Simmons strikes deal to keep banking ace

Simmons & Simmons is snatching back a banking partner on the eve of her departure to Bevan Ashford.

Helen Hancock, who specialises in capital markets and structured finance, was due to leave the City firm for Bevan Ashford's Bristol office because of undisclosed personal reasons.

Simmons, however, has persuaded Hancock to stay by setting up a fully functional office at her home, from which she will work full-time starting from June.

Hancock says: “I was reluctant to go but I chose to leave for a number of reasons.”

However, she says on speaking to both the senior and managing partners at Simmons, they came up with a plan for her to stay on at the firm.

Hancock says: “I informed my clients about what was happening and they are relaxed about it, in fact one client says they will be offering the same thing to their people.”

Commenting on Bevan Ashford, Hancock says: “I think they are quite disappointed and I can understand why.”

She says that her role at the Bristol firm would have been different from the advice she provides in the City as she would have predominately been working on projects rather than banking.

She says: “I appreciated the fact that I would have had to reinvent myself.”

Although the firm does not have a formal scheme in place which allows staff to work from home, Bill Knight, senior partner at Simmons, says the firm is flexible when a situation arises.

He says: “We are going to be flexible to people with personal situations.

“Helen is one of the leading corporate finance lawyers of her generation and we were willing to do what we had to do for her to stay.”

Bevan Ashford was unavailable for comment as The Lawyer went to press.