MoD forks out £1m to pay for dumped Simmons

Simmons & Simmons has managed to squeeze more than £1m out of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) after being ditched from the panel at the start of 2006.

Figures gained by The Lawyer through the Freedom of Information Act show that the firm has racked up a £1.07m bill for advising the MoD on its new £16bn training programme.

The figures also show that Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer raked in almost £1.7m in fees from the MoD project, bringing the total legal bill to more than £2.7m.

The MoD has outsourced the project, called the Defence Training Review (DTR), to a joint venture consortium led by QinetiQ and Land Securities Trillium, advised by Herbert Smith. The DTR is one of the UK’s largest-ever PFI deals.

Simmons was instructed when the project was in its initial phases in 2005, before the firm was excluded from the panel.

Juliet Reingold and David Nelligan are the main Simmons partners involved in the deal.

Nelligan said: “We won the deal while on the panel and continue to advise the MoD on it despite not being on the panel. We’ll continue to work on it until financial close.”

Before Simmons was dumped from the panel a year ago, as the MoD’s main adviser it billed more than £15m between 2002 and 2005.

The current MoD panel includes Burges Salmon, Denton Wilde Sapte, Freshfields, Herbert Smith, Mills & Reeve, Pinsent Masons, Shepherd & Wedderburn and Wragge & Co.

The MoD reviews its panel every four years.