The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Simmons & Simmons has grown from its London origins to be a major international firm across Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The firm has one of the largest full-service dispute resolution practices in the City, and also ably represents its clients on employment, investment funds and TMT work. In recognition of the breadth of its expertise, Simmons notched three nominations at the Legal Business Awards 2016.
The star performers
Acquisition finance; Aviation; Bank lending – investment grade debt and syndicated loans; Commodities: derivatives; Corporate restructuring and insolvency; Debt capital markets; Derivatives and structured products; Emerging markets; Employee share schemes; Employment: employers; Infrastructure (including PFI and PPP); Islamic finance; Mining and minerals; Oil and gas; Pensions (non-contentious); Power (including electricity, nuclear and renewables); Rail; Trade finance.
Advised Chiltern International Group on its $447m financing for the acquisition of Theorem Clinical Research; advised the board of GHG Property Group on its proposed £2.1bn restructuring; advised lenders on the refinancing of a fleet of Airbus aircraft owned by LatAm Airlines; advised AIG Trade Finance on a novel $125m supply chain finance platform for the sub-investment grade market; assisted NextEnergy Solar Fund with the £290m acquisition and development of a number of solar assets in the UK.
Avenue Capital; Deloitte; the Department for Transport; Deutsche Bank; DONG Energy; Moody’s; Morgan Stanley; Schlumberger; Shawbrook Bank; Swiss Re.
Trainees are attracted to Simmons & Simmons for its ‘good practice areas’. ‘Certain departments have very good reputations in the market’, with plaudits reserved for the firm’s ‘finance focus’ and ‘expertise in the IP and TMT sectors’. Examples of ‘quality work’ undertaken by trainees include ‘negotiating contracts directly with the other side’, ‘being able to take the lead on a small project’ and ‘working on a large multi-national acquisition, and being fully involved in all aspects of that transaction’. A ‘high-performance culture’ is evident, and there is a ‘genuine feeling that you can approach all people’ with any queries. The firm enrols trainees on an MBA programme, and while it is deemed a ‘clear illustration of the firm’s commitment to us as individuals’, others feel it can ‘ruin the work/life balance’ by ‘combining studying with the demanding working hours of a trainee’. Colleagues are ‘friendly and inclusive’, and the firm itself runs ‘market-leading LGBT initiatives’. The trainees are a ‘really close’ group, and many respondents also cite the ‘great team atmosphere’ that they have experienced in their respective departments. There are frustrations about the ‘restricted seat choices’, and also about the ‘lack of transparency around qualification’ as ‘variable retention figures’ have recently been an issue. Still, the ‘training is very good’ and as a result ‘you really feel like part of the firm’. Several trainees have waxed lyrical about the firm’s ‘awesome’ client secondments as they are not only a ‘great experience’ but also ‘impressive on the CV’. To train at a firm which is ‘well-placed in the market’ where you can work alongside lawyers ‘at the top of their game’, consider Simmons & Simmons.
A day in the life of...
Suleyman Siddiqui second-seat trainee, Simmons & Simmons
Departments to date: Litigation, real estate
University:University College London
9.00am: I get to my office and review emails that have come in overnight. I then begin writing a task list for the day in descending order of priority. I am currently sat in real estate, a busy department with many discrete tasks, and I find it’s easier to keep on top of work by tracking the progress of each task individually.
9.15am: I begin to draft responses to emails, some of which are from our clients requesting advice on aspects of landlord and tenant law and others are from solicitors representing counterparties in transactions in which we are involved. I receive some comments on several documents so I review these and mark up the documents for discussion with my supervisor.
11.00am: I go for a coffee and catch-up with my supervisor to discuss our current case load. We review my mark ups from this morning and make some further changes, which I incorporate and send to the other side when I get back to my desk.
11.30am: I review two leases and make notes on their provisions. Then I draft a response to a client who has requested advice on the rent review provisions of each lease.
12.15pm: I prepare engrossed copies of a licence I have been involved in negotiating for the past two weeks, as well as covering letters to our client and the tenant. It’s satisfying to have the final document in an agreed form.
1.00pm: I head down to our firm’s canteen, Ampersands, and have lunch with some fellow trainees. It’s a good opportunity to catch up with friends and I get to hear all about the banking department’s training session this morning. We all tend to socialise together and it’s a great way to find out what other departments are like, which helps with picking seat choices!
2.00pm: I am a member of the firm’s environment committee which operates firm wide and is staffed by partners, associates and trainees who are interested in environmental issues. My trainee colleagues and I have been asked to write a column for the quarterly newsletter and we discuss some ideas for the column and allocate tasks.
3.00pm: An urgent client query has come through requesting advice on the enforceability of certain real estate instruments against a prospective buyer who has diplomatic immunity. I use the research resources on our intranet to look at this topic and begin drafting a memo for review by the matter partner. In our real estate department, trainees are given a lot of hands-on experience and client contact and are often expected to prepare first drafts of advice and some transactional documents.
6.00pm: A client (tenant) calls me and instructs us to provide our comments on a licence for alteration they have received from their landlord. I review the licence and mark it up with my comments for review by an associate in the team.
6.45pm: I check my task list and see nothing outstanding so I head out to watch a movie with some friends.
About the firm
Address:CityPoint, One Ropemaker Street, London EC2Y 9SS
Telephone: 020 7628 2020
Fax:020 7628 2070
Senior partner : Colin Passmore
Managing partner : Jeremy Hoyland
Other offices: Amsterdam, Beijing, Bristol, Brussels, Doha, Dubai, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Jeddah*, Lisbon*, Luxembourg, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Paris, Riyadh*, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo (*associated offices).
Who we are: Simmons & Simmons is a leading international law firm with fully integrated teams working throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
What we do: We view the world through the lens of our key sectors: asset management and investment funds, financial institutions, life sciences and technology, media and telecommunications.
What we are looking for: We’re looking for trainees who have great intellectual abilities, but who can also show they have initiative and drive. So whether you join us in London or Bristol, while we’re interested in your academic successes, we also want to see your potential.
What you'll do:Alongside high-quality, international experience, our bespoke training programme helps you develop all the legal, commercial and personal skills you’ll need to hit the ground running.
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
Trainee places available for 2019: approx 35
Applications received pa: approx 2,500
First year: £40,000/£36,000
Second year: £45,000/£37,000
Newly qualified: £68,000/£49,000
Total partners: 250+
Apply to:Graduate recruitment team.
How: Online application.
When to Apply:By 15 January 2017 for London and 15 February 2017 for Bristol training contracts.
Winter: Apply from 1 October 2016.
Spring: Apply from 1 January 2017.
Summer (London): Apply from 15 January 2016.
Summer (Bristol): Apply by 15 February 2017.
Please note we recruit on a first come first served basis. We therefore advise you to apply as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.