Better by a West Country mile

Simmons boss says his firm’s out-of-Town offering is in a different league

Which is the odd one out? Allen & Overy’s Belfast office, Berwin Leighton Paisner’s Manchester base or Simmons & Simmons’ Bristol arm? 

Simmons managing partner Jeremy Hoyland is adamant it is the latter. The firm launched in Bristol in 2012 in the midst of an outsourcing trend that saw Ashurst and Herbert Smith Freehills set up regional offices geared towards their back-office functions.

But, Hoyland claims, Simmons’ West Country offering is a different kettle of fish – a partner-led second office in the regions. 

“It’s different to other low-cost centres, except perhaps Hogan Lovells in Birmingham,” he says. “They’re focused on commoditised work and outsourcing to paralegals. We’re partner-led, and are exploiting efficiencies between London salaries and costs in Bristol.” 

Only two of the firm’s five partners transferred from its City base; the others came from Bristol rivals Osborne Clarke and Burges Salmon. New funds partner Mahrie Webb arrived from the latter just last week. Last week the firm also announced the hire of a seventh in the form of DLA Piper technology and outsourcing partner Hinal Patel. It is thought there are more on the cards. 

“We want to bring in specialists, and as we grow the range of work we offer increases,” says Hoyland. “Our corporate/commercial division will have an ICT practice to do some outsourcing work from the Bristol cost base.” 

With 34 lawyers and 27 support staff, the firm has just arranged to take on a new floor in its Temple Quay building. The Bristol base is one to watch in 2014/15.