Simmons offers future trainees MBA alternative

Simmons & Simmons has brought forward plans to launch the first dedicated legal MBA in a bid to manage the size of its future trainee solicitor intakes.

The optional course, which will be run exclusively for Simmons by BPP College of Professional Studies’ new City branch, is being offered to trainees who are due to join the firm in September 2009 and March 2010.

The course will start from September 2009 and will run for 12 months. Simmons has invited future trainees to a taster workshop on 24 March where they will hear a presentation from managing partner Mark Dawkins (pictured).

The news was communicated to trainees in an email, seen by TheLawyer.com, from the firm’s graduate recruitment partner Nick Benwell. The email read: “Examining our future business needs has led us to bring forward an initiative that we had been planning as part of our learning and development strategy, which was created in 2007.

“While the course is optional, we strongly recommend that you take it as we believe that it will prove very beneficial to your career development and that it demonstrates a major commitment to investing in our people.”

Simmons will cover the full cost of the course fees and pay students a maintenance grant of £15,000 to cover living expenses.

Benwell said: “This is something we were thinking about introducing before we had to look at staffing levels and are very excited about it. I hope the students are just as excited.”

The MBA will be an assessed course and is aimed at helping future trainees to better understand the core sectors Simmons’ clients operate in. It will also include other modules such as leadership, marketing and HR.

Simmons was the first major City firm to confirm that it had asked its March 2009 intake to delay their training contracts. Seventeen trainees were asked if they wanted to delay their start dates by 12 months to March 2010 and two accepted, (<a href=”http://www.thelawyer.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=136425”>23 January</a>).

The course will be led by Professor Chris Brady, the formerly associate dean of Cass Business School, and is yet to be accredited by the Association of MBAs, Equis or AACSB.