YOUR reference to Railtrack becoming a client of Simmons & Simmons (The Lawyer, 11 September) does not represent fairly the process by which Simmons & Simmons was engaged as our principal lawyers. This is not the first time the position has been misrepresented in the legal press.
Simmons & Simmons was one of six firms invited in 1993 to submit a written tender. The team submitted an excellent document, and were shortlisted (together with teams from two other well-known City firms) for a beauty parade. Each team had just under an hour to make its pitch.
I chaired the selection panel which, in addition to two other members of the in-house legal team, included the designate commercial director and the head of procurement. At the end of the process, the panel was unanimous that Simmons & Simmons had produced the best team and the best written submission.
The team that presented was not partner-dominated; everyone demonstrated that they had thought hard and sensibly about the implications of the Government's proposal for the disaggregation of the railway industry and its subsequent privatisation. Simmons & Simmons' appointment as our principal lawyers was thoroughly deserved and was made following a competitive selection process with each firm being ranked against the same selection criteria.
The performance of the firm over the last seven years has fully justified its appointment. The relationship is close, robust and strong – but never complacent. In short, we like Simmons & Simmons.
Simon Osborne, company secretary and solicitor, Railtrack