Simmons’ partner numbers fell in 2010-11, LLP accounts reveal

Simmons & Simmons’ first-ever LLP accounts have revealed that the number of equity partners at the firm fell by 8 per cent during the 2010-11 financial year.

In 2009-10 there were 103 equity partners at the firm, while for the year ending 31 April 2011 there were 95. Total headcount at the firm also dropped, falling 5 per cent from 1,523 in 2009-10 to 1,447 in 2010-11.

The number of fee-earners fell by more than 9 per cent over the same period, from 656 to 596. The only staff related statistic to go up over the period was “other legal staff”, which rose from 80 to 91.

As a result of the cuts, staff costs fell by nearly 7 per cent, from £118.5m in 2009-10 to £110.8m in 2010-11. Meanwhile, profit available for division among partners was up by 14 per cent, from £44.2m to £50.3m. The profit share paid to the highest-earning partner was £800,000, the same level as in the previous year.

Simmons’ cash at the bank fell from £11.9m to a little under £7m.

The LLP accounts also reveal that 80 per cent of Simmons’ revenues in the 2010-11 financial year came from its four core sectors: financial institutions; energy and infrastructure; life sciences; and technology, media and telecommunications.

Turnover at the firm for 2010-11 was £242.9m, down 3 per cent on 2009-10. Average profit per equity partner was roughly flat, at £460,000.

During the year the firm also implemented a number of changes. It moved from a post-qualification experience to merit-based career model for London fee-earners, put in a new bonus structure and, with effect from 1 May 2011, introduced fixed share partners into the firm.

Over the year the firm made eight lateral partner hires and promoted 13 new partners internally.

The firm’s accounts were audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers.