Simmons to open low-cost Bristol base

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  • Is Bristol to become the new Mumbai?

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  • For a mid sized, mid market firm like Simmons, why not move the whole thing to Bristol, and just keep a London satellite for a few of their better banking lawyers?

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  • or why not just move everyone out but have a bunch of meeting rooms. Clients very rarely walk in off the street

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  • Let's face facts, with today's IT only a minority of City law firms need more than around a third of their staff to be in London to carry out their work for large commercial clients.
    What is happening in Bristol and Belfast is just the beginning of a more systemic change across the legal sector.
    And, who needs to pay for a skyscraper in London anyhow? Surely partners could pocket a lot more profit if they could reduce their London office space but still service City clients to the same standard?

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  • I suspect what is being missed is that Bristol has been two markets for years, with a large dose of export, and the top end of Bristol-based Partners with hybrid practices (local/national and London). It is only an hour and a half into London (commuter belt without the tube) and mobile working has competely transformed the dynamic. The tough thing for Simmons will be recruitment, when there are more established firms that can offer a mix of work, with a toe-hold in the higher value London market, without the low cost, second class stigma that will come from being a small office within in a London-centric firm.

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  • Not very sexy

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  • Lawyers don't need to be in offices at all, most of the time. We could all work at home, having much nicer lives, and do just as good a job. Our firms can just have a base in the City with meeting rooms and some other functions, thereby saving huge amounts on the office rent. We can then all get paid more. Hurray.

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  • The posts above seem to be missing one crucial point: if Simmons' current staff wanted to move to Bristol, wouldn't they have done so already?

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  • Sensible move, but why Bristol, which is pretty expensive albeit far less so than central London.
    Why not move to somewhere which needs the jobs more and is cheaper, such as Newcastle or Liverpool?
    And why such a small number of staff? Most City lawyers never even meet the clients they are working for.

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  • I work at a mid-size firm in Bristol that is getting smaller and smaller by the day as the big boys open up shop...Bristol is without doubt the most saturated legal market outside London

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  • Westmorlandia | 3-Apr-2012 1:18 pm, has it down to a tee.
    CPA Global, outsourcing, ABSs, etc. all point to this, logic.
    Its time we all embraced technology and accept that neither you nor your client need to sit in the same room to go over the rudiments of a contract.
    Although Cadwalader had a rough time of it, that their lawyers wore "mufti" most of the time was a good foot forward. Carrying an iPad in a dungeon is not embracing the new age, it is simply saying "I have the latest 'laptop', but still want to chain myself to the plastic/metal concoction that deprives me of a healthier existence...because I 'choose' to".
    The lawyer on his laptop from a cabin on an island in the Pacific, the client from his loft apartment in Oslo, the funders from their condos in Malibu.
    Why not?

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  • In larger firms, there would still need to be a substantial amount of centralised control (in IT, for example), which would go beyond the need to provide meeting facilities. Although it is something that many of us would be loathe to admit, it may also be unwise to underestimate the positive effect that the rather draconian workplace atmosphere of certain law firms has on productivity; left to their own devices many lawyers, even with the best intentions, will find much to distract them when working offsite for most of the time. I speak from experience. And then there are those disaffected senior partner types who view the office as an escape from whatever is happening at home...

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  • Lunchtime McTwaddle | 4-Apr-2012 5:31 pm,

    "Left to their own devices" kinds of lawyers could be reviewed on quality, quantity and quickness. If they don't meet the 3Qs, to the standards laid down by the managing committee, then....the "door" (wherever or whatever might signify that, e.g. notice of termination of consultancy agreement or P45) could be clearly shown.

    ISWTTOB

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