Firm Profile > BLM > London, England
30 FENCHURCH STREET
BLM > The Legal 500 Rankings
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.
‘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.‘
Liberty Mutual Insurance
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.
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.
‘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.’
Royal College of Nursing
Harley Medical Group
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.
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
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.
‘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‘
Direct Line Group
HDI Global Specialty
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.
Direct Line Group
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.
The Bar Council/The Bar Standards Board
HDI Global Specialty (formerly Inter Hannover)
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.
Be At One
Trades Union Congress
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.
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.
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.
Medical Protection Society
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.
CNA Hardy Insurance Company Ltd
Jackson Lift Group
Drayton Manor High School
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'.
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.
Thomas Cook Tour Operations
Red Sea Holidays
Direct Line Group – Travel
Intercontinental Hotels Group
AXA Corporate Solutions
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.‘
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.
Redrow Homes Limited
Thames Valley Community Rehabilitation Company
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.
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.
‘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.’
Dorset County Council
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 Gosnell, Louise 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.’
Karro Food Group
Thames Valley Police
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 professional' John Roberts on public sector defence; and the 'vastly experienced' Matthew Harrington, who heads up the general liability and occupational disease sub-group.
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.’
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.
National Pharmacy Association
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.
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.
‘Robert Davies is immensely experienced and knows what he is talking about‘.
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.
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.
Sheffield City Council
Lancaster City Council
West Lancashire Borough Council
Lancashire County Council
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
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.
Fusion Insurance Services
Towergate Commercial Underwriting
Zurich Insurance plc
Pen Underwriting plc
One Insurance Limited
Bradford Metropolitan District Council
Wakefield Metropolitan District Council
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.
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.
‘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‘.
Everest Syndicate 2786
European Risk Insurance Company
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.
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.
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 oriented’ Ruth Graham leads the Manchester motor team.
East Yorkshire Motor Services
Shearings and their insurer, Protector
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.
‘The specialist team is good at representing insurance companies in relation to potentially fraudulent civil claims‘.
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.
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.
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 .
Compass Group Plc
European Risk Insurance Company
Birmingham City Council
Towergate Financial Group Ltd
AS Watson plc
Glen Dimplex Group
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.
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.
Realty Estates/Deansgate Securities
Salboy and related entities
Dwell Developments/Dwell Properties
The Caravan Club
University of Central Lancashire
Etc Urban (Guildhall) Limited
Scarisbrick Hall School
Lancashire County Developments
Methodist Church (Manchester Circuit)
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.
Oliver James Associates Limited
St Helens Borough Council
Oldham Borough Council
Hardroad (Builders Supply (North West)
Palletower (GB) Limited
Direct Line Group
The Ardonagh Group Limited
J Parker Dutch Bulbs Limited
University of Central Lancashire
Saks Medical & Cosmetic Limited
Santander UK Plc
Cert Property Group
Bugler Smith Limited
Raised Floor Limited
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.
Rezidor Hotels Group
Slater and Gordon LLP
Halliwell Jones Group
JLG EMEA B.V.
Black and Decker
Healthcare Management Solutions Group
Bank of England
London International School of Performing Arts
Beaverbrooks the Jewellers Limited
Park Inn Hotels
Harley Medical 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.
Etc Urban (Guildhall)
Langtree Property Partners
BLM > Firm Profile
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.
|Senior partner||Matthew Harrington|
|Managing partner||Vivienne Williams|
|Global insurance law network||Jim Sherwood|
|Philip Adamis||View Profile|
|Claire Collins||View Profile|
|Matthew Ford||View Profile|
|Paula Jefferson||View Profile|
|Warren King||View Profile|
|Nigel Lock||View Profile|
|Sharon MacArthur-Powell||View Profile|
|Greg McEwen||View Profile|
|John O’Shea||View Profile|
|Carys Oatham||View Profile|
|Michelle Penn||View Profile|
|Michael Pether||View Profile|
|Orla Scanlan||View Profile|
|Rosie Shapiro||View Profile|
|Robert Stevenson||View Profile|
|Vicki Swanton||View Profile|
|Alexander Traill||View Profile|
|Richard Wilkins||View Profile|
Staff FiguresNumber of UK partners : 203 Number of other UK fee-earners : 907 Total staff : 1494
Top Tier Firm Rankings
- London Personal injury: defendant
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- North West Health and safety
- Wales Personal injury: defendant
- North West Personal injury: defendant
- West Midlands Personal injury: defendant
- South East Personal injury: defendant
- North West Professional negligence
- London Clinical negligence: defendant
- London Education: institutions
- London Insurance and reinsurance litigation
- London Product liability: defendant
- London Professional negligence
- London Commercial property: corporate occupiers
- London Construction: contentious
- London Health and safety
- London Reputation management
- London Education: schools
- London Employment: employers
- London Travel
- South East Clinical negligence: defendant
- Wales Clinical negligence: defendant
- West Midlands Health and safety
- Wales Health and safety
- North West Local government
- Yorkshire And The Humber Personal injury: defendant
- South West Personal injury: defendant
- West Midlands Professional negligence
- South West Shipping
- North West Social housing
- North West Transport
- West Midlands Crime: fraud
- Yorkshire And The Humber Health and safety
- North West Personal tax, trusts and probate
- West Midlands Commercial litigation: Birmingham
- North West Commercial litigation: Manchester
- North West Commercial property: Manchester
- North West Corporate and commercial: Manchester
- North West Employment
- North West Construction