"Slogging it out in a courtroom isn't enough for Simmons & Simmons lawyers. Their sports teams regularly jet off to France or Holland to compete against continental offices, encapsulating the work hard, play hard culture in which they thrive.
Founded in 1896, the international law firm offers a career of ""ground-breaking and challenging assignments"". A staff of nearly 1,000 provides expert advice on all areas of business and financial law from the firm's slick City of London offices, working closely with branches in Europe, Asia and the Middle East for the benefit of notable multinational clients.
The high-flying make-up of the organisation is impressive, as is the pay. Its lawyers typically earn £68,000, and 120 are in the £100,000-plus bracket, the vast majority of these partners in the business. Curiously, perhaps, just 63% say they are happy with pay and benefits, only good enough to rank the firm 60th on this measure among the 100 best companies. The firm has solid foundations, with 501 employees having more than five years' service, combined with a strong commitment to hiring new graduates: 92 joined last year. Graduate trainees are assigned a partner to mentor them for two years, and secondments abroad are encouraged as part of their training.
With all the dynamism, the firm is also active on the charitable front, and staff are encouraged to do pro bono work. The company ranks in the top 25 for putting something back into the community and last year staff raised £22,500 to buy a 17-seat minibus for their nominated charity, Stepney Children's Fund, through a range of events including a ball and a karaoke night. The company even arranges singing lessons for those who want to improve their voices. The mind-boggling array of sporting activities — everything from football to broomball — is balanced by outings to the theatre and art galleries. Janet Gaymer, the senior partner, is a regular face at social events, as well as chairing meetings and firing off regular e-mail updates.
Managerial feedback is collated by outside consultants, with individual performance assessed annually by occupational psychologists. Three-quarters say they get the support they need from their manager, although 40% say senior managers need to listen more, which puts the firm in the bottom 25 on this measure.
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