Simmons employment head defects to Farrers

Simmons & Simmons head of international employment William Dawson has quit for Farrer & Co in the wake of the firm’s private client team cull last year.

Dawson will join Farrers as a partner, working under head of employment David Smellie in his five-partner team. Farrers has a strong private client team that has a crossover with its employment group, a fact that attracted Dawson to the firm, he told The Lawyer.

“It’s a change of focus for me. There’s a trend in the City to move away from private client work and I’ve always loved advising high-flyers,” said Dawson. “Farrers is the perfect landing place. It has a great brand and a first-rate employment team led by David Smellie. Simmons also has a great employment team, and it remains the adviser of choice to investment banks on employment issues.”

Dawson had been a partner at Simmons for more than 20 years and took over as the firm’s head of international employment when Janet Gaymer assumed her role as the former senior partner in 2001.

Simon Watson remains at Simmons as London head of employment. It is understood that over the next year the titles will be combined.

Following a wholesale strategic review in 2006, Simmons axed its private client team, with the four remaining partners heading for Lawrence Graham, now LG, last September.

This is Simmons’ second high-profile partner departure in a week. Dawson’s exit follows quick on the heels of Ibrahim Mubaydeen’s, Simmons managing partner in Abu Dhabi, who will launch Allen & Overy‘s office in the emirate along with his structured finance colleague from Simmons François Duquette (The Lawyer, 18 June).