MoD dumps Simmons from panel

Simmons & Simmons projects practice has lost its most important client following the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) latest review of its legal panel for projects.

The MoD cut its legal panel from 12 to 8 in the review, with half of the existing firms retaining their place. Two new firms were added – Herbert Smith and Mills & Reeve.

An MoD spokesman said: “The appointments were made on the basis of the bids made by the firms, and reflected our needs. It is not about any firm’s past performance, it was about the quality of their proposal.”

Simmons retains its current instructions from the MoD, which includes the proposed QinetiQ float instructions for the firm’s corporate department.

The projects department retains instructions on the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) project, a £13bn air-to-air refuelling project, the Military Flying Training System and the Defence Training Rationalising.

An MoD spokesman said all three projects were expected to last “a couple of years”, but confirmed the MoD would not consider Simmons for involvement on any new projects.

The entire panel comprises: Burges Salmon, Denton Wilde Sapte, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith, Mills & Reeve, Pinsent Masons, Shepherd & Wedderburn and Wragge & Co.

A Simmons spokesman said: “Being on the panel does not guarantee any instructions. We have a long-standing, and still-standing relationship with a client we’ve worked with for 20 years. I am sure there is lots of work still to come.”