Simmons & Simmons

The Legal Cheek View

These are tough times for Simmons & Simmons. After the Brexit vote the firm announced that it was to make a number of its London lawyers redundant. The news came shortly before Simmons revealed that it would be retaining just 50% of its trainees. And this figure is far from an outlier – in spring the firm hung on to just 54% of its new qualifiers. There was also bad news in June when Simmons announced that it was axing its bespoke masters in business administration course (MBA) that it used to offer to trainees in conjunction with BPP University Law School.

All firms go through difficult patches, and it’s likely that at some point Simmons will bounce back. But right now it seems an uncertain place in which to begin your career – and there must be serious doubts about the firm’s capacity to continue taking on 38 trainees each year in view of those dreadful retention results. Insiders mutter darkly about a “post Brexit austerity era”, while grumblings about some “awful” senior lawyers hint at internal tensions. It can’t help that profit per equity partner is down 10% this year from £650,000 to £585,000.

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Key Info

Training contracts 35
Latest trainee retention rate 80%
Offices 22
Countries 15
Minimum A-level requirement AAB
Minimum degree requirement 2:1

Insider Scorecard

Quality of work
Peer support
Partner approach-ability
Work/life balance
Social life
Chances of secondment abroad

Grades derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey of over 1,500 trainees and junior associates at the leading UK law firms.


Average arrival time 9:03am
Average leave time 8:11pm
Annual target hours 1,435
Annual leave 25 days


First year trainee salary £42000
Second year trainee salary £47000
Newly qualified salary £71000
Profit per equity partner £585,000
GDL grant £7,000
LPC grant £7,500

The above figures are for London. Trainees in Bristol get £37,000 in their first year and £38,000 in the second. Bristol newly qualified pay is £48,000. The firm covers the cost of future trainees’ Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and Legal Practice Course (LPC) fees, plus provides a grant of £7,000 for the GDL and £7,500 for the LPC.


UK female associates 48%
UK female partners 16%
UK BME associates Undisclosed
UK BME partners Undisclosed