Private client team flees Simmons

Simmons & Simmons has axed its four-lawyer private capital team, which will join Lawrence Graham in September.

Simmons was one of the few big City firms still offering advice to private clients, but the firm’s renewed focus on banks and corporate means the practice no longer fits into its business strategy.

Simmons managing partner Mark Dawkins told The Lawyer: “It’s a small group and, in order for it to fulfil its potential, we’d need to make a bigger investment. It makes business sense for the team to be put into an environment where it can flourish.”

Head of private capital Caroline Garnham and her team of three assistants will transfer to Lawrence Graham in the early autumn.

Most City firms ditched their private client practices a long time ago to concentrate on institutional clients. Allen & Overy is one of the few firms to still have a private wealth arm.

Lawrence Graham managing partner Penny Francis believes the practice fits in well with the firm’s existing client base. Private client work accounts for 10 per cent of the firm’s £60m turnover.

Francis explained: “We act for a wide range of clients, from multinational companies to entrepreneurial clients, so we see a strong link between private capital and our corporate work.”