Simmons off-loads charities practice

Simmons & Simmons is abandoning its highly-regarded charities practice to south-east firm Stone King, saying that it is not profitable enough.

Rated team leader Robert Meakin is relocating to the London office of 10-partner Stone King after he was asked by Simmons to find an alternative practice which was not a competitor.

Meakin is joining Stone King as a partner. He is currently an assistant at Simmons. His clients include major charities such as Scope, the Tate Gallery and Children in Crisis.

Simmons will refer all its charities work to Stone King, and charities that demand corporate advice will be referred back to Simmons.

Meakin says: “Simmons told me that it had taken an economic decision to discontinue the charities practice and I was invited to identify a firm with a strong reputation in charity law which wasn't a natural competitor to Simmons' core practice.

“I knew Stone King and that was quite acceptable to Simmons so the position is that the charity practice is being relocated.”

Simmons managing partner David Dickinson says: “We conduct a review of our business from time to time and we believe that our charity practice is better off in a firm that focuses on charity.

“It's not core to our business. The group is profitable, but not by our benchmarks.”

Allen & Overy and Linklaters have strong charity teams. A&O head of charities Peter Mimpriss says: “We have a practice which is expanding.

“The charity sector is booming and a lot of the major operating charities are enormous.

“The scale of what they do means they have extremely complex issues and need big firms to do the work.”