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Simmons & Simmons Reviews

Updated July 7, 2017
11 reviews

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Simmons & Simmons Managing Partner Jeremy Hoyland
Jeremy Hoyland
4 Ratings

11 Employee Reviews

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  1. "--"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Simmons & Simmons full-time

    Pros

    Acceptable work-life balance and work atmosphere.

    Cons

    Low salary. Management lacks courage. Lack of coordinated business development strategy.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Trouble on the horizon?"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate in Tokyo (Japan)
    Former Employee - Associate in Tokyo (Japan)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Simmons & Simmons full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Good IT infrastructure, some good to very good practice areas

    Cons

    Shrinking international network, laughable claims to be "one of the world's 20 leading law firms by 2020"

    Advice to Management

    Don't try to compete with leading firms.

  3. "The only thing keeping me here is the salary."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Paralegal in Bristol, England (UK)
    Current Contractor - Paralegal in Bristol, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Simmons & Simmons as a contractor (More than a year)

    Pros

    Considering I didn't enjoy finance during my degree, I have found the work to be fairly interesting and varied. Having said that, it seems some associates have become corporate robots churning out the same transactions day in, day out with little or no joy or enthusiasm for the work they're doing. This attitude gets passed down by osmosis and I find I have to drag myself to work nowadays and it's become a grey, bleak atmosphere. It seems many of them have lost touch with reality and 'live to work' rather than working to live. Many associates and a couple of partners are easy to get on with and are helpful, however I feel the majority of fee earners look down on paralegals and consider us as 'lesser' members of the team. The training package provided was fantastic, however, and a number of associates were keen to provide their own pieces of training alongside it to better prepare us in our roles.

    The Bristol office is quite nice, however it can feel very quiet and the paralegals are crammed into a little room off the side which is rarely noticed (a bit like the paralegals...!).

    This is one of the best-paid paralegal positions in Bristol, which is the biggest pro to this role (and currently the only thing keeping me from leaving for another firm/role). We're not often late to leave the office, and the firm offers a pretty good benefits package.

    Cons

    Constantly feeling undervalued or underappreciated by fee earners - we are expected to do 'trainee level work' but for half the pay (and, of course, no training contract). There is little to no interest from the firm in our personal or career development, which includes no opportunities for promotion or pay increases (and there is a lack of incentive generally to do a 'good job'). There's a lot of 'behind-closed-doors' management - recently there have been redundancies made with little or no announcement or explanation, and our contracts were drawn up and processed with no consultation or negotiation with us (there were a couple of changes we would've liked to have made).

    A big issue for us at the moment is that there is no overtime pay. Sometimes (and, when it's busy, often) you're expected to work until the very late hours but without extra pay. It can be demoralizing to have to work like this (effectively for free). Finally, there was a point blank refusal to offer permanent contracts and instead the firm renewed our 12 month fixed term contract on the basis that 'in a couple of years we'll have the same rights as permanently-contracted employees anyway'.

    I don't recommend this firm unless you're entering as an associate with bright career progression prospects and no problem with departments staying wildly independent of each other (almost to the point of disliking each other). Business services and administrative staff are treated with no respect, and there are no opportunities whatsoever for increased responsibility or pay to reflect job performance.

    To conclude, if you're able to survive on a slightly lower salary, opt for a friendlier firm with a better approach to all members of staff and their careers, irrespective of how qualified they are or their position in the hierarchy of the firm. If you're after a management role with decent pay, then it'd probably work well for you.


  4. Helpful (3)

    "Not as it seems"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Business Development Executive in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Business Development Executive in London, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Simmons & Simmons full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    - Focused business strategy, Reasonable pay, Consistant branding, Good work-life balance, Most people are nice, Decent canteen, good art collection

    Cons

    There are a lot of politics within teams and also between departments.

    There is a lack of consistency and communication internally. I think there is also some elements where people have been at the firm for some time who have lost interest in their work, and have become complacent. It is very siloed, each department thinks about itself and doesn't see the importance of supporting other departments.

    They also have a strange promotion policy - not necessarily based on your ability and work ethic.

    Staff retention needs to improve dramatically.

    There is also a lack in department strategy - there is no common goal for the department, and if there is - it's not communicated well.

    IT is awful!

    No training or development available

    Advice to Management

    Business services is a secondry thought - management needs to allow the business services to advise them on where the business is going. I think (just like most law firms) lawyers think they are experts in everything - but actually need to not think of their own personal wants, and appreciate there is a firmwide goal and that everyone should be working towards that.


  5. Helpful (3)

    "Everything is not what it seems"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Business Services in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Business Services in London, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    nice work environment, majority friendly people, HR usually show concern in a positive light with issues you may have and are helpful.

    Cons

    1. Some partners are rude and believe you are just a support staff. They lack the comprehension of the amount of work you put in day in and day out to support the firm
    2. No recognition from management. 3. There's a lot of favouritism mixed with a lot of politics. This prevents you from getting things like a pay rise, promotion or even balanced work load
    4. Managers dump work on you, always claim they are busy "Attending meetings"
    5. Some managers do not know how to communicate effectively, work well under pressure, they cannot multi task and somehow can't control their tone when they talk to you. They come across as aggressive towards people. Again leads back to favouritism and politics
    6.Feedback is ignored by managers and team leaders especially if they have been there for more than five years they believe they are entitled to treat you with no regard

    Advice to Management

    I think it's time management realises to actually support business services. Don't forget they also work as hard as the fee earner and partner. Managers should show less favouritism and divide work better by not overloading one person.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Legal Secreatary"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Simmons & Simmons full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Can't think of any.

    Cons

    No salary raises, bonuses or home working given/encouraged for support staff.

    Advice to Management

    To move with the times and allow home working and give yearly salary raises and bonuses to support staff. I haven't had a raise since I started working at S&S (6 yrs)


  7. "Not the company it used to be"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Simmons & Simmons full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Nice colleagues, nice offices, collegiate atmosphere

    Cons

    Business services seen as unimportant, no training or development for them with little chance of internal promotion. HR managers think they're more important than the fee earners. Don't reward loyalty or high performers unless you're a fee earner.

    Advice to Management

    Its not just about the fee earners, you have support staff that are enabling your lawyers to do a good job, see them as an asset not an expense

  8. "Simmons used to be a great place to work..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Business Services in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Business Services in London, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Simmons & Simmons full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Amazing colleagues who always pull together.
    Pay is on par.

    Cons

    Business services are treated second class.
    All benefit's are aimed at legal staff and not support staff.
    There is no internal honesty, change comes with no warming.
    Business services are often the scapegoat for any sort of failure.
    Rarely are you recognized for the time and effort you put in.
    No bonus.

    Advice to Management

    Reward business services staff.
    Looking to save money, ask for suggestions.


  9. "Nice team to work with"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Business Services in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Business Services in London, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Lots of change which brings with it new opportunities and challenges.

    Cons

    To much change is frustrating.

    Advice to Management

    No comment


  10. "Sad decline in ill-concieved pursuit of short term gain"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Nice office, nice canteen, nice art

    Cons

    Short term focus, divided partnership, no real corporate strength

    Advice to Management

    S&S used to be known for its great lawyers, collegiality and progressive approach to work life balance. Clients got a great service, were loyal, and followed market leading specialists. It also had a decent corporate department. Now it is known for its failed tilt at the Magic Circle and the fact that all its stars have long since left. It should have stuck to its roots rather than try to turn itself into a poor man's Clifford Chance (and what's so good about them?)


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