%, £650,000 to £585,000, over the last financial year. Net profit also took a hit, dropping by 6.2%. The firm’s managing partner Jeremy Hoyland claimed escalating costs — including lawyers’ salaries — were to blame for the slump.

Meanwhile, in June the firm announced future trainees will not be able to take advantage of its bespoke masters in business administration course (MBA). The “full cost” of the course — which was launched in 2009 and operated in conjunction with BPP Law School — was covered by the firm, who also provided a maintenance grant of £15,000 to cover “living expenses”.

Last, but by no means least, there was the Simmons’ spring retention saga. The firm trumpeted a mediocre retention rate of 78%, because seven out of nine trainees were kept on board. However, it has since been suggested the City outfit actually started with 13 newbies. If true, this would equate to a spring 2016 retention figure of just 54%.

And if all that wasn’t enough, it would appear that the post-referendum financial downturn has come at the worst possible time for Simmons.

With lawyer pay packets already frozen at Berwin Leighton Paisner, Addleshaw Goddard and Gowlings WLG, Legal Cheek speculates whether more redundancies and pay freezes are likely to follow.