Firm Profile > BLM > Manchester, England

M3 2NU

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.


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



CNA Hardy








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






Warburtons Limited

Redrow Homes Limited

Oldham Council

Stockport Council


Thomas Cook

CNA Hardy




Thames Valley Community Rehabilitation Company





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.


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











JW Lees

Karro Food Group



Ringway Jacobs


Thames Valley Police




Peel Ports




Network Rail







Aspen Risk




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.


‘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







Manchester Underwriting


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



East Yorkshire Motor Services

Manchester Airport


Mersey Rail



National Express

Network Rail

Northern Rail


Shearings and their insurer, Protector





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



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.


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


Maxilead Limited

Realty Estates/Deansgate Securities

Evonik UK

Salboy and related entities


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


Direct Line Group


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


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


Eclerx Group


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




Magnificent Developments

Property (Done)

Domis Construction

Etc Urban (Guildhall)


Langtree Property Partners

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.

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.

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

The Lex 100 Verdict

'Highly-specialised' BLM's 'expertise in the insurance market' impressed many trainees, as did the breadth of practice areas on offer. The national firm has an 'ambitious plan moving forward' and 'aspires to become the leading insurance and risk law specialist by 2020'. BLM 'demands plenty from its trainees but is also considerate that they have other interests outside of work'. As a result, the 'hours are much more liveable' than at some larger firms and the 'atmosphere is more relaxed'. The work/life balance was applauded: 'I rarely stay at work later than 5:45pm' said one respondent; the firm has accordingly earned a Lex 100 Winner medal in this category. Colleagues are friendly and approachable and, as expressed by one recruit, 'I look up to them as the type of solicitor or partner I'd like to be in the future'. There is occasional 'dull admin work' and workloads can range from 'exceptionally busy to very quiet'. Yet, encouragingly, 'trainees are also entrusted with important work from the very beginning' and are definitely 'not just left to do administrative tasks'. Examples of exciting work which stood out for trainees were 'settling a case the week before trial, having materially contributed to putting us into the best negotiating position possible' and 'attending court and doing my own advocacy'. This is proof that trainees really are 'treated like NQ solicitors from the start'. Grumbles were few and far between but some recruits felt that the salary was 'a bit low when compared to other firms doing similar work'. To work for a firm which will give you 'a great deal of responsibility early on' where trainees are deeply valued, apply to BLM.