Simmons & Simmons
UK Top 200 position: 14
The 2011–12 financial year proved a promising start to Jeremy Hoyland and Colin Passmore’s respective tenures as managing partner and senior partner at Simmons & Simmons. Fee income rose, if only a little, for the first time since 2008–09, going up by 3.6 per cent to £251.7m.
Average profit per equity partner jumped almost 15 per cent, from £460,000 to £528,000. The rise in turnover was down to winning market share, according to Hoyland, while the profit jump was more about managing costs.
The firm’s litigation team had a good year in 2011–12, acting for banks and other institutions, although the practice still plays second fiddle to finance, which accounts for 37.6 per cent of revenue, compared with the dispute team’s 31.6 per cent. Continental Europe — in particular Italy, the Netherlands and Spain — was the strongest-performing region, while in the UK a small rise in finance and a marginal drop in corporate resulted in a slight rise in domestic fee income.
The firm has a demonstrable commitment to diversity and in January 2013 consolidated its position in LGB charity Stonewall’s annual rankings of the most gay-friendly employers, improving from 10th place in 2012 to ninth — the highest-ever position achieved by a law firm.
Despite focusing on keeping down costs, Simmons & Simmons continued to bring in lateral hires. Most notably, it hired seven partners over the course of the year from Berwin Leighton Paisner — a five-partner finance team in May 2011 and two single partner hires. The firm also made up 10 partners from the ranks in 2012, eight of which were based in London.
Hoyland says the large number of London-based promotions, which went against the grain of the market, was an anomaly, however, and that there is no conscious plan to expand in the City at a faster rate than anywhere else.
When Hoyland and Passmore took over, they said that they were going to be stricter on under-performing partners — one reason perhaps that the average number of partners at Simmons & Simmons during the course of 2011–12 was 203, down from 208 in 2010–11.
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