Simmons boosts energy with Herbert Smith poach

SIMMONS & Simmons is poaching an oil and gas senior assistant from leading energy firm Herbert Smith, but is losing an equity partner to Richards Butler.

Susan Beck, who is a barrister and a solicitor and has worked in-house in the energy industry, joins Simmons' 11-partner energy group on 1 November.

Beck is the former senior international legal adviser of US energy company Atlantic Richfield, where she worked on projects in the Far East, and the former senior legal adviser for Arco British Limited, a subsidiary of Atlantic Richfield, where she advised on North Sea oil matters.

However, Simmons is losing banking and capital markets partner Gordon Stewart to Richards Butler. Stewart has specialised in debt restructuring and helped found Simmons' finance group in the 1980s, after joining from Slaughter and May in 1983.

Richards Butler is pursuing a strategy of building its practice by focusing on selected areas, including banking and insurance.

Simmons also lost telecoms partner Chris Watson to Allen & Overy last month and corporate partner Richard Allnutt to ICL in September.