Firm Profile > BLM > Manchester, England

BLM
KING'S HOUSE
42 KING STREET WEST
MANCHESTER
M3 2NU
England

Clinical negligence: defendant Tier 1

BLM's defendant clinical negligence team is well-versed in handling high value and complex litigation brought against healthcare professionals and organisations providing healthcare services. Areas of specialism include dental negligence, ophthalmic treatments, cosmetic procedures and cases arising out of nursing homes and prisons. Sarah Woodwark leads the practice while 'outstanding solicitor' Chris Dexter is also recommended.

Testimonials

Extraordinarily hardworking team coupled with a real empathy for client difficulties.’

The Manchester office is led by some extremely experienced partners who lead a very strong team. Importantly, not only do they have the knowledge and experience to get great results, but they are also deeply committed to providing an excellent level of client service.

The team has a great depth and breath of knowledge. They work across a large spread of the industry – from care homes to prisons and most in between. In my view this it is a particular strength of able to understand how all aspects of the industry operate and inter relate.

Chris Dexter inspires confidence. He has a very sure manner and brilliant technical knowledge. An outstanding solicitor with razor sharp judgement.

‘Rachel Barnes gets to the root of the issues quickly. She is rapidly responsive, very pragmatic and provides concise no-nonsense advice.

Key clients

Medical protection

Dental protection

G4S

RCN

CNA Hardy

Ecclesiastical

Allianz

Zurich

Hiscox

QBE

Beazley

AllMedPro

Health and safety Tier 1

BLM has strength in sectors including manufacturing, construction and care, handling complex fatal accident investigations and high profile inquests for public and private sector clients alike. The team also offers a 24-hour helpline for immediate post-incident advice, encompassing attendance at site and legal advice representation. Practice head Helen Devery focuses on defending companies and individuals in investigations and prosecutions. David Rainey was promoted to partner in May 2018.

Key clients

Zurich Insurance

Allianz Insurance

Ecclessiastical

Travelers

Liberty

Aviva

Chubb

Warburtons Limited

Redrow Homes Limited

Oldham Council

Stockport Council

QBE

Thomas Cook

CNA Hardy

Barbican

AIG

Areas

Thames Valley Community Rehabilitation Company

Persimmon

Travelodge

Sainsburys

Protector

Personal injury: defendant Tier 1

BLM's substantial personal injury defence team has considerable expertise across the whole spectrum of cases. Jonathan Clay and Joanne Francis jointly lead the practice, which acts for a wide range of clients in the public sector, as well as charities, SMEs and multinational companies across sectors including retail, leisure, construction, manufacturing and the motor industry. Key team members include Andrew Kerr, Ruth Graham, David Spencer, while four lawyers were promoted to the partnership in the team during 2018 - Lauren GosnellLouise Stubbs, Steven Lynch and David Rainey. Associate Nicola Overmire is also recommended.

Testimonials

Vast experience across the industry, with an unrivalled team of partners.’

‘David Spencer has an ability to get to the heart of complex issues of liability and quantum. Vast and almost unique knowledge of motor sports claims ‘

‘Andrew Kerr has an unrivalled experience of catastrophic value PI claims.

BLM are a leading practice for defendant insurance. Their partners have genuine strength in depth, which cascades down through more junior associates.

Andrew Kerr is unflappable, highly intelligent and modest. He has excellent commercial judgement and attention to detail. If anyone sued me I’d want him on the job.

Gill Rothwell is quietly spoken but tenacious. Huge experience, great technical skills and almost psychic ability to predict settlement values.’

Victoria Jackson is a rising star, superb at covering the proliferation of noise claims.’

Very personable, with an excellent combination of diligence and approachability.’

BLM’s Manchester office is the first port of call for almost all major insurers. In catastrophic injury work they are adept at engaging with claims at an early (pre-action) stage and are able to ensure that claims are sensibly and swiftly dealt with, sometimes even before proceedings have be issued. The partners and associates have a strong team of junior solicitors and paralegals supporting them.’

Andrew Kerr has a really good grasp and tactical awareness of how catastrophic injury claims work, and is able at an early stage to co-operate with claimant solicitors and work out route maps to both sides obtaining the necessary evidence to be in a position to consider settlement as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. He is determined and unflappable.’

‘Lauren Gosnell is really on top of her case load, knows the details of each one inside out and is enthusiastic and determined to get the best outcome in each case.’

Louise Stubbs instills her clients with complete confidence in her professional ability and her approach to cases. She is determined when it comes to a fight.’

Nicholas Thorne is calm and measured, and strikes up good working relationships with his opponents.

Andrew Williamson and Nicholas Thorne are bright and capable with excellent capacity to deal with the swings and roundabouts of the litigation process, and good knowledge of their field. The same applies to Alison Noonan and Danielle Worrow.’

David has an in-depth knowledge of the motor sports sector – he is popular with clients as he provides robust, tactically sound and practical advice to maximise success for those he represents.

The team has a wealth of experience in dealing with high value personal injury cases.

Sally Whalley is an excellent PI lawyer. She has outstanding interpersonal skills, and knows how to prepare, and to win, a case.’

The team has a solid background of work in this area which is passed on through the generations. Their practice and procedures are highly organised to assist in bringing out the best from each individual but also assist in analysis of cases at greater depth.

BLM’s strength is founded upon their specialisation and deep knowledge of the insurance sector upon which they focus. They have excellent, seasoned, experienced professionals providing active, hands on solutions rather than a number of their process led competitors who are content, rather than outcome, led.

Stuart Furniss, Elizabeth Wallace and Lauren Gosnell are class acts in terms of identifying key issues, garnering the requisite evidence and advancing cases efficiently, while managing their insurers clients expectations. They provide prompt and accurate service to the clients and know the best occasions on which to involve counsel prior to any settlement meeting, medication or trial.’

Luisa Lamb is particularly knowledgeable and a great leader for the Manchester team.’

Lauren Gosnell goes the extra mile for her clients. She has the ability to hold her nerve and remain focused on the real issue in a case when unexpected developments occur.’

‘Paula Jefferson: She is hugely experienced in abuse cases, acting for a wide range of religious institutions and their insurers. She does so with tact and good sense.’

Streamlined and efficient personal injury lawyers dealing with defence cases in a cost effective manner.

Stuart Furniss is focused and very able.

BLM has populated their Manchester office with the best PI lawyers in the north west. As a result it is not unusual for insurers to send catastrophic claims to BLM’s Manchester office even where the claim has no north west connection. All of the lawyers are extremely hard working and know their stuff as well as, and in some cases better, than anyone else.

‘Andrew Kerr has the intellectual ability to master the most complex claims – clients love his calm and authoritative approach.’

‘David Spencer is an absolute master at client handling, right at the top of his game and an instinctively good lawyer.’

‘Lauren Gosnell is probably the hardest working solicitor I know and will always put the client’s needs at the top of the agenda, as well as having the know-how to manage a multimillion-pound claim.

‘Chloe Davies is utterly reliable and a crucial part of the team.

BLM Manchester are probably the biggest firm in the NW handling Defendant PI work across the full spectrum from catastrophic injury to industrial disease to motor claims. The firm offers nothing less than a gold standard service. It has absolutely the right balance between a dynamic commercial approach to its cases and old school client care. It has unrivalled technical expertise and insight into industry developments and how to best advance their client’s cause in those matters.’

Ruth Graham is a wise head with bags of experience whom the insurer clients warm to and can trust.

Ruth Graham has huge experience in the sector and is very pragmatic and results-oriented.’

A dynamic team with a broad range of knowledge and great depth of experience to deal with large loss claims. The partners are very much hands on and spend a lot of their time working on the cases.’

Stuart Hardy is client focused and a great team leader. He has a brilliant grasp of the technical and commercial realities of litigating complex legal disputes.’

‘Andrew Kerr has an excellent mind and an eye for detail.’

‘Nicholas Thorne has a calm, reassuring manner that instills confidence.’

‘David Spencer is robust and a good litigator.’

‘Karen Redmore has excellent technical and legal knowledge and good sense of judgment.

There are few firms that can match their personal injury, regulatory, and insurance knowledge in the field of motorsports accident litigation.

David Spencer is highly experienced, and has the ability to cut through cases and see past the irrelevant detail. A seasoned negotiator who’s never intimidated. I’d want him on my side.’

Key clients

Allianz

CNA

Protector

Travelers

Warburtons

Persimmon

Travelodge

Redrow

MAG

Holts

JW Lees

Karro Food Group

Zurich

AXA XL

Ringway Jacobs

Liberty

Thames Valley Police

Sainsburys

Aviva

Boparan

Peel Ports

Carlsberg

Matalan

Odeon

Network Rail

Ageas

Hastings

QBE

DLG

MIB

Ecclesiastical

Aspen Risk

Chubb

AXA

Covea

Professional negligence Tier 1

The BLM professional negligence team is led by Jason Nash - 'one of the most experienced and best-connected partners in the country in this area.' The practice acts for professionals from all disciplines and has particular expertise in professional indemnity claims and in handling claims relating to fraud, especially where solicitors are involved. On the non-contentious side the team assists clients with the drafting of policy wordings and terms and conditions. Nash works alongside Ben Parks, who specialises in defending high value claims brought against surveyors, brokers, accountants and construction professionals.

Testimonials

‘Jason Nash is one of the most experienced and best-connected partners in the country in this area; he has exceptional judgement.’

‘Ben Parks is an up and coming and very highly regarded partner.

‘Exceptionally good value for money; a very experienced team, offering insurers and defendants a highly competent service.’

‘BLM have achieved a rare consistency in the professional indemnity market in the last few years. They seem hardly to be buffeted by the winds of change which blow other firms off panels and into difficulties. This is probably because they boast such a consistently strong team.

‘The team is talented at all levels. Jason Nash has an eye for selecting strong asoociates who provide great support. It is one of the top three professional indemnity practices in the area.’

‘I particularly recommend two partners, Ben Parks and Jason Nash. Ben is calm and measured, but his calmness masks a steely resolve. He has a habit of getting good results. Jason is as tenacious as he is sagacious. He has a nose for a weak case and will hunt it down mercilessly.

‘Jason Nash is highly experienced in leading teams dealing with the heaviest of cases. He is a born negotiator and has a strong commercial feel.’

‘Ben Parks goes from strength to strength. He has developed into a very safe pair of hands in whom clients repose trust.

‘Richard Gould is an associate who is both efficient and mature. He has a good feel for which cases to fight.’

‘Jason Nash is responsive, pragmatic, and highly personable.’

Key clients

QBE

Zurich

Barbican

RSA

Hiscox

HDI

Manchester Underwriting

AXA

Local government Tier 2

BLM handles a range of work for local government clients and boasts experience across development work, site acquisitions and funding, governance, abuse and child sexual exploitation, social care, misfeasance, regulatory matters, social housing, personal injury, IP, media and communications instructions. Commercial advisory head Stephen Lintott specialises in real estate mandates. Paul Tarne, who is experienced in civil claims, and Matthew Hyam, who is noted for his social housing expertise, jointly head the team.

Key clients

Wirral MBC

Knowsley MBC

Sheffield City Council

Stockport MBC

Lancaster City Council

West Lancashire Borough Council

Lancashire County Council

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service

Rochdale MBC

Blackpool Council

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Social housing Tier 2

BLM regularly represents social landlords in housing management matters, and it stands out for its litigation expertise. The team handles a range of mandates involving anti-social behaviour, disrepair, housing fraud, inquests and regulatory matters. The practice has recently broadened and is also able to offer property and commercial advice to social housing clients, which includes advising on development and regeneration projects, acquisitions, finance and governance matters. Matthew Hyam in Liverpool leads the housing management and litigation team and commercial advisory head Stephen Lintott is experienced in housing projects.

Key clients

Urban Splash

First Choice Homes

The Riverside Group

Halton Housing Trust

Places for People Group

Peaks & Plains Housing Trust

Wolverhampton Homes

Clarion Housing Group

Sanctuary Housing Group

Phoenix Community Housing Group

Onward Homes

Transport Tier 2

BLM handles personal injury and recovery claims with a focus on the bus, coach, rail, tram and air sectors. Areas of expertise include pre-litigation claims, personal injury litigation, driving prosecutions, public enquiries, health and safety prosecutions and inquests. The 'hugely experienced, pragmatic and results orientedRuth Graham leads the Manchester motor team.

Key clients

AJG

Brakes

East Yorkshire Motor Services

Manchester Airport

Marsh

Mersey Rail

Metroline

Metrolink

National Express

Network Rail

Northern Rail

RATP

Shearings and their insurer, Protector

Transdev

Warburtons

Willis

Wolsley

Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 3

The newly established private wealth team at BLM , which was launched in 2018 with the hire of practice head James Bereford from Slater and Gordon , provides advice to ultra-high-net-worth individuals, trustees and family businesses on matters including wills, estate planning, inheritance tax planning, LPAs, asset protection and probate. The firm has particular expertise in advising families with disabled children and vulnerable individuals.

Commercial litigation: Manchester Tier 4

BLM handles the full gamut of commercial litigation matters, including disputes relating to insolvency, breach of contract, contracts, debt recovery, fraud and injunctive relief. Clients include insurers, multinational corporations, SMEs, public sector organisations and high-net-worth individuals. Craig McAdam, Nick Gee and Steve Kuncewicz head the team, which has continued to build on the the formation of its commercial advisory department, which was launched in late 2017 on the back of a 33-lawyer team hire from Slater and Gordon.

Key clients

Sainsbury’s

Travelodge

Mission Mars

John Welsby

Urban Splash

Schuh Ltd

Ecclesiastical Insurance

Commercial property: Manchester Tier 4

BLM handles a range of commercial, residential and public sector development mandates, and is also active on a number of regeneration projects. The education, charities, industrial, hotels, retail and leisure sector are key areas of focus, while property investment and finance work is a growing area of expertise for the department. Commercial advisory head Stephen Lintott and Stephen Crook, who is experienced in portfolio management mandates, head the team.

Testimonials

The team has extensive knowledge of commercial property law and offers a seamless service.

The team is partner-led, has strong commercial astuteness and good attention to detail; it understands very well what clients need.

Stephen Lintott is very approachable and responsive.

Key clients

Urban Splash

Schuh

Maxilead Limited

Realty Estates/Deansgate Securities

Evonik UK

Salboy and related entities

FICM

Property (Done)

Dwell Developments/Dwell Properties

Redwater Group

McCaul Group

The Caravan Club

University of Central Lancashire

Santander UK

Milliken Industrials

Etc Urban (Guildhall) Limited

Scarisbrick Hall School

Lancashire County Developments

Cramant Homes

Methodist Church (Manchester Circuit)

 

Corporate and commercial: Manchester Tier 4

BLM advises property owners, developers, local authorities and funders on development, regeneration and infrastructure joint ventures. Other areas of expertise include M&A, venture capital and high-net-worth investments and restructuring. Other key client sectors include retail and e-commerce, medical, manufacturing, travel and professional services. The firm also advises on commercial matters including contracts, data protection and outsourcing contracts. The team is headed by Daniel Varney, Steve Kuncewicz and Jonathan Askin, who joined as partner from Weightmans LLP.

Key clients

Oliver James Associates Limited

St Helens Borough Council

Oldham Borough Council

Hardroad (Builders Supply (North West)

Palletower (GB) Limited

MTC Novo

Sandals

Direct Line Group

Hiscox

Persimmon Homes

Interpublic Group

The Ardonagh Group Limited

J Parker Dutch Bulbs Limited

University of Central Lancashire

Wondrwall Limited

Saks Medical & Cosmetic Limited

Santander UK Plc

Cert Property Group

Avensure Limited

Bugler Smith Limited

Builtvisible Limited

Landscape Institute

Tangerine Limited

Raised Floor Limited

Sputnik Digital

Employment Tier 4

The employment department at BLM, which is led by Jim Lister, has diverse expertise across a range of sectors including healthcare, where the team advises some of the largest care home groups - as well as retail, travel, hospitality and technology. The team also acts for most major insurers in relation to employment tribunal claims, regulatory prosecutions and investigations.

Key clients

Rezidor Hotels Group

Slater and Gordon LLP

Halliwell Jones Group

JLG EMEA B.V.

Black and Decker

Healthcare Management Solutions Group

Bank of England

Lubrizol Inc

GGR Group

London International School of Performing Arts

Beaverbrooks the Jewellers Limited

Kalibrate Technologies

Russell Hobbs

Park Inn Hotels

PRGX UK

Eclerx Group

Metrolink

Harley Medical Group

HCA Group

Construction Tier 6

At BLM team head Jahanara Hussain is experienced in construction and engineering projects and is instructed by private and public sector clients such as developers, contractors, funders and local authorities. The team is particularly noted for its education sector expertise.

Key clients

UCLan

FICM

Tibst

Magnificent Developments

Property (Done)

Domis Construction

Etc Urban (Guildhall)

Schuh

Langtree Property Partners

Personal injury: defendant Tier 1

BLM has a full-service insurance practice, which services local and national insurer and corporate clients. It has a general liability unit, which is active in employers’ liability, motor, public liability and health and safety claims. It also has specialist occupational disease and fraud units. James Harvey heads up the department, which includes Mike Dobson. Dobson's work includes complex claims involving serious brain and spinal injuries, as well as cases with a foreign law element. Adrian Marston joined from Weightmans LLP, while Henry Bermingham moved in the opposite direction.

Key clients

DLG

Aviva

AXA xl

Affinity Water

Travelodge

Babcock

Bloor Homes

National Express

Personal injury: defendant Tier 1

The personal injury group at BLM has a stellar reputation for handling a wide range of high-value and complex matters. Jointly headed by Andrew Hibbert and Joe Wakeford, the practice group has expertise in the areas of health and safety and construction. The ten-partner team has a variety of specialisms ranging from loss and catastrophic injury to occupational disease claims, and also handles regulatory matters. Stephen Hazleton retired, but Bilal Mirza joined the team from DWF.

Testimonials

‘Andrew Hibbert remains the standout defendant personal injury solicitor in the region.’

Clare Garnett’s knowledge is fantastic and her service levels are very very good.’

Key clients

DLG

QBE

Travelers

Hastings

Allianz

MIB

ERS

Certo

Markel

Aviva

LV

Dorset County Council

Through Transport

Personal injury: defendant Tier 1

BLM 'remains a top-tier firm' serving the needs of the insurance industry in the context of catastrophic injury claims. Apart from major insurers, corporate clients as well as public sector entities seek the practice's advice on the full-range of personal injury matters, including accidents at work, motor claims as well as disease, public liability and fatal cases. The London casualty team is headed by Matthew Ford, who has a substantial track record defending complex and large loss claims across a range of industries, namely construction, retail, manufacturing and travel. Leading disease specialist Michelle Penn leads the occupational disease group; while the catastrophic injury team, which handles claims of the utmost severity often including cross-border elements, is under the supervision of Antony French. The team is regularly instructed to advise on spinal cord injuries, amputation cases, high-value chronic pain claims, as well as brain injury cases, for which Claire Collins is noted as a subtle brain damage specialist. High-profile group litigation related to sexual/physical abuse and bullying cases are the key areas of expertise for Michael Pether, who has a strong reputation for claims concerning local authority and institutional liability.

Testimonials

One of the biggest players in the insurance market, handling personal injury claims across the whole range of sectors. They are a leading firm in handling non-recent abuse work for defendants, including public authorities, schools, religious organisations and sports bodies.

Great industry experience, professional approach, genuine commitment.

They can be guaranteed to provide sound and pragmatic advice which will ensure that their clients achieve the best outcome in what are sensitive and difficult cases.

The defendant insurance team at BLM provides not just efficient and tenacious defence of litigation, but also delivers this in a commercially astute and pragmatic way. They have wide knowledge and understanding of the insurance market and an awareness of the need to ensure that reserves are properly assessed and monitored.

The team from a claimant perspective is always robust, professional and whilst acting in their insurance client’s best interests throughout, are nevertheless understanding of the impact injuries can have.

Vanessa Latham is outstanding in dealing with work-related stress claims.

James Chambers has a clear view of where a case should go and will always achieve that end for his client.’

Caroline Craigie has great experience and tenacity. Her unflappability stands her in good stead and she is ably assisted in her work by Nicola Warren.

Michael Pether has two decades of experience in claims concerning local authority and institutional liability for sexual and physical abuse. There are few if any solicitors in the defendant insurance arena with more experience.

Claire Collins has mastered the balancing act of supervising her team whilst retaining an in-depth knowledge of her files. She provides excellent balanced advice.

Andrew Williamson is always on top of his brief and the provider of realistic advice.

Antony French is a very commercial operator who weighs up the economic balance of cases very well.

Key clients

Allianz Insurance

Aviva

AXA

Chubb

Hiscox

Liberty Mutual Insurance

QBE Insurance

Zurich

MS Amlin

Personal injury: defendant Tier 1

The 'knowledgeable and client-centric' team at BLM have a strong track-record across the spectrum of personal injury defendant work, from lower-value claims through to highly complex matters of the utmost severity. Based out of Cardiff, but also able to leverage the expertise of practitioners across the firm's national network of offices should the need arise, the firm has the critical mass to resource matters utilising practitioners with particular sub-specialisms, including Kerris Dale, who leads on motor claims; the 'very professionalJohn Roberts on public sector defence; and the 'vastly experiencedMatthew Harrington, who heads up the general liability and occupational disease sub-group.

Testimonials

‘Excellent at industrial disease work.’

Key clients

Cunningham Lindsey

Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council

Capita Insurance Services

Tata Steel UK

ECIC

BBA Aviation

Stagecoach/PSV

Professional discipline Tier 1

BLM stands out for its representation of healthcare professionals in disciplinary disputes with NHS England area teams and hospital trusts; the team also has considerable experience in appealing adverse outcomes to the Health, Education and Social Care Chamber of the First Tier Tribunal. In the regulatory space, the national department defends practitioners in investigations by the General Medical Council (GMC), interim and final hearings before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS), General Dental Council (GDC), Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and General Optical Council (GOC). It recently successfully defended a senior dispensing optician before the GOC, which followed allegations of sexual harassment and dishonesty. Manchester-based Clare Chapman heads the firm’s professional discipline and regulatory practice group, Cardiff's Jane Lang leads the healthcare advice and inquest practice group, and Adam Weston heads the medical crime team in the London office. Other key partners are Rosie Shapiro in London and Lisa Jones and Katie Costello in Manchester. Max Eckstein and Rebecca Gowling in Manchester and London-based Laura Smith are experienced associates.

Clinical negligence: defendant Tier 2

The team at BLM is renowned for its clinical negligence practice which is concentrated in the healthcare sector where the team acts on behalf of the Medical Protection Society. Led out of Southampton, practice head Joe Wakeford, who also practices in the firm's Bristol office, has over 25 years of experience with a particular focus on mental health work. Stephanie Castell handles large claims around catastrophic injury, and Clare Garnett is also recommended.

Testimonials

Excellent service

Clare Garnett’s knowledge is fantastic

Clinical negligence: defendant Tier 2

Led out of Cardiff by Jane Lang , and also able to leverage the expertise of practitioners spread across the firm's national network of offices, BLM has a strong reputation on behalf of the members of healthcare defence organisations. The team has expertise across the spectrum of cases, including those involving alleged delay in diagnosis of cancer, surgical claims, brain injury, and claims brought under the Human Rights Act 1998. Lang also regularly defends healthcare professionals in disciplinary hearings before their regulators.

Key clients

Medical Protection

Dental Protection

National Pharmacy Association

Health and safety Tier 2

BLM is best known for its work in complex fatal accident investigations and high-profile inquests. It is strong in HSE and regulatory cases with a criminal background. The team has particular expertise in the manufacturing, construction, public and care sectors and offers a cross-sector regulatory service to private and public sector clients. It routinely acts in the most serious cases involving corporate manslaughter and gross negligence manslaughter. Robert Davies in Birmingham is well-regarded.

Testimonials

Robert Davies is immensely experienced and knows what he is talking about‘.

Key clients

Allianz Insurance

QBE Insurance

Health and safety Tier 2

Particularly active in the manufacturing, construction, public and care sectors, BLM provides an 'excellent service' to insurers and corporates in relation to complex fatal accident investigations and high-profile inquests.  Team head, and recently promoted senior partner, Matthew Harrington has vast experience across health and safety regulatory matters and prosecutions, and is noted for his 'methodical and commercial approach'. The firm's national 24-hour helpline and access to advice in the immediate aftermath of an incident (including attendance at site), ensures that clients are well-served throughout the process.

Personal injury: defendant Tier 2

BLM acts for insurances in respect of injury claims involving chronic pain, brain injuries, traumata, paralysis as well as upper and lower limb amputations arising from road traffic accidents, fire, animal escaping and accidents in the agricultural sector. Rebecca Shafto also deals with cases involving injuries and diseases caused by the consumption of legal and illegal drugs. The firm also deals with infant claimants.

Key clients

DLG

QBE

Ecclesiastical Insurance Group

Gallagher Bassett

North Somerset Council

NSL

First Port

LV=

Personal injury: defendant Tier 2

Insurers, corporates and public bodies alike tap into BLM’s expertise for advice on various types of claims, such as those involving fatalities, severe bodily and spinal injuries and stress. The firm also operates a catastrophic injury group led by Andrew Hibbert , comprising of nine sub-groups, each focusing on specific strategies to tackle catastrophic injury related topics such as periodical payments orders, subtle or severe brain injury, court of protection and mental issues. The firm also provides a specialist costs recovery unit.

Key clients

Fusion Insurance Services

Towergate Commercial Underwriting

Asda

Zurich Insurance plc

Pen Underwriting plc

Liberty

One Insurance Limited

Bradford Metropolitan District Council

Wakefield Metropolitan District Council

Sompo International

Professional negligence Tier 2

BLM generates work from a wide range of insurers and corporates in high-value and complex claims. It represents professionals of all disciplines, and has witnessed a significant increase in fraud-related claims recently. Team head Julian Smart is frequently instructed by professional indemnity insurers to defend negligence claims against various professionals, such as surveyors, accountants, engineers and brokers.

Testimonials

A top-notch insurance practice‘.

The team has a broad base of experience and expertise in various areas of professional negligence. It is an approachable and user-friendly team‘.

Julian Smart  is excellent, very calm and collected and is very good at diffusing difficult situations‘.

Julian Smart is quietly assured and reassuring for insureds and insurers alike. Julian really knows his stuff and is able to robustly defend an insured’s position in an understated and non-confrontational way‘.

Julian Smart is excellent with clients and sees the ‘big picture’ when it comes to high value/complex litigation‘.

Lucy Tolond is an outstanding litigator‘.

Lucy Tolond is excellent – hands on and with impressive knowledge of the insurance market‘.

Key clients

QBE

Everest Syndicate 2786

European Risk Insurance Company

Aviva

NFU Mutual

Collegiate

Shipping Tier 2

BLM in Bristol predominantly focuses on marine insurance work, with a larger focus on so-called 'wet' shipping matters; this area is split relatively equally between injury and non-injury work. Team head Gemma Pearce, who is dual-qualified as a solicitor and as a barrister, has 18 years of experience of the sector. The work includes matters involving charter parties, bills of lading, the supply and carriage of goods, cargo, and passenger and crew claims. Policy coverage disputes are another area of strength.

Clinical negligence: defendant Tier 3

BLM receives instructions from a range of clients across the healthcare sector, offering advice in high-value and complex matters. Insurers, medical defence organisations, clinics, care homes and individual healthcare professionals not only seek the practice's representation in civil claims arising from negligence in clinical care but also at inquests, as well as before regulators in disciplinary proceedings. The 'highly competent' Vicki Swanton heads the 'responsive and knowledgeable' team that also has a strong track record handling multi-party litigation.

Testimonials

‘The London office is led by some extremely experienced partners who manage a very strong team. Not only do they have the knowledge and experience to get great results, but they seem to be deeply committed to providing an excellent level of client service.’

‘The BLM team is highly proficient and knowledgeable.’

‘Vicki is effortlessly confident, which is immensely reassuring to clients and in the last few years she has worked on some very large cases and yet has remained entirely unflappable.’

‘Greg McEwen is extremely thorough and has a very sharp eye for detail and numbers.’

‘Rosie Shapiro is a delight to work with; she is an excellent communicator, very professional and responds quickly to any concerns or questions.’

Key clients

Royal College of Nursing

Hiscox

Harley Medical Group

Specsavers

RSA

HCA

FODO

Zurich

Crime: fraud Tier 3

BLM is recognised for its fraud expertise in the insurance sector. Head of the fraud practice group Sarah Hill handles a diverse range of matters from large-scale organised fraud to high-value exaggerated fraud cases. Daniel Thomas is also well regarded for his work on fraudulent employers’ liability/public liability claims as well as motor claims. Simon Hammond left in January 2019 to join NHS Resolution as director of claims.

Testimonials

The specialist team is good at representing insurance companies in relation to potentially fraudulent civil claims‘.

Key clients

DLG

QBE

Jet2

Education: institutions Tier 3

The education group at BLM has broad expertise in matters ranging from discrimination claims and admissions to regulatory and contractual issues. Overseen by Elliot Pound, the team has specialisms in judicial review and in the field of discrimination. Key team members include Richard Wilkins, who handles contentious and non-contentious education matters with an emphasis on exclusions and special needs education; Martin Jensen; and associate Geneviève Rich. Public sector head Michael Pether has experience handling employers' liability claims.

Key clients

Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine

The University of Cambridge

University of Surrey

King’s College London

University of East London

University of Newcastle

University of Central Lancashire

Health and safety Tier 3

BLM handles a range of regulatory, civil and criminal health and safety issues with particular expertise advising on incidents arising in the construction, engineering, manufacturing sectors and care home-related cases. Henry Kirkup, who frequently assists clients in investigations and prosecutions by the police and HSE, heads up the team, which includes experienced inquest advocate Andrew Hetherington.

Insurance and reinsurance litigation Tier 3

BLM, which has well-established strength in handling property damage claims, also fields a growing range of work for insurers and brokers on professional negligence, reinsurance, commercial risk, personal injury and cyber insurance matters. John O’Shea heads the property damage and recovery team, supported by property damage expert Mark Aitken. Head of reinsurance Gavin Coull and Damian Cleary, who specialises in business interruption, property and onshore energy, both joined from Foran Glennon (UK) LLP in July 2018. Ross Baker works on professional indemnity claims arising from personal injury accidents, data breaches, medical incidents and frauds.

Testimonials

Painstaking, thorough, persistent, well-respected firm

This firm stands out from others in its approach – they understand our company’s values and philosophies and provide advice that incorporates this. They are approachable, knowledgeable and thorough. Their advice is always detailed and balanced and they always get good outcomes

Martin Jensen is an impressive lawyer, very effective in complex cases involving financial and property professionals

Philip Adamis and associate Hanna Platt are incredibly approachable and professional. Their advice is always well balanced, detailed and gets to the heart of the issues perfectly. They also have great people skills

Alexander Traill and solicitor Nick Benson give outstanding attention to detail

Key clients

AGEAS

Allianz

Amtrust

Aspen

Aviva

AXA

Direct Line Group

Ecclesiastical

Generali

IGI

HDI Global Specialty

LV=

Mapfre

Munich RE

WRB

Zurich

Apollo Syndicate

Product liability: defendant Tier 3

BLM fields a strong team of dedicated practitioners, who are regularly instructed by insurers, manufacturers and corporate clients. The firm also has a specialist food group, which assists with related claims and consultations. Jim Sherwood heads the practice and is a key contact for fire and flood damage and commercial property claims, as well as regulatory issues. Edinburgh-based Ian Leach has been active in the field for more than 30 years and has a particular focus on pharmaceutical disputes. Michael Harvey and Carys Oatham are also noted.

Key clients

Allianz

Aviva

Direct Line Group

Generali

QBE

Sunseeker International

Zurich

Professional negligence Tier 3

BLM defends a range of professionals in complex negligence disputes; it handles cases involving lawyers, property professionals, construction professionals, accountants, auditors, IFAs, banks, insurance brokers, fund managers, local authorities, trade unions and educational institutions. The team has a 'versatile, pragmatic and business-led approach' and defended David Rubin & Partners, a prominent firm of insolvency practitioners and its insurers, in a £1.2m, long-running claim brought by a claimant creditor who alleged that the insured had acted in breach of trust. Despite the departure of construction experts Keith Lonsdale and Michael Salau to Beale & Co, construction specialists Gary Wicks and Gary Thwaites have joined from Plexus Law.

Testimonials

It is approachable and knowledgeable and has an appreciation of the client’s business needs.

Alexander Traill, Nick Benson and Gary Wicks are recommended.

Key clients

Zurich

RSA

Aviva

Travelers

RIBA

UNISON

CNA Hardy

The Bar Council/The Bar Standards Board

HDI Global Specialty (formerly Inter Hannover)

QBE

Commercial litigation: Birmingham Tier 4

BLM has a strong commercial disputes practice which has particularly expertise in commercial fraud recovery and property disputes. Julian Smart leads the team and handles claims of deceit, misappropriated assets, as well as conspiracy and breach of fiduciary duty. Other notable names include commercial fraud recovery specialist Caroline Kane and property disputes expert Jagdeep Hayre .

Key clients

Compass Group Plc

Affinity Water

Fujitsu Plc

European Risk Insurance Company

Birmingham City Council

Towergate Financial Group Ltd

Travelodge

AS Watson plc

Glen Dimplex Group

Commercial property: corporate occupiers Tier 4

BLM is active in the corporate occupiers space in London and elsewhere in the UK, representing both landlords and tenants on leasing matters, headquarter relocations, disposals and acquisitions. Stephen Lintott is a specialist in estate management, development and lease work while Stephen Crook routinely acts for public sector and local authorities on acquisitions, disposals and developments. The pair head the practice alongside Peter Klim , who is strong on all fronts within the commercial property arena.

Key clients

Be At One

Frank Truman

Patrick Perry

Trades Union Congress

FDA

PCS

Prospect

MTC Novo

Community

Construction: contentious Tier 4

BLM's contentious practice advises contractors, engineers, architects and insurers on a range of domestic and international disputes. Other areas of work include construction insurance issues and advising on fee claims, delay and disruption claims and contractual disputes. The practice is led by Guy Lane and Robert Stevenson. Lane specialises in advising consultants on contract administration issues, fee claims and liability disputes. Stevenson acts for developers and contractors on a range of issues in several jurisdictions.

Key clients

Aviva

Geo Underwriting

Hastings

Health and safety Tier 4

BLM recently strengthened its team with the addition of Peter James, who joined from Harrison Clark Rickerbys. James. who is an expert in corporate and gross negligence manslaughter case, now heads the London team, working in tandem with Manchester-based national head Helen Devery. Devery also has a strong track record on manslaughter cases.

Key clients

Aviva

Allianz

Fusion

Mitsui Sumitomo Underwriting at Lloyds

Regis Mutual Management

Reputation management Tier 4

BLM focuses its reputation management practice on defending claims brought against a wide range of clients, in particular insurers, reinsurers, government bodies and police forces, alongside more traditional media such as magazines, newspapers and marketing companies. The team that advises on both contentious and non-contentious issues is led by Tim Smith, who is an expert on defamation and malicious falsehood. Steve Kuncewicz acts mainly for corporates and Julia Varley regularly assists local authorities. Furthermore, the department has been actively involved in government consultations on defamation reform, costs in defamation proceedings and internet defamation.

Key clients

Hiscox

QBE

RSA

Aviva

Zurich Insurance

CNA

Ecclesiastical Insurance

Medical Protection Society

Manchester Underwriting

Education: schools Tier 5

Elliot Pound is a key name to note in BLM's education team, along with Richard Wilkins. The team has experience handling issues relating to school admissions and exclusions and has sector strengths in insurance and the public sector. Other lawyers in the team include Martin Jensen; Manchester-based Jim Lister, who advises schools on governance issues; Geneviève Rich; and Michael Pether.

Employment: employers Tier 7

BLM has a particularly strong reputation for public sector employment work, where it counts a number of MPs among its clients, and in the employment practices liability insurance sector. Other clients include local authorities, educational institutions, SMEs, insurers and trade unions. The team regularly handles employment tribunal claims, while also advising on a broad range of non-contentious issues. The practice is led by Andrew McDonald, whose recent work includes advising on the TUPE aspects of service provision changes and handling discrimination claims. Vanessa Latham specialises in contentious matters.

Key clients

CNA Hardy Insurance Company Ltd

RSA

Jackson Lift Group

Aviva

Arden Software

Drayton Manor High School

Sandals

Travel

The team at BLM specialises in claims brought under the Package Travel Regulations (PTR) for major tour operators and insurers; it is a 'very commercially-minded defence team with good knowledge of the industry and a strong record of defending claims'. Travel group head Matthew Ford leads the travel and tour operator liability team and is a 'capable and confident negotiator'. Ford defended a tour operator on a group claim for gastric illness. The team is 'astute to the commercial realities and requirements of the leisure and tourism market'; Emily List, who was promoted to partner in 2018, has a 'calm head under pressure'; and associate Deborah Sayers is 'excellent at case management, is engaging, and is adept at marshalling expert evidence'.

Testimonials

The team has a wide spread of talent at several centres and is able to accommodate a major case load without any compromise of quality.

Deborah Sayers is a very well-connected solicitor with a good market understanding and knowledge of her clients.

Deborah Sayers‘ instinct for the sources of additional evidence to add value to what is provided by her client is second-to-none.

One always feels in control of events when Deborah Sayers is holding the reins of a case.

Matthew Ford is accessible, easy to communicate with and always on top of events.

A good, solid defendant travel industry practice.

Matthew Ford is very well respected by his commercial clients and has a very good eye for the critical elements of each claim.

The attention-to-detail and preparation of the team’s work is meticulous.

Emily List is a pleasure to work with and provides great results for her clients.

Matthew Ford has an excellent relationship with tour operator clients.

Key clients

Thomas Cook Tour Operations

Sandals/Unique Vacations

Jet2 Holidays

Red Sea Holidays

Olympic Holidays

British Airways

Stena Line

Direct Line Group – Travel

Intercontinental Hotels Group

AXA Corporate Solutions

Ryanair

QBE

Allianz UK

Barry Nilsson

Audley Travel

Generali

Chubb

BLM is an ambitious business and seen as one of the largest and most expert suppliers to the UK legal insurance market. The firm has made considerable progress through key strategic appointments and hires, growth of our international offering and operational improvements through investments in areas such as data analytics and technology.

The firm is focused on driving its business towards its vision to be the leader in its chosen markets of insurance and commerce.

BLM’s purpose is to have a positive impact upon its clients’ businesses.  Fundamentally, it is helping them to reduce the time and money they spend on managing risk and resolving disputes.  Described in client surveys and legal directories as a firm with “its finger on the pulse of the market” and as a “technical powerhouse”, it presently represents 18 of the top 20 UK insurers, and many corporate clients, both in the UK and worldwide

The firm’s ambition to diversify led to the creation of a commercial advisory and private wealth business stream in 2017, which added to the breadth of services and expertise available to BLM clients in the UK and beyond.

BLM has an existing strong remit of international work and contacts, representing UK companies operating abroad, acting for a breadth of international organisations and handling high profile multijurisdictional cases.  In 2017 the firm created, along with several other founder members, Global Insurance Law Connect; a network which comprises like-minded risk and insurance law businesses. Global Insurance Law Connect comprises specialist insurance lawyers across more classes of business in more countries than many other similar networks. Global Insurance Law Connect was inspired by client demand and was established to support clients to confidently receive solutions to insurance and legal challenges around the globe.

The firm offers clients the best of both worlds: the experience of an established law firm, and the smart solutions of innovative technology and consultancy services.   A key aspect of BLM’s strategic ambition is to provide an innovative offering around its advanced analytics capability. The firm’s partnership with the London School of Economics and Political Science empowered it to grow this capability, developing prediction models to guide BLM’s advice to clients, as well as more sophisticated approaches to value litigation risk, improve decision-making and better manage portfolios of litigation risk. BLM Innovations, which the firm launched in 2019, comprises seven tools combining cutting-edge case management, communication and analytics tools to improve client outcomes and help with their business challenges. www.blmlaw.com/blminnovations

The firm also launched consultancy offering, BLM Consult in 2019. The BLM Consult team has been created from a combination of lawyers, change consultants and lean practitioners, from a wide range of industry sectors who can work collaboratively with clients to help their own change journeys. www.blmlaw.com/blmconsult

BLM’s team of over 200 partners and more than 900 legal specialists, focused upon the insurance and risk and commercial markets, is recognised for having the capability, creativity and energy to provide the right support to clients in a rapidly changing environment.

Department Name Email Telephone
Senior partner Matthew Harrington
Managing partner Vivienne Williams
Belfast Cormac Fitzpatrick
Birmingham James Harvey
Bristol Joe Wakeford
Cardiff Kerris Dale
Derry Cormac Fitzpatrick
Dublin Gavin Campbell
Edinburgh Ian Leach
Glasgow Frank Hughes
Leeds Henry Kirkup
Liverpool Joanne Francis
London Paula Jefferson
Manchester Luisa Lamb
Southampton Joe Wakeford
Global insurance law network Jim Sherwood
Photo Name Position Profile
 Michael Cairns  photo Michael Cairns
 Sarah Cartlidge  photo Sarah Cartlidge
 David Caswell  photo David Caswell
 Clare Chapman  photo Clare Chapman
 Katie Costello  photo Katie Costello
 Helen Devery  photo Helen Devery
 Claire Dinoff  photo Claire Dinoff
 Chris Fletcher  photo Chris Fletcher
 Michelle Flint  photo Michelle Flint
 Sally Hancock  photo Sally Hancock
 Stuart Hardy  photo Stuart Hardy
 Luisa Lamb  photo Luisa Lamb
 Catherine Mangham  photo Catherine Mangham
 Naomi McMaster  photo Naomi McMaster
 Andrew Millen  photo Andrew Millen
 Claire Opacic  photo Claire Opacic
 Ben Parks  photo Ben Parks
 Natalie Puce  photo Natalie Puce
 Donna Rawding  photo Donna Rawding
 Gill Rothwell  photo Gill Rothwell
 David Spencer  photo David Spencer
 Paul Wainwright  photo Paul Wainwright
 Elizabeth Wallace  photo Elizabeth Wallace
 Vivienne Williams  photo Vivienne Williams
Number of UK partners : 203
Number of other UK fee-earners : 907
Total staff : 1494