Simmons takes first step to double banking team

Simmons & Simmons has raided Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe for a new banking partner in the first strike in its drive to double the size of its banking practice.

The first new recruit in this effort to ramp up the banking team is partner Bodo Schaar, a German who joins from the London office of US firm Orrick. Schaar brings with him experience of securitisations, distressed debt and structured finance.

David Dickinson, head of international banking at Simmons, told The Lawyer that the firm wanted to grow its banking practice to twice its current size. “We do some high-quality work in our banking group, but if we want to do more of it we need more people,” he said.

Simmons currently has 10 banking partners in London, plus another eight spread across its foreign offices. Banking is dwarfed by the firm’s capital markets group, which boasts 29 partners throughout the firm. The finance group grew by 5 per cent to a global figure of £57m, with London accounting for £36m, according to figures from The Lawyer UK 100 Annual Report.

As well as boosting the banking practice in these areas, Dickinson hopes Schaar’s background will help to develop the firm’s German business. Prior to joining Orrick, Schaar was the sole securitisation partner in Allen & Overy‘s Frankfurt bureau. He has also worked for Clifford Chance in London.

Orrick confirmed Schaar’s departure but declined to comment further.