Legal Business

Trainee retention: Eversheds, Clyde & Co, CMS Cameron McKenna and Simmons reveal rates

Trainee retention: Eversheds, Clyde & Co, CMS Cameron McKenna and Simmons reveal rates

The number of training contracts being offered by City firms may have dropped by over 20% but the recently revealed retention rates of Eversheds, Clyde & Co, CMS Cameron McKenna and Maclay Murray & Spens remain high, although Simmons & Simmons has slid to 71%.

Eversheds, which yesterday (10 September) posted an 87% retention rate, offered 40 out of 45 newly-qualified (NQ) lawyers a permanent role at the firm, which 38 accepted. The figures mirror last autumn’s retention round, when the same number of NQs were kept on.

Angus McGregor, HR director at Eversheds, congratulated the successful NQs, commenting: ‘Our training contract is designed to extend the experience and skill sets of junior lawyers across multiple industries and sectors, preparing them for the modern legal world.’

Elsewhere, 1081-lawyer Clyde & Co has reported that it will retain 95% of its trainees, with 36 out of 37 trainees accepting a job at the firm. This follows an equally high retention rate of 94% this time last year.

Meanwhile, top ten LB100 firm CMS Cameron McKenna has announced it will hold onto 28 out of 34 NQs this September, equating to a retention rate of 82%. Of those retained, 23 will join the City office, while two will move to the insolvency and recovery group in Bristol. The others bolster the firm’s practice in Scotland, with one joining the real estate and finance practice in Edinburgh, a further lawyer heading to the Edinburgh office’s disputes department, and the last joining the employment team in Aberdeen. CMS unveiled a similar result last year of 84%.

However, Simmons & Simmons has revealed a retention rate of 71%, a drop on last year’s figure of 89%. The firm offered 17 out of a total of 24 trainees a position, with the vast majority taking on roles in the City.

Outside of the City firms, Weil Gotshal & Manges’ London arm has offered jobs to four out of six NQs, a retention result of 67%. This marks a slide on last year’s figure of 73%.

The beleaguered Scottish market has also seen Maclay Murray & Spens (MMS) offer 15 out of 19 NQ positions this year across its London, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen offices.

MMS chief executive Chris Smylie said: ‘We are delighted to have been able to offer so many opportunities to newly qualified lawyers. It signals our confidence in the future, as we further build our strategy for growth, following last year’s root and branch review. This follows on from our recruitment of three lateral hires at partner level in August and the promotion of two partners from associate in June.’

However, at Dundas & Wilson, out of 21 trainees who applied for positions with the firm, 14 have accepted offers to stay after they qualify.

sarah.downey@legalbusiness.co.uk

Legal Business

LB100 – The top 25: The age of turbulence

LB100 – The top 25: The age of turbulence

It’s been a bumpy ride for many of the UK’s largest firms, fighting battered profits with consolidation and increased global expansion. Welcome to the Legal Business 100, where headline revenue increases hide a tougher reality

When the UK’s 62nd largest law firm by revenue is suddenly wiped off the face of the earth, despite posting a 2% revenue increase in 2011/12, you’d expect a little nervousness within the profession. Cobbetts, which went into administration in March, posted a profit per equity partner (PEP) increase of 16% in its last-ever LB100 appearance, something that many of the firms occupying the list today would gladly take. But, as it would turn out – as has been the case ever since the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers – when it comes to law firm financials, all is not what it seems. And, as the demise of Halliwells proved in 2010, it takes more than the collapse of a regional stalwart to seriously unhinge the market.

Legal Business

Takeover potential – Linklaters & Simmons lead on Amec’s £700m bid for Kentz

Takeover potential – Linklaters & Simmons lead on Amec’s £700m bid for Kentz

Linklaters and
Simmons & Simmons‘ longstanding corporate relationships with Amec and Kentz have gifted them with a potentially lucrative takeover bid instruction as Kentz this week announced it had rejected a £700m offer from its larger engineering rival.

Linklaters corporate partners Shane Griffin and Aedamar Comiskey are leading the team for Amec, which it has advised on corporate matters for well over a decade. Simmons corporate partner Edward Baker is advising Kentz on the offer, which the FTSE 250 engineering company said it had rejected, together with an earlier offer in July from Germany’s M+W Group, on the basis that it undervalued the company.

Simmons previously advised Tipperary-based engineering contractor Kentz, which helps companies to develop oilfields, gasfields and mines, on its 2008 AIM listing and its move to the main market in 2011, on which Baker also led. Ogiers led by corporate partner Tim Morgan and William Fry is understood to have a secondary role on this latest deal.

While July and August typically represent a lull in corporate work, the bid by AMEC is the latest of a series of high profile bids for UK engineering companies during the summer months.

Earlier this month, British industrial manufacturer Edwards Group was bought out by Swedish engineering company Atlas Copco for $1.6m, with the London office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Davis Polk & Wardwell notably taking leading roles for Edwards. Last month, meanwhile, saw the £3.3bn takeover bid by France’s Schneider Electric for UK engineering firm Invensys. Magic Circle firms Linklaters and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer are advising the respective companies on the deal.

Amec has until 16 September to make a formal bid for Kentz, said in the financial press to be holding out for a better offer.

Speaking earlier to Legal Business, Simmons international head of corporate, Mark Curtis, said that the end of July and August have seen more deals as the market gears up for autumn.

david.stevenson@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Simmons sees marginal drop in turnover and PEP

Simmons sees marginal drop in turnover and PEP

Simmons & Simmons has released its financial results for 2012-13, posting a slight dip in revenues from £251.7m to £250.3m while profit per equity partner (PEP) is down from £529,000 to £525,000 – a drop of about 0.6% – following a year of international expansion.

The financial results, which remain unaudited since their appearance in the Global 100 last week in which Simmons ranks in 93rd place, show that the firm’s net income has remained largely static, up from £66.2m in 2011-12 to £66.3m in 2012-13.

Meanwhile the firm’s top of equity has also dropped from £975,000 in 2011/12 to £950,000 in the latest financial year and the lowest paid equity partner now receives £270,000, down £5,000 on the year before.

Disputes and finance still make up the highest proportion of work for the firm; 33% and 38% respectively. Corporate work has dropped slightly on last year, accounting for 21% of total revenues while the firm’s employment practice generated 8% of the firm’s revenues over the past financial year.

The number of lawyers at the firm has grown from 782 to 813 in total and the number of equity partners has increased by one from 125 to 126, while the number of non-equity partners has also expanded from 78 partners to 85.

These results follow a strong financial performance from the firm in 2011-12, which saw Simmons post a 4% increase in revenues and an 18% increase in PEP. During the past financial year it has opened offices in Bristol, Munich and most recently Singapore, its fifth office in Asia, and in October last year secured an alliance with US hedge fund boutique Seward & Kissel.

However, this year’s Global 100 shows that the firm’s turnover has seen the greatest drop between 2007 and 2012 of all the top 100 firms, falling 31%, and the firm is perceived by many in the market as struggling to find its footing in absence of a full US merger.

david.stevenson@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

DLA and Simmons promote fewer partners as firms continue to favour Europe

DLA and Simmons promote fewer partners as firms continue to favour Europe

DLA Piper and Simmons & Simmons are among the latest UK firms to announce a reduced number of partnership promotions, appointing 34 and seven lawyers respectively, down from 58 and 10 in 2012.

DLA’s appointments came largely across its US offices, where 19 lawyers were made up to the partnership, with a further seven in continental Europe, four in the UK and four in Australia.

Simmons & Simmons, meanwhile, continued the recent trend among the UKs international firms to favour European promotions, with four in London, compared with one each in the financial hubs of Paris, Milan and Brussels and none in the Middle East or Asia.

Simmons & Simmons senior partner Colin Passmore said: ‘The firm’s business plan envisages significant growth for the firm over the next few years and the promotion of our homegrown talent is integral to this.’

Elsewhere, international firm Kennedys made up five associates in the UK (one each in London, Sheffield and Chelmsford and two in Belfast) and one in Hong Kong. The firm’s six promotions represent a 50% increase on last year and half of this year’s promotions round were women.

Kennedys senior partner Nick Thomas added: ‘I’m proud that we continue to have one of the highest proportions of female partners amongst the top 30 law firms.’

Similarly, DAC Beachcroft has made up five new partners, the same number as last year, taking its total partner numbers to 247. The firm’s London, Birmingham and Manchester offices will take up one partner each while the remainder will be based in Madrid, which saw a number of departures to rival Clyde & Co last month.

Two of the firm’s promotions were within its claims solutions arm – representing around one third of the firm’s staff and approximately £64m in revenue.

The European promotions and nurturing of homegrown talent come as international firms are increasingly focusing their expansion efforts further afield, particularly in Asia.

Other firms to have liberally promoted in London include Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), which made up a total of nine lawyers – seven in the firm’s London headquarters and one each Frankfurt and Moscow.

Magic Circle firms Clifford Chance and Linklaters also promoted heavily across Europe this year, as did Pinsent Masons.

Jaishree.kalia@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Banks could face backlash on legal panel reviews

With the latest round of bank panel reviews in full swing, early indications show signs of a backlash from law firms as banks place increasing demands on panel candidates at the same time as driving down costs.

In October, The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) announced the results of its long-running panel review. By reducing its number of sub-panels from 13 to five, it has significantly lowered the number of law firms on the panel from around 100 previously to between 55 and 60 now. Meanwhile, former panel firms Slaughter and May, Olswang and Mayer Brown didn’t pitch to join the panel this time around.

Legal Business

A matter of time – Simmons & Simmons

A matter of time – Simmons & Simmons

After a failed merger, a drop in both revenue and a profits, and a slew of partner departures, Simmons’ new managing partner Jeremy Hoyland certainly has his work cut out. Can his plans for change deliver?

Jeremy Hoyland’s timing has always been a little off. He qualified just before the 1990s’ recession, tried to launch a finance practice in Asia just as the Asian financial crisis hit in the late 1990s and has now taken over Simmons & Simmons at a time when the firm’s financials continue to struggle and it is being over-shadowed by several of its closest rivals.

Legal Business

A Matter of Time – Simmons & Simmons

After a failed merger, a drop in both revenue and a profits, and a slew of partner departures, Simmons’ new managing partner Jeremy Hoyland certainly has his work cut out. Can his plans for change deliver?

Jeremy Hoyland’s timing has always been a little off. He qualified just before the 1990s’ recession, tried to launch a finance practice in Asia just as the Asian financial crisis hit in the late 1990s and has now taken over Simmons & Simmons at a time when the firm’s financials continue to struggle and it is being over-shadowed by several of its closest rivals. Failed merger talks with Mayer Brown have also hardly helped the firm’s market profile.

Legal Business

Stepping up

Stepping up

With the departure of high-profile practice head Jonathan Kelly, the Simmons financial services litigation team has lost a leader in investment banking disputes work. New chief Robert Turner will have a fight on his hands if the firm is to remain a Magic Circle rival

To say that Robert Turner has big boots to fill is to underestimate the size of the task ahead of him. Turner took over as head of financial services litigation at Simmons & Simmons on 1 April, with a background of acting in disputes on behalf of hedge fund managers. But for all his strengths, he enjoys nothing like the profile and reputation of his predecessor Jonathan Kelly – nor indeed his predecessor’s predecessor, now firmwide managing partner Mark Dawkins.