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The firm: On 1 May 2014 Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP and HBM Sayers combined to become BLM, the UK and Ireland’s leading risk and insurance law business. BLM is a £100m business and operates from 12 offices across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The combination of both firms provides BLM with the strength and breadth to work with more clients across more lines of business and in more locations.
The firm has an established and deep-rooted presence in the general insurance sector, the London market and amongst brokers. It also boasts a significant presence amongst corporate insurers, the public sector and the healthcare industry.
BLM works with clients to save time and money reducing risk, resolving disputes and managing claims. Clients’ interests are at the very heart of all processes, delivering value for money at every stage to assist in controlling costs and indemnity spend, sharing knowledge and protecting brand and reputation.
In the past 12-18 months the firm has expanded considerably. BLM launched a new office in Dublin in October 2012, partly attributable to requests from insurer clients to provide the same level of advice offered to UK-based clients. The strategy is to offer the local market an alternative proposition for claims resolution services, providing a more effective and complete offering that encapsulates investigatory expertise, pre-litigation advice and claims handling.
This expansion was further boosted by the launch of an office in EC3 in September 2013. This was a direct response to the material increase in work, in addition to feedback from insurer clients who seek locally based specialists at the heart of the market. The team has since expanded its client-base to include leading London market insurers and secured a number of new panel appointments.
With increased turnover year after year and with a positive outlook for the year ahead, BLM prides itself on innovation. Technology is at the heart of its processes and the use of management information and matter inception tools not only allows the team to heighten performance as it manages more than 100,000 claims annually, it also allows BLM to predict outcomes and make strategic decisions earlier in the case management process.
Types of work undertaken: The firm has an established reputation for its excellent record in handling a full range of aviation matters, commercial disputes, family law, healthcare disputes, liability claims, marine insurance claims, professional liability, public service risks and regulatory matters. BLM’s depth of expertise is pre-eminent in these areas and the firm is recognised by clients, competitors and the judiciary. In addition the firm has an established policy development team which often acts as a conduit between government, policymakers and the firm and its clients.
BLM takes a high level and active role in ongoing debates and consultations relating to legal and procedural reforms, actively engaging with government, the Civil Justice Council, The Law Society, FOIL and other industry bodies on emerging legal developments.
The firm is regularly involved in test cases and high profile litigation. A key example is the highly publicised and precedent-setting fraud case Summers v Fairclough Homes, where the Supreme Court ruled that courts now have the power to strike out an entire claim where there is evidence of fraud, including the genuine part. BLM was awarded the coveted Outstanding Case of the Year Award at the Eclipse Proclaim Personal Injury Awards in 2013 for its involvement.
Other offices: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Southampton
Breakdown of work %Insurance 46
Public sector 13
Property and construction 10
Family law 1
Business services 8
Number of UK partners 200
Number of other UK fee-earners 675
Total staff 1,550
Above material supplied by BLM.