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Simmons & Simmons will ditch its single-office Dutch strategy later this year by moving its finance group to Amsterdam.
The decision had still to be ratified at the firm's partnership meeting on 9 March as The Lawyer went to press. But the mood among Dutch Simmons partners is that a move to the Netherlands' capital is required.
"In the financial services arena, the gut feeling is you need to be in Amsterdam," said one Rotterdam-based partner. "Whether that idea is supported by the whole partnership will be seen this afternoon [9 March]."
The move would be highly symbolic. Simmons merged with Rotterdam firm Nolst Trenité in 2002 and has until now been committed to a single-office strategy.
But the recent moves of domestic Dutch giants De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek and Nauta Dutilh to respectively close and downsize their Rotterdam offices to the benefit of Amsterdam will have put additional pressure on Simmons to do likewise.
Simmons managing partner Mark Dawkins said the firm did not want to pre-judge the outcome of the partnership vote, but said there was an "increasing demand from the marketplace" for an Amsterdam presence. "We remain fully committed to our Rotterdam office," he added.
Simmons' Rotterdam office has 35 partners and around 180 legal staff in total. A team of five partners - four from finance and one from tax - will transfer to Amsterdam assuming the vote is in favour.