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Simmons & Simmons property partners John Stephens and John Mitchell have left the firm.
Mitchell has gone to Gouldens as a full-time consultant after 15 years as a partner at Simmons and Stephens is understood to be talking to a number of firms.
Mitchell says: "I think the emphasis in Simmons has changed and over the years the profile of property has diminished and the profile of corporate has become stronger. The City has not been the best place to be a property lawyer."
David Dickinson, managing partner of Simmons, says the property department has taken on five assistants in the past six months and 70 per cent of its work is standalone. "Corporate support is part of its function, but if you look at most firms, property as a slice of turnover has diminished since the last property recession.
"There is a lot more work done outside London now and a lot more is done in-house."