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When Simmons & Simmons revealed in June that it had boosted its average profit per equity partner (PEP) by 20 per cent, smashing its £600,000 target by £47,000, we all wondered just how the firm had done it (TheLawyer.com, 30 June).
This week’s announcement goes some way to answering that question.
As managing partner Mark Dawkins explains, the firm has spent three years and some £25m on reviewing its internal systems to slash costs (20 October).
This efficiency drive included handing P45s to 12 secretaries and eight IT staff over the three years. Continuing in the same vein this year, the firm has made eight lawyers redundant across its practice groups.
Or, as a spokesman somewhat opaquely put it, eight have left “by mutual consent”. As this number did not include those who left to join other firms, we can safely assume that Simmons wasn't begging them to stay. A redundancy by any other name…
But fair play to the firm for fessing up. Simmons has never been shy about making difficult decisions in pursuit of profits. In 2004, when its PEP was stalling at £275,000 the firm axed 11 partners to stop the rot. It was a ruthless but entirely necessary move. And it worked.
Simmons PEP is now the benchmark for mid-market firms.
The current crop of partners must be hoping the latest cull is enough to see the firm through what is likely to be a tough few months.