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The firm: 2014-15 was a year of great evolution and growth for BLM. On 1 May 2014 Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP and Scottish law firm HBM Sayers combined to become BLM. On 1 December 2014 BLM combined with Northern Ireland-based law firm Campbell Fitzpatrick Solicitors, truly cementing its position as the UK and Ireland’s leading risk and insurance law business. In a move to further reinforce its position at the heart of the world’s largest insurance district, BLM relocated its entire London operations to a single flagship office at Plantation Place, EC3 in March 2015.
BLM is a £100m business and operates from 13 offices across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The combinations in Scotland and Northern Ireland provide BLM with the strength and breadth to work with more customers across more lines of business and in more locations.
BLM works with customers to save time and money, reducing risk, resolving disputes and managing claims. Customers’ 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.
With increased turnover year after year and with a positive outlook for the year ahead, BLM prides itself on innovation. Technology is an integral part of all 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.
The firm was awarded Insurance Law Firm of the Year at the 2014 Claims Awards. Its mission is to be one of the leading global risk and insurance law businesses by 2020.
In March 2015 BLM, along with Cunningham Lindsey, one of the largest loss adjusting and claims management companies in the world, came together to launch Profecta. Profecta refocuses and reinvents claims handling by combining loss adjusting, claims handling and litigation to deliver a streamlined service that saves both time and money. Profecta will reduce the lifecycle of claims and ensure greater cost certainty, and has been labelled a ‘game changer’ for the sector.
Types of work undertaken: The firm has an established reputation for its excellent record in handling a full range of matters, including 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 customers, competitors and the judiciary. In addition the firm has an established policy and government affairs team which often acts as a conduit between government, policy makers, and the firm and its customers.
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. In January 2015 former Law Commissioner David Hertzell joined BLM as a consultant to educate and inform the firm’s customers around the implementation of the Insurance Act 2015.
The firm is regularly involved in test cases and high-profile litigation. Key examples are 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. More recently, Gosling v Screwfix was the first finding of fundamental dishonesty after Summers. In February 2015 the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill was given Royal Assent – a fitting conclusion to many years of hard work by BLM in the fraud arena.
In 2014 BLM represented the defendant insurer in the ground-breaking mesothelioma-related cases Collins (1) Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and (2) Stena Line Irish Sea Ferries Ltd and Heneghan v Manchester Dry Docks Ltd & Others – the first authority to decide the correct approach to compensation in asbestos-related lung cancer cases where more than one defendant has exposed the claimant to asbestos in breach of duty.
Other offices: Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Londonderry and Southampton
Number of UK partners 200
Number of other UK fee-earners 800
Total staff 1,600
Above material supplied by BLM.