Simmons & Simmons is to open an office in Bristol in a bid to slash its fee rates.
According to managing partner Jeremy Hoyland, the office, which is slated for an autumn launch, will handle “complex legal work” where “location is not an issue for clients”.
It is expected that the office will initially handle projects, real estate and disputes work. The firm plans to have around 15 lawyers in the office at launch and, while it has asked its existing lawyers to make it known if they would like to transfer to Bristol, it is also in talks with recruitment consultants about hiring in the local market. It is expected that of the 15 lawyers, three will be partners.
Hoyland said the firm had a track record of showing it was willing to “embrace different ways of working in order to deliver greater value to our clients”, adding: ‘‘Clients quite rightly look to firms that can provide overall value. Our office in Bristol will allow us to deliver greater efficiency, while maintaining our reputation for excellence.”
The news comes after RPC launched an insurance and reinsurance Bristol base earlier this year with a team of lawyers from CMS Cameron McKenna (3 January 2012). Irwin Mitchell opened in the city in 2010 (16 February 2010).
It also comes as Bristol stalwart Osborne Clarke looks to position itself as a European firm by merging with its Spanish and Italian alliance partners, Osborne Clarke Spain and SLA Studio Legale Associato (29 March 2012). The move, said managing partner Simon Beswick, is designed to see the firm tackle more complex work (2 April 2012).
Earlier this year Simmons cut lawyers and support staff in its Abu Dhabi and Dubai offices in response to what it termed “ongoing market conditions in the Middle East” (20 January 2012).