The Legal 500


Work 020 7638 2811
Fax 020 7920 0361

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
Retail    5
Leisure    5
TMT    5
Healthcare    7
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.

Legal Developments in the UK

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to

    How to build an investment fraud defence case that disproves prosecution allegations of dishonesty.

    With a town council now officially facing a fraud investigation, we examine what individuals in such a large body should do if they come under suspicion.
  • The risks of liberation

    The dangers that pension liberation and money laundering pose to those involved in pension funds and management.

    What has been achieved since the introduction of the Act that was intended to tackle bribery in business?

    Five banks being fined £3.6 billion in the US for manipulating forex is a stark reminder of the legal risks involved in currency trading. Here, Aziz Rahman of Rahman Ravelli examines how the brokers and the traders in forex can avoid legal problems.
  • Foreign Intercepts

  • Finding the 
right words

    In the recent case of Newbury v Sun Microsystems [2013], the defendant argued that an offer to settle proceedings was ‘in principle' only and that a binding contract could not be formed until further terms had been agreed and a formal contract had been signed. It supported this argument by referring to a statement, in the offer letter, that the settlement was to be ‘recorded in a suitably worded agreement'. 

  • Behind the corporate veil: is that all there is?

    That companies have an existence entirely separate to that of their shareholders and directors is a foundational principle of English law and commerce.

  • Restoring environmental damage: putting a price on ecosystem services

    On 7 August 2009 a 40-inch pipeline ruptured, spilling 5,400 cubic metres of crude oil into the soil and groundwater of La Crau nature reserve in southern France, a habitat protected under French and European law. The operator had to excavate and replace 60,000 tons of soil, install 70 wells to pump and treat groundwater and 25 pumps to skim oil from surface water, at a cost in the region of €50m. However, this was just the primary remediation (that is, restoring the site to the state it would have been if the damage had not occurred). The operator was also required to compensate for the damage to the habitats and the loss of the ecosystem services that would otherwise have been provided by La Crau nature reserve. Measures included purchasing land outside of the nature reserve and contributing to its management for a period of 30 years (over €1m), monitoring the water table for 20 years (over €500,000), monitoring fauna over three years (€150,000) and rehabilitation in accordance with best available ecological techniques (nearly €2m). Overall, the compensatory restoration (to compensate for the amount of time that the ecosystem was impacted) and complimentary restoration (to compensate for elements of the ecosystem that had been permanently lost) came to more than €6.5m. 

  • The role of arbitrators in EU antitrust law

    In May 2014, it will be ten years since Regulation No 1/2003 entered into force. When the legislator of the European Union adopted this Regulation on 16 December 2002, its main objective was to decentralise the enforcement of the two main provisions of EU antitrust law, Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (now Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)). Where do the arbitrators fit in this picture?