Simmons & Simmons last year paid a number of junior equity partners significantly less than their salaried counterparts at the firm.
For 2003-04, the firm’s bottom of equity was officially £140,000.
This amount was paid to well-performing junior partners, as it depends on a merit-based element. Some Simmons’ junior equity partners even took home as much as £200,000 after a stellar year at the firm. However, without the merit element, junior partner pay amounted to as little as £90,000, significantly below top-earning salaried partners at Simmons, who are paid only slightly less than the £140,000 enjoyed by top performing junior equity partners.
Salaried partner remuneration at the firm varies enormously because of anomalous individually negotiated salaried packages at the top end.
Simmons declined to comment on remuneration, but one source said that the situation was only temporary and claimed that as the firm improves its profitability, the issue will disappear.
Simmons is fighting to improve a three-year profit slide and is also facing a race discrimination claim from a senior equity partner Robert Schon.
In the last financial year, Simmons’ profits per equity partner fell by 8.3 per cent to £275,000. The firm announced a drastic de-equitisation programme in April, under which it will tackle underperformers by culling 12 per cent of its London partners.
Simmons has also introduced billable hours targets of 1,700 hours a year for assistants.