The figure is up considerably on last year’s H1 result of £149.4m, and comes after the 900-lawyer firm went on a recruitment drive adding 27 partners since May 2017 (including 13 promotions). Simmons managing partner Jeremy Hoyland told Legal Business: ‘The Middle East and continental Europe continue to do well, with France and Italy being our strongest performers. We have also seen a little bit of swing back towards the transactional areas.’
Hoyland indicated that the firm’s pace of recruitment would likely slow in the months ahead, adding: ‘I suspect we won’t run quite to those levels but we continue to be attractive to people in our strongest areas.’
The London-based law firm has made inroads elsewhere, announcing in October that it will be opening in Dublin in 2018 with a lateral hire from Mason Hayes & Curran (MHC). MHC’s head of investment funds and financial regulation Fionan Breathnac is joining the firm’s new branch, which will focus on investments funds and regulatory work for asset managers and financial institutions.
Among the major hires for Simmons in 2017 was the appointment of legacy Olswang intellectual practice veteran Michael Burdon. Burdon, who headed Olswang’s European patent litigation group, joined Simmons in May. Simmons was also named on the revised panel of HSBC earlier this year, reflecting its heavy focus on financial institution clients.
Simmons saw turnover rise by 7% to £316.1m for the full 2016/17 year, while profit per equity partner hit £635,000.
Few firms have so far confirmed H1 results in what is expected to be a tough financial year. Exceptions to the rule are Watson Farley & Williams and Fieldfisher, two of the fastest growing UK firms of recent years, which respectively last month confirmed growth of 13% and 20%.