Simmons & Simmons

Simmons & Simmons

Survey results


The lowdown (in their own words...)

Why did you choose this firm over any others? 
 '‘I had worked with the firm in a previous career and they were people rather than robots’; ‘financial services specialism’; ‘commitment to diversity; ‘trainee intake size and my experience on the vac scheme’; ‘the culture and values of the firm seemed very much aligned to my own’; ‘IP work’; ‘supportive structure of mentoring and supervision’; ‘high-profile financial institution clients’
Best thing about the firm? 
 '‘Everyone I’ve met has genuinely wanted to help me make the best of my career’; ‘it continues to improve’; ‘focus on meritocracy’; ‘the financial services department’; ‘the table football’; ‘the positive culture’; ‘there is a real sense of dynamism and upward trajectory in the Bristol office and being part of a connected ‘whole’ along with the London HQ’
Worst thing about the firm? 
 '‘Lack of emphasis on social aspects’; ‘sometimes the gap between where the firm wants to be and where it currently is causes tension’; ‘evening dinner in the restaurant is poor’; ‘lack of international opportunities’; ‘hours can be demanding at times due to the firm having small (but high-performing) departments’; ‘not having the available manpower to compete with the Magic Circle’
Best moment? 
 '‘Receiving praise for coming up with a creative solution to an issue on a case’; ‘submitting an amicus curiae brief to the Constitutional Court of Colombia in relation to a human rights case’; ‘client lunch’; ‘taking on the work of a junior associate who went on secondment’; ‘reporting live from the court room on the Rolls-Royce deferred prosecution agreement’
Worst moment?
 '‘Missing Valentine’s day due to the mistakes of an associate!’; ‘bundling for 13 hours’; ‘feeling lost when asked to do a piece of research with very little to go on’; ‘working with an unpleasant partner’; ‘successive errors in the printing room causing me to stay into the early hours of the morning’'

If the firm were a fictional character it would be...

Peggy Olson (Mad Men) – has integrity, achieves on merit and able to hold its own

The verdict

The firm

International firm Simmons & Simmons boasts offices in financial centres across Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The firm focuses on its key sectors: asset management and investment funds, financial institutions, healthcare and life sciences and technology, media and communications. Simmons & Simmons also focuses on the energy and infrastructure markets. 

The star performers

Acquisition finance; Banking litigation: investment and retail; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Corporate tax; Employment: employers; Equity capital markets; Financial services; Fraud: civil; Fraud: white-collar crime; Investment funds formation and management; Intellectual property; Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology; Power (including electricity, nuclear and renewables); Private equity: transactions – mid-market deals; Professional negligence; Property finance; Securitisation; Trade finance

The deals

Advised Investec on forming Investec Africa Private Equity Fund 3; acted for the Indonesian Government in a bilateral treaty arbitration brought by Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys, which concerned an investment in a coal mining project; acted for Toronto Stock Exchange-listed NYX Gaming Group, a supplier of digital gaming products that was the target of a potential acquisition by Scientific Games; advised Fidante Partners Europe as bookrunner on Augmentum Fintech’s £125m IPO; advised XL Catlin Services on the pensions aspects of the international merger between XL and Catlin

The clients

1PM; Capco; European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; Intelligent Ultrasound; Mainstream; Metro Group; Numis Securities; Petards Group; Rex Bionics Plc; The Capital Markets Company (UK)

The verdict

Simmons & Simmons is ‘leading in the sectors in which it focuses’ and is renowned for its ‘strengths in life sciences, asset management and public sector work’. The ‘calibre of work’ and ‘prestige of the client roster’ certainly impressed new recruits. There is a ‘greater commitment to skills development, both technical and soft’ at the firm, which is perhaps due in part to the ‘informed and attentive graduate recruitment team’. Although there aren’t many international secondments on offer, there are plenty of client secondment opportunities, during which time recruits gain an ‘unparalleled insight into the business of the client’. Proactive types will be glad to hear that ‘trainee work is based on capabilities’ and so ‘responsibility will be given when you have proved yourself’. Correspondingly, ‘hard work and late nights are recognised and rewarded’, although this does mean that instances of ‘staying in the office until 4am to deliver on a deadline’ and ‘late-night bundling’ are not unheard of. The upside is that the firm’s ‘environment is supportive of junior lawyers’. Recruits complained about the food in the London office and the salary, which is perceived by some to be a little on the low side. Moreover, although ‘mundane tasks are usually delegated appropriately’, trainees still sometimes have to undertake ‘dull administrative work’. As for the rest of the time, recruits can look forward to high-quality work such as ‘attending a conference with a prominent QC’ and ‘running transactions of my own’. To work at a firm which ‘manages to combine high levels of ambition with the trait of not taking itself repressively seriously’ and which has a ‘fantastic work culture’, apply to Simmons & Simmons.

 A day in the life of...

Eve Emery, Second-seat trainee (litigation), Simmons & Simmons, Bristol 

8.30am:  I check my emails while walking to work. My supervisor has emailed me in relation to a professional negligence claim we are currently defending on behalf of a firm of architects. We have received further correspondence from the other side and I have been asked to prepare an initial draft in response. This will be great drafting experience.

8.50am:  I arrive at work and prepare my to-do list for the day. I speak with my supervisor who provides further information on the letter he has asked me to draft. We agree to catch up later once I have prepared a draft.

12.30pm:  I meet my fellow trainees for lunch and we head over to the weekly street food market, which is just a short walk away across the river.

1.20pm:  I receive an email from an associate in our London office asking if I have capacity to research some points of law for an article for publication on elexica, which is Simmons & Simmons’ online resource on a wide range of legal matters. This is a great opportunity to research areas within my field and increase my current awareness of industry trends.

2.00pm:  I sit down with my supervisor to discuss the first draft of the letter I have prepared, and his suggested changes.

3.00pm:  I meet with the Bristol social committee, which comprises trainees, associates and colleagues from business services. It’s a great way to get to know people from other departments throughout the office.

4.15pm:  I join a conference call with my London colleagues in relation to a matter I am involved with, representing one of our key financial institution clients. I update my colleagues on a document review exercise I am undertaking, and we agree next steps.

6.00pm:  After responding to some internal emails, I quickly get changed to join my colleagues for a netball match in the Bristol corporate league, where we play against other local law firms.

Vishal Patel, Second-seat trainee (banking), Simmons & Simmons, London 

8.00am:  I arrive at the gym (which is conveniently located in the same building!) to energise for the day ahead.

9.15am:  Having quickly checked the emails I received overnight and updated my to-do list, I head down to our canteen to grab some quick breakfast.

9.30am:  Ahead of a deal completion on a real estate finance matter I am working on, I check and update the status of the conditions precedent report, review the documents we have received from the other side and exchange some emails with the other side. I update the associate on the transaction before we call the client.

12.00pm:  I attend a closing call where all parties agree to date documents meaning money can be transferred. The deal is complete!

1.00pm:  I celebrate a deal well closed by meeting some of the other trainees for some street food!

1.45pm:  I conduct some research in relation to a pro bono matter I am assisting one of the partners on about how best the client should structure their venture.

4.00pm:  I lead a call on conditions precedent with an associate on the other side in relation to a funds finance deal I am working on. This is a great example of the responsibility that is given to trainees.

5.00pm:  I review some non-disclosure agreements for our borrower client who is seeking funding from various banks. These agreements provide the opportunity to consider the commercial position and needs of each of the parties which is important in the development of commercial awareness.

About the firm

Telephone: 020 7628 2020

Fax:020 7628 2070



Senior partner:  Colin Passmore

Managing partner:  Jeremy Hoyland

Other offices: Amsterdam, Beijing, Bristol, Brussels, Doha, Dubai, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Jeddah*, Lisbon*, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Paris, Riyadh*, Shanghai, Singapore, (*associated offices). 

Who we are: Scratch the surface of Simmons & Simmons and you’ll discover a leading law firm of over 1,650 colleagues, offering expert legal advice across Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

What we do: We operate across four key sectors and through a range of services to help clients navigate all kinds of legal challenges, from buying and selling national chain stores to developing new fleets of aircraft. We work in the areas that matter the most to everyone’s future, from life sciences to technology, media and telecommunications.

What we are looking for: We’re looking for perceptive, ambitious future lawyers. You see the finer detail – the intricate legal framework that powers and shapes our everyday – and you’ve got the drive to be part of it. We are looking for students who are on course for at least a 2(1) in any degree subject.

What you'll do:As well as moving through four six-month seats across our sectors, you’ll also benefit from the Compass programme, our unique and progressive trainee skills academy that offers a combination of practical learning, mentoring and online tools.

Perks: Benefits included are 25 days’ holiday entitlement, life assurance, income protection insurance, medical insurance, gym subsidy, free GP visits, assistance if working late, back-up care service, music/singing lessons, season ticket loan, subsidised staff restaurant, travel insurance and pension contributions.

Sponsorship:We will cover full tuition fees for law school and offer a maintenance grant of £7,000 for the GDL and £7,500 for the LPC.


Facts and figures

Total partners: 280+ (Global), 150+ (UK)

Other fee-earners: 500+ (Global), 270+ (UK)

Total trainees: 60 (UK)

Turnover in 2016: £295.1m (+2% from 2015). Profits per equity partner: £584,000 (-10%)

Trainee places available for 2020: 25+

Applications received pa: approx 3,000 


First year: £44,000 (London)/£38,000 (Bristol)

Second year: £48,000 (London) /£39,000 (Bristol)

Newly qualified: £79,000 (London) /£52,000 (Bristol)

 Application process


How: Online application.

When to apply:From 1 December 2018 for London and Bristol training contracts.

What's involved:Online application form, online judgement and ability tests, video interview and assessment day.

 Vacation schemes

Spring:Two days, £150 (apply from 15 January 2019).

Summer (London and Bristol):Apply from 15 October 2018.

Winter: Apply from 1 October 2018.

Please note we recruit on a first come first served basis. We therefore advise you to apply as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.