Simmons turns to Osborne Clarke for first Bristol hires

Simmons & Simmons has made its first lateral hires for its new low-cost Bristol base, hitting Osborne Clarke for financial services litigation partners Tim Boyce and Ed Crosse.

In April the firm unveiled plans to launch in the city in the autumn (3 April 2012) with the aim of having 15 to 20 lawyers based there.

Boyce and Crosse are both partners considered to have high profiles in the Bristol legal market. Crosse joined Osborne Clarke in 2010 from Clifford Chance while Boyce formerly headed the firm’s financial services group before being replaced by Tim Simmonds, who joined the firm from Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) last year (16 June 2011).

Simmons said the pair would divide their time between London and Bristol, focusing on City and international work. The firm is also planning to relocate City projects partner Richard Armitage and real estate partner Iain Macfarlane to Bristol. A further partner is also expected to relocate, but is yet to be named by the firm.

In 2007 Simmons sent Armitage, its former global head of international projects, to Spain to oversee its integration with Spanish firm Mochales & Palacios Abogados following a merger (5 April 2007). Macfarlane, meanwhile, joined the firm’s partnership during the latest round of promotions (1 May 2012).

The exits will be a blow to Osborne Clarke, which has invested significantly in its financial services group, adding six partners in the last 12 months. This included Taylor Wessing finance partners Dominic Ross and Akmal Ghauri (24 October 2011), as well as BLP banking partner Madeleine Clark (27 September 2011).