Grapevine

The past 18 months have not been kind to Simmons & Simmons. Falling profits, partner de-equitisations, a racial discrimination case… you couldn’t make it up.

The one bright spot for Simmons was its leading position in the accelerated IPO market, for which it gained prominence on the back of last May’s Northumbrian Water deal.

The City firm’s corporate department has successfully leveraged off Northumbrian Water for the last year, using it to open doors at a clutch of financial institutions such as Deutsche Bank and ABN Amro’s broking arm Hoare Govett.

Unfortunately, it has emerged today (25 August) that Steve Bryan, the partner who led the Northumbrian Water deal, is leaving for Lovells.

Okay, so Bryan didn’t do the technical drafting on the accelerated IPO, and yes the firm’s relationships with the likes of Northumbrian Water and Deutsche Bank are institutionalised.

But the loss of Bryan is a major psychological blow for Simmons. He was an excellent technical lawyer and it should be a concern that he decided to leave now, while riding high on the back of a hell of year.

If this wasn’t bad enough, it also emerged today that Simmons has lost two other partners – both leaders of its London and New York IP departments no less.

UK-based Helen Newman and New York’s Christopher Woods have both been wooed by US firm Kilpatrick Stockton.

Just how many body blows can one firm possibly take?

On a lighter note, it’s nearly time for The Lawyer UK100 Annual Report.

To be exact, on 6 September, over 130 pages of glittering nuggets of gold will drop into the laps of lawyers up and down the country.

Jam-packed with figures, analysis, charts, graphs and the like, it’s a veritable torrent of everything you wanted to know about law firms but were afraid to ask.

You can marvel at Clyde & Co and Barlow Lyde & Gilbert, where revenues over the past five years have increased by 55 per cent and 53 per cent respectively.

You can gasp as you also read that profits at these two firms have shot up by 66 per cent and by 81 per cent over the five years.

And you can scratch your head in wonderment at the results from one or two firms, which have frankly been having a little bit too much fun with the office abacus.

It’s all in there – so run like the wind and grab your copy fast.