Simmons corporate stars revolt against WFW deal

Opposition from a group of corporate partners at City firm Simmons & Simmons is making a merger with Watson Farley & Williams seem increasing unlikely

The stand, which emanates from a group of younger corporate partners, echoes the sentiment of many partners within the firm who question the relevance of the merger for their practice area.
Watson Farley has a high-profile asset finance practice that would fit well with Simmons' finance practice. However, it will lose a number of its high-profile corporate clients, including Vivendi and Renault, when its Paris office joins US firm Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, and the consensus is that there is little or no benefit for the corporate department.
It is understood that the merger is being pushed for by managing partner David Dickinson, who is also a debt capital markets partner, and is supported by the banking and finance practice.
A number of the practice groups at Simmons have still not met to discuss the merger. There is thought to be very little support for the plans, with most corporate partners either opposed or undecided.
Given that around a third of Simmons' partners are involved in corporate work, a successful vote would require a significant percentage of their support.
A spokesperson for Simmons said that the talks are continuing. Watson Farley declined to comment.
A merger would create a firm with over 1,000 lawyers and a turnover of £200m.