The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Simmons & Simmons has grown from its London roots and now boasts offices across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and is recognised as one of the leading international full-service law firms. Simmons applies its expertise to all business sectors, but focuses on asset management and investment funds, energy and infrastructure, financial institutions, life sciences and TMT.
The star performers
Acquisition finance; Banking litigation: investment and retail; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Corporate crime (including fraud, bribery and corruption); Employment: employers; Equity capital markets; Financial services; Fraud: civil; Investment funds; Intellectual property; Investment funds; Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology; Power (including electricity, nuclear and renewables); Private equity: transactions; Professional negligence; Property finance; Securitisation; Tax litigation and investigations; Trade finance.
Advised Duet Asset Management on the creation of a $250m fund-of-one for an American university; assisting Castleton Commodities with a $3.3bn senior secured working capital facility and unsecured revolving credit facility; advised Visa Europe on complex employment issues arising from the client's reintegration with Visa; advised GlaxoSmithKline on the establishment of the £40m Apollo Therapeutics joint venture fund; advised Avenue Capital on the circa $400m sale of its GL Europe student accommodation business to Brookfield Property Partners.
Alzheimer's Research UK; BlueCrest; Brevan Howard; Castleton Commodities; Freepoint Commodities; MRI Trading; Schroder Investment Management; Société Générale; Virgin Media; ViiV Healthcare.
Trainees respect Simmons & Simmons' approach of pursuing and maintaining 'specialist expertise in certain practice areas', with the 'high-quality financial services team' earning particular acclaim. Through the 'breadth of work' covered by the firm, trainees 'work on some very complex and untested areas of law and regulation'. Highlights include 'attending a hearing on a matter I had been following for five months', 'independently researching and drafting a several-thousand-word opinion piece addressing a significant legal issue in a high-profile patent case' and 'being involved in a day of client negotiations on a large acquisition'. One trainee suggests that there are 'not enough paralegals in some departments', which can add to the trainee workload. The vacation scheme is spoken of fondly as 'offering insight into the passionate and inspiring lawyers at Simmons & Simmons'. There is concern over recent 'poor retention figures', as there is a 'large trainee intake in comparison with the number of NQ roles available'. That said, a 'collegiate culture' permeates the firm, and there is an 'inclusive atmosphere' as employees often 'socialise and go for a few drinks'. There is also said to be 'good camaraderie among trainees'. 'Getting the responsibility to handle interesting work' is a thrill, as trainees are 'delegated associate-level work if you demonstrate the aptitude'. For something unique, 'the firm's art collection of young British artists is always a talking point'. Colleagues are supportive, and 'receiving very positive feedback for a job well done' is always appreciated. To work at an 'ambitious and exciting firm' with a 'focus on financial services' that is enhanced by an 'international network', add Simmons & Simmons to your shortlist.
A day in the life of…
Shaun Clay Second-seat trainee, Simmons & Simmons, Bristol
8.30am: I arrive at the office early, it's an exciting day as a transaction that I have been working on for a couple of weeks is due to complete. I review and respond to my emails, including a number of queries that have been received from overseas counsel relating to the transaction overnight.
9.30am: An associate and I discuss the status of conditions precedent (documents required prior to completion) and what needs to be done before the completion call.
10.00am: I make some final amendments to documents. The client in this case is a large financial institution, a very high-profile client I didn't expect to work with as a trainee. I email the client directly and request sign-off on the amendments. As a banking trainee, you can expect to receive a lot of client contact.
11.30am: We hold the completion call, everything goes well and I circulate dated and signed documents to the solicitors acting for the borrower.
12.30pm: It's a nice day so I grab a quick lunch with other trainees and we sit along the river in the sun.
2.00pm: I dial in to the Banking Group Technical meeting which is held monthly to discuss legal updates. This is a great opportunity for trainees to develop their knowledge and get to know other colleagues in the group internationally.
3.00pm: I have been asked to assist on a restructuring transaction and I meet with my supervisor to discuss the transaction as I know that they have worked with the client before.
6.00pm: I check my email inbox before heading out to the floating harbour for dinner with friends.
Jana Srikumar Second-seat trainee, Simmons & Simmons, London
8.45am: I get into the office and visit our canteen to get some fuel before starting the day.
9.00am: I return to my desk and review my to-do list.
9.30am: I produce first drafts of parts of a software licensing agreement on service level metrics. I speak to the matter partner to discuss next steps before calling the client.
10.30am: I receive an email regarding Compass and my upcoming module, 'Working Effectively' (this is part of Simmons' trainee skills academy, providing real 'on the job' development). I'm looking forward to developing my skills when working with others.
12.15pm: Lunchtime! The majority of our trainee cohort completed the LPC together and whenever possible we meet for lunch.
1.30pm: I call overseas lawyers to discuss aspects of a client's terms and conditions which are due to come into effect. I speak to local council from international jurisdictions where the concept of 'deemed acceptance' doesn't exist. It's really exciting to work on cross-jurisdiction cases and together we agree wording to get around this issue.
3.30pm: I participate in a youth legal awareness initiative, one of many CSR initiatives available. Members of the firm visit a secondary school to discuss areas of law with students. Today's session covers social media and the law. One of the questions relates to celebrities' rights to privacy, giving way to a spirited debate!
5.30pm: I get back to my office, respond to emails and set up a meeting with my trainee buddy, who I met prior to starting the LPC.
7.00pm: Having completed my tasks for the day, I send an email to the department reminding them that I will be working from home tomorrow. The firm is very supportive of flexible working and trainees are encouraged to take advantage of this. I prepare a new to-do list and then head to the gym.
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*, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Paris, Riyadh*, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo (*associated offices).
Who we are: Scratch the surface of Simmons & Simmons and you'll discover a leading law firm of over 1,600 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
Training contracts available for 2020: 30+
Applications received pa: approx 3,000
First year: £42,000/£37,000
Second year: £47,000/£38,000
Newly qualified: £71,000/£50,000
Turnover in 2016: £295.1m (+2% from 2015) Profits per equity partner: £584,000 (-10%)
Total partners: 250+
Apply to:Graduate recruitment team.
How: Online application.
What's involved: Online application form, online judgement and ability tests, video interview and assessment day.
When to Apply:
Training Contract (London and Bristol): From 1 December 2017.
Winter Vacation Scheme: From 1 October 2017.
Spring Insight Scheme: Between 15 January and 15 February 2018.
Summer Vacation Scheme (London): Between 15 October 2017 and 15 January 2018.
Summer Vacation Scheme (Bristol): By 15 February 2018.