Firm Profile > BLM > London, England

BLM
30 FENCHURCH STREET
LONDON
EC3M 3BL
England

Personal injury: defendant Tier 1

BLM is regarded by clients from across a wide spectrum of sectors as a 'premier team in the defendant personal injury market'. The firm is known for its 'great collaborative approach to strategy and case preparation', and comprises a multitude of dedicated departments and specialists, all of whom have a wealth of experience in their core fields. In London, Michelle Penn leads the disease group, while Matthew Ford heads up the casualty offering. Michael Pether and Paula Jefferson oversee work relating to abuse and neglect. Widely recognised practitioners Claire Collins and Caroline Craigie are the names to note for catastrophic injury claims, including those with an international element. The team's strength at senior level was recently elevated further by the promotion of Thomas Dixon, Ben Jones and Diana Goldstein to partner. 

Practice head(s):

Michelle Penn; Matthew Ford

Other key lawyers:

Claire Collins; Michael Pether; Nick Pargeter; Nigel Lock; Paula Jefferson; Diana Goldstein; Thomas Dixon; Ben Jones; Caroline Craigie; Ian Walker; Sharon MacArthur-Powell

Testimonials

‘Their experience and reputation is second to none.’

‘They are a genuine heavyweight personal injury firm, capable of dealing proficiently with the full range of claims.’

‘A premier team in the defendant personal injury market.’

‘Caroline Craigie is an excellent partner: astute, insightful, good team player.’

‘Paula Jefferson is a lawyer you want on your side. She is measured and knows her subject inside out.’

‘Great collaborative approach to strategy and case preparation.’

‘Claire Collins is a tough and determined litigator who brooks no nonsense en route to getting a just outcome for her clients.’

‘Well-established firm in the field with particular strength in abuse and complex injury cases. The firm is particularly good at looking at the bigger picture.’

Key clients

AIM Mutual

AIG

Aspen

Arch

Armour

AVIVA

AXA

AXA XL

Barclays Bank

Berkley Homes

British Land

British Car Auctions

Broadspire (Crawfords)

Capita

Catalina

Center Parcs

CHUBB

CNA Hardy

Coca-Cola Enterprises

Costa

The Davies Group

Ecclesiastical

European Risk Insurance Company hf.

Faraday

Gallagher Bassett

Grosvenor Casinos Limited

HCA International

HDI

Hamilton Managing Agency Ltd

Hiscox

Honeywell Group

Ikea

Intu

InterContinental Hotels Group

Ironshore

Kentucky Fried Chicken

Liberty Mutual Insurance

Liverpool Victoria Insurance

Lloyds Banking Group

Marshall of Cambridge

Marsh

Mecca Bingo Limited

New India Assurance

Pro Global

QBE Insurance

QuestGates

Royal Opera House

The Rank Group

Riverstone

Regis

Subway

TK Maxx

Tokio Marine

TSB

Sedgwick

Willis Towers Watson

Whitbread (Premier Inn, Brewers Fayre, Beefeater)

Woodgate & Clark

Zurich

Jet2 Holidays

MS Amlin

Sandals

Lastminute.com

QBE

Olympic Holidays

AXA

Vero Insurers

Barry Nilsson Lawyers

Red Sea Holidays

Professional discipline Tier 1

BLM's highly experienced professional discipline team is widely respected for its representation of healthcare professionals in Performers List procedures, investigations by the General Medical Council (GMC), and 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). In Manchester, Clare Chapman leads the firm’s professional discipline and regulatory practice group; and Katie Costello has longstanding experience in acting for healthcare professionals. Also integral to the group are Cardiff-based Jane Lang, who heads the healthcare advice and inquest practice; and London's Rosie Shapiro, who represents healthcare professionals before the regulators, and medical crime team head Adam Weston. Notable associate-level support is provided by Lee Biddle, who defends healthcare professionals; regulatory and disciplinary specialist Ewan Bright; Max Ekstein, who assists with complaints involving psychologists, counsellors and psychotherapists; and healthcare professional expert Rebecca Gowling.

Practice head(s):

Clare Chapman; Rosie Shapiro; Jane Lang

Other key lawyers:

Katie Costello; Adam Weston; Lee Biddle; Ewan Bright; Max Ekstein; Rebecca Gowling; Laura Smith

Testimonials

They are all extremely professional and knowledgeable in this field.

Very client friendly and able to supply the full array of services that clients now expect; they also have a very useful ‘Intelligence Department’, which often investigates matters that other firms cannot.

Jane Lang is relentless in her support of her clients, and nothing is ever too much trouble; and she handles often difficult issues with charm and humour.

Katie Costello is a hands-on and pragmatic lawyer; she has a real flair for knowing what will work for clients in any given situation and pushes her point with skill and determination.

Adam Weston is very good with clients and far more able than his years would suggest.

Clare Chapman is extremely able, thorough, hardworking and supporting of both clients and others.

Rosie Shapiro is very thorough and cerebral while at the same time realistic and practical in her approach to cases.

Rosie Shapiro and associate Lee Biddle have both provided me with expert assistance for a range of cases, and at all times the advice provided has been excellent, timely, and often provided out of hours or on Bank Holidays without complaint.

Key clients

Medical Protection

Dental Protection

Well Pharmacy

National Pharmacy Association

Care UK

All Med Pro

Abbey Legal Protection

Asda Opticians

Boots UK

Specsavers Optical Group

Federation of Opthalmic and Dispensing Opticians

Vision Express

Hiscox

Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists

Howden Group

Optical Express

Education: institutions Tier 2

BLM focuses on work relating to the core delivery of student services, and has extensive experience working with sector insurers. The practice stands out for its litigation experience, handling freedom of speech claims, student occupations, disputes between collaborating institutions and academic disputes, as well as failure of facilities, fitness to practice and accommodation claims, with discrimination proceedings a particular strength. In addition to litigation, the team undertakes risk management work in relation to procedures. Elliot Pound advises colleges and universities on student and staff complaints, and all issues relating to the fairness of procedures; he has a strong track record in defending judicial reviews.

Practice head(s):

Elliot Pound

Testimonials

‘Very knowledgeable and experienced team.’

‘Very responsive and pragmatic in their approach.’

‘Elliot Pound is exceptionally competent, driven and professional and whenever I knew he was handling a case, I knew we were in good hands.’

‘BLM is a safe choice for complex disputes in the HE sector; they consistently deliver results.’

‘Listening and observing, they communicate openly and focus on goals and results in line with what is achievable and what the client wants and managing expectations. Their team members’ areas of specific expertise are diverse which enables confidence in ensuring full support. In a highly specialised area their expertise is second to none.’

Key clients

University of Cambridge

University of Exeter

Imperial College London

King’s College London

Newcastle University

University of Nottingham

Royal Veterinary College

University College London

Birkbeck, University of London

Brunel University London

University of Central Lancashire

Coventry University

University of East Anglia

University of East London

Goldsmiths, University of London

University of Portsmouth

University of Reading

University of Roehampton

Sheffield Hallam University

Royal College of Music

University of Surrey

Clinical negligence: defendant Tier 3

BLM's offering is able to 'work across all aspects of healthcare law equally comfortably', boasting a caseload which ranges from inquests, to claims and inquiries, to regulatory and disciplinary proceedings. The key names to note are Greg McEwen, who has a particular interest in claims involving cosmetic and aesthetic surgery, as well as group litigation and product liability; 'excellent legal mind' Rosie Shapiro, for whom optical issues are a core area of focus; and newly promoted partner Ella Partner, whose clinical negligence experience includes defending high value spinal injury and spina bifida cases.

Practice head(s):

Greg McEwen

Other key lawyers:

Rosie Shapiro; Ella Partner

Testimonials

‘BLM have an outstanding defendant clin neg team. They work across all aspects of healthcare law equally comfortably, covering regulatory and disciplinary work, and representing clinicians in such significant hearings as the Infected Blood Public Inquiry. They handle clinical negligence claims of the highest value.’

‘Rosie Shapiro has outstanding legal and client care skills. Insurers of healthcare providers and health professionals trust her completely to defend claims against them with consummate skill.’

‘They are a firm with very high standards who are a key player in the market.’

‘Rosie Shapiro deserves special mention as an excellent legal mind and lovely person.’

‘I have worked with Greg McEwen over the past 3 years or so on a single group action. I have found him to be very competent, very direct (in a good way) and possessing a sense of perspective.’

Key clients

Royal College of Nursing

Hiscox

Harley Medical Group

Zurich

Specsavers

RSA

HCA

FODO

Hamilton Group

Axis

All Med Pro

Insurance and reinsurance litigation Tier 3

BLM fields a strong insurance litigation practice which has a ‘wealth of knowledge’, particularly in property damage claims and covers matters involving professional indemnity, construction and public liability claims. Jointly led by John O’Shea, who provides ‘superb strategic advice’ on property damage claims, and Mark Aitken, who ‘stands out as market leading when it comes to fraud investigation’ related claims, the team acts for insurers, reinsurers and brokers. Other key contacts include ‘master strategistRoss Baker, Elizabeth Whittingham, Edwin Millburn and newly promoted partner Hanna Platt.

Practice head(s):

John O’Shea; Mark Aitken

Other key lawyers:

Ross Baker; Elizabeth Whittingham; Edwin Millburn; Hanna Platt; Philip Adamis

Testimonials

‘Ross Baker – a master strategist, Ross is always five steps ahead of the opposition. Ross never loses sight of his brief and ensures the clients are always aware of exactly what steps are being taken and why. I would single out Ross as a fantastic team player.’ 

‘Mark Aitken is an extremely capable insurance litigator, specialising in complex commercial insurance disputes (especially property and general liability). He has a real flair for investigating a claim and marshalling evidence for insurers. John O’Shea  handles large and important insurance disputes as well as subrogated claims. He is cerebral and has an excellent technical acumen, as well as providing superb strategic advice. Hanna Platt is a rising star in the area, with strong tactical instincts and a rigorous commitment to the detail of a case.’

‘BLM’s great strength is listening to their clients’ needs and always remembering their clients’ commercial objectives. So, whilst their legal analysis is second to none, they never let the law dominate the agenda – instead it is seeking to secure what their clients need. They are also highly collaborative and great team players. Clients are brought into the decision-making process and remain there.’ 

‘Mark Aitken stands out as market leading when it comes to fraud investigation. Some fantastic recent results in cases. He has a wealth of experience in this area. A safe pair of hands. Philip Adamis has for many years provided valuable guidance on matters, his previous experience as a loss adjuster means that he truly understands claims pressures. He is quick to respond to urgent matters and discuss practical steps. He is particular good at navigating contentious issues which result in economic savings.’  

‘Elizabeth Whittingham – calm under pressure, universally admired and liked by her team who clearly respond to her and enjoy working with her. Great clarity of thought and insight into client needs. John O’Shea – consummate professional. Clear-headed, able to pinpoint issues and provide crisp and incisive advice within tight timeframes.’

Key clients

AGEAS

Allianz

Amtrust

Aspen

Aviva

AXA

Direct Line Group

Ecclesiastical

Generali

IGI

HDI Global Specialty

LV=

Munich RE

WRB

Zurich

Accelerant

Arch

Covea

Fairmead Insurance (L&G)

Liberty Mutual

Pen U/W

Probitas Syndicate 1472

Product liability: defendant Tier 3

BLM's team is 'well known and highly regarded' for advising insurers from a wide range of industries, including food and beverages, automotive, cosmetics and engineering. It covers injury claims brought under the Consumer Protection Act, international contractual B2B disputes, and property damage product liability claims. Practice head Jason McNerlin is well versed in product contamination and recall matters. Michael Harvey has experience acting in cross-border disputes. Daniel West is another key practitioner.

Practice head(s):

Jason McNerlin

Other key lawyers:

Michael Harvey; Daniel West

Testimonials

‘The team is well known and highly regarded for product liability matters. They cover a great range of industries and they are absolutely outstanding in the insurance sector. Furthermore, the firm has maintained an excellent quality of work during the pandemic.’

‘Michael Harvey is one of the leading insurance lawyers in the UK. He is very skilled and determined.’

Key clients

AIG

Allianz

Aspen Risk Management Ltd

Aviva

Coca Cola

Direct Line Group

Generali

HDI Global

Ironshore

Mitchells and Butler

QBE

Sunseeker International

XL Catlin

Zurich

Professional negligence Tier 3

The team at BLM handles professional negligence matters for insurers and their insured, across professions such as financial services, legal, construction and property. It is also active in defending claims from local authorities, charities, educational institutions and policy coverage issues. Solicitor-advocate Elliot Pound and Gary Wicks co-lead the team; Pound has been successful in the High Court, County Courts and tribunals, in addition to settling claims through mediation, whilst Wicks has expertise in the handling construction and engineering-related disputes. The 'superb' Martin Jensen specialises in defending claims against solicitors, residential and commercial surveyors, insolvency practitioners, property agents and insurance brokers, with a skill in handling disputes involving suspected dishonesty on coverage. Ross Baker and Alexander Traill are also notable members of the team.

Practice head(s):

Elliot Pound; Gary Wicks

Other key lawyers:

Martin Jensen; Alexander Traill; Ross Baker

Testimonials

‘BLM has a longstanding symbiotic relationship with the London insurance market and decades of experience.’

‘Excellent, trustworthy, and in-depth knowledge of strengths and weaknesses of a case.’

‘Responsive and pragmatic.’

‘Martin Jensen was superb. He provided clear, pragmatic and on the money advice. Never seemed flustered and was always positive whilst being sympathetic to one’s position. He made me feel entirely confident that he was protecting my position and ensuring the very best outcome. He is not only technically able but also sees the higher-level strategic view, combining the two to plot the route to success for his clients.”

‘Gary Wicks is a top notch construction/insurance partner. Responsive, diligent and good to work with. Tactically excellent and always sees the big picture legally and commercially. Insurer clients and lay clients get excellent service.’

‘Ross Baker is a pleasant, personable and disarming individual with a penchant for simplifying the dry and byzantine principles of law into digestible and relatable bites.’

‘Ross Baker is a delight to work with – highly engaged and responsive and an eye for the key issues, combined with great attention to detail.’

Key clients

Zurich

RSA

Travelers

RIBA

UNISON

CNA Hardy

HDI Global Speciality

QBE

ACCA

Hiscox

Hastings

Royal College of Nursing

Imperial College London

Crime: general Tier 4

Three leads direct the offering at BLM: road traffic litigation specialist Ian Walker and medical crime team head Adam Weston in London, and national health and safety head Helen Devery in Manchester. The team is highly regarded for its experience in corporate and individual crime in healthcare and health and safety, and has particular specialisms in abuse and neglect offences, indecent images prosecutions, medical crimes (particularly those falling under the Mental Health Act and Medicines Act) and white collar matters.  Iskander Fernandez, Clare Chapman, Peter James and Diana Goldstein are other key names to note.

Practice head(s):

Ian Walker; Helen Devery; Adam Weston

Other key lawyers:

Iskander Fernandez; Clare Chapman; Peter James; Diana Goldstein

Testimonials

Really exceptional client care offered. The work is done to the highest standard, and communications are always answered swiftly and appropriately. A smooth, professional outfit‘.

Key experience in corporate and individual crime in healthcare and health and safety make this team go to experts in their chosen fields‘.

Adam Weston – a leading disciplinary/regulatory practitioner who can also act in heavyweight criminal cases involving doctors‘.

Iskander Fernandezhas long experience in the field and it tells. He is a smooth, charming lawyer who clients really trust. I have worked on cases with him involving highly vulnerable clients, and have seen that his client care is exceptional. His work is of the highest standard, and he really cares about achieving the best results for his clients‘.

Iskander Fernandez was superb. On top of the brief at all times and navigated through the complexities with calm and skill‘.

Clare Chapman is an absolutely first class solicitor. She is incredibly dedicated and hard working, cares enormously about her clients and will do whatever it takes night or day to ensure that she gets the best outcomes for them. Her cases are always immaculately prepared and she makes sure every angle is covered‘.

Peter James: leads from the front. Great tactician, commands loyalty and respect with his team. Provides outstanding reassurance to his clients. Diana Goldstein: extremely passionate on behalf of and dedicated to all her clients. A real fighter. No stone is left unturned in the defence of her clients‘.

Health and safety Tier 4

BLM's health and safety team offers a specialist service in compliance and enforcement, and delivers a strong criminal and civil, prosecution and defence  practice.  Dual-qualified, corporate and individual duty specialist Peter James heads the team, which is supported by investigations and prosecutions specialist Diana Goldstein . James Chambers ' practice specialises in defending regulatory matters and duty of care breaches.  Roughly a third of the team's work involves high-profile  inquests. The group also provides a 24hr helpline and provides immediate  aftermath support for both private and public sector clients.

Practice head(s):

Peter James (London)

Other key lawyers:

Diana Goldstein; James Chambers

Testimonials

‘The BLM team enjoys great strength and depth and quality experience throughout. The team is consistently strong, with wide-ranging expertise and BLM are one of the leading firms for insurance-funded health and safety work.’ 

‘Specialist team regularly instructed by organisations from an array of sectors to handle health and safety matters including corporate manslaughter cases, construction accidents and deaths and injuries caused by drivers in the course of employment.’

‘The work ethic of their regulatory team is second to none and their attention to detail absolutely uncompromising. Because of their experience, they are consistently able to identify the key issues to ensure the best outcome for their clients.’

Key clients

Aviva

Allianz

Fusion

Mitsui Sumitomo Underwriting at Lloyds

Regis Mutual Management

Reputation management Tier 5

BLM acts for a wide range of clients and is noted for its work defending claims against publishers, usually on behalf of insurers. Led by Tim Smith, the team advises on both contentious and non-contentious issues, as well as on risk and crisis management. Smith is supported by associates Tom Double and Dominic Ward, who provides 'exceptional client care'.

Practice head(s):

Tim Smith

Other key lawyers:

Steve Kuncewicz; Tom Double; Dominic Ward

Testimonials

‘Excellent legal knowledge, approachable, clear in delivery and explanation, with a good mix of styles and approaches within the team which made for a good balance.’

‘The relationship between us (as a client) and BLM felt more like a partnership of equals than a classic client/solicitor arrangement.’

‘Very experienced and effective at doing libel defence work for insured public authorities. This is a particularly challenging area, given the need to keep insurers involved.’

‘Tim Smith – very experienced in the field. Shows good judgement and tactical thinking.’

‘Dominic Ward provided exceptional client care. He presented all information with clarity and detail. We valued the readiness to answer any question we had. We would gladly recommend Dominic Ward.’

Key clients

Hiscox

QBE

RSA

Aviva

Zurich Insurance

CNA

Ecclesiastical Insurance

Medical Protection Society

Manchester Underwriting

Employers Tier 7

BLM mainly represents public sector clients, including Members of Parliament and education institutions, in sensitive Employment Tribunal claims. Joining the group from iLaw in April 2020, Julian Cox now spearheads the group, which also has a track record servicing EPL insurers. Andrew McDonald, meanwhile, regularly handles senior exits and recruitment, TUPE transfers and trade union issues.

Practice head(s):

Julian Cox

Other key lawyers:

Andrew McDonald;Vanessa Latham

Testimonials

‘Exceptional expertise in their field, which provides real reassurance to us as an organisation, particularly throughout the pandemic. They really are expert at what they do and give sensible, accurate and timely advice which has, and continues to, protect our organisation’

‘Vanessa Latham and Richard Wilkins are quite simply excellent. Their expertise is second to none. Brilliant subject knowledge in their respective fields and what sets them apart from other lawyers is how hard they have worked over the years to understand the culture and values of our organisation and ensure their advice carefully considers our context and the bigger picture. They know us well and what we expect and are, quite simply, a dream to work with’

‘Andrew McDonald deals with the unique characteristics  in a perfect way. He knows the demands and needs of the client and is able to ensure that the best settlements are achieved in a very difficult environment whilst always ensuring that the client is taken on the journey and understands and agrees with the steps being taken.’

‘BLM could not have handled the matter in a more caring and professional manner. They put all the resources that were required into the case and delivered a very satisfactory outcome’

Key clients

CNA Hardy Insurance Company Ltd

RSA

Jackson Lift Group

Aviva

Cato Music

Lewisham Homes

Drayton Manor High school

University of Portsmouth

Sandals

ARAG

Family

BLM has a strong team across London and the South East, led by the experienced and well-regarded Grainne Fahy who joined the firm in mid-2019.

Local government

Over the past few years BLM has developed a growing local government practice that primarily advises universities, local authorities, parish councils, insurers, and police on negligence, discrimination, and other liability claims.

Travel

BLM is ‘very well regarded for representing defendants’, primarily acting for insurers and package holiday providers on injury and liability claims. Matthew Ford leads the practice and has recently acted for clients with injuries suffered in Europe, North Africa and the Caribbean. Other key contacts include Emily List, who specialises in large loss tour operator liability claims under the Package Travel Regulations. The team also draws upon the expertise of Bristol-based Gemma Pearce, a dual-qualified solicitor and barrister who focuses on marine travel, and Birmingham-based Sarah Phillips, who specialises in fraud claims concerning holiday sickness.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Ford

Other key lawyers:

Emily List; Gemma Pearce; Sarah Phillips

Testimonials

‘The team has a strong lead in Matthew Ford, who is very well respected in the sector.’

‘Matthew Ford is experienced, knowledgeable, has excellent communication skills and is very personable.’

‘BLM provide a reliable and consistent service to policyholders with a significant volume of casualty claims. They provide exceptional claims management and claims mitigation training and ideas.’

‘I have only worked with Matthew Ford to date, but he has assisted on a number of claims and has been excellent. He has a pragmatic but creative approach which has enabled us to reach settlements and avoid lengthy legal action. I have complete confidence in him to negotiate the best possible outcome but at the same time respect the relationships we have with our supplier partners.’

‘Their reputation amongst tour operators is second to none. All have excellent levels of experience within the sector.’

‘BLM are very well regarded for representing defendants in a well-judged and sensible way. Unlike some firms working in the area, they make a judgement call on the wisdom of fighting claims at an early stage, saving clients money and reputational damage.’

‘Matt Ford is an extremely effective partner. He has excellent judgement and knows the law in this area backwards. He is ably supported by his paralegals, who are very good.’

Key clients

easyJet Holidays

easyJet

Riverstone

Best Western Italy

On The Beach

Sandals/Unique Vacations Ltd

Jet2 Holidays Ltd

Red Sea Holidays

Olympic Holidays

British Airways

Stena Line

Direct Line Group

Intercontinental Hotels Group

AXA Corporate Solutions

Ryanair

QBE

Allianz UK

Barry Nilsson

Audley Travel

Generali

Chubb

Health and safety Tier 1

BLM's health and safety practice aids clients in responding to incidents ranging from foodborne disease outbreaks to fatal industrial accidents. The team's service includes guiding companies through the full process from investigations to prosecutions and inquests. Helen Devery was promoted to sales and growth partner in March 2020, with Sally Hancock and Michelle Flint taking over as practice heads. Hancock is particularly active in advising clients from the construction, manufacturing and engineering sectors, while Flint stands out for her expertise in cases involving prisons, such as deaths in prison or policy custody. Lucy Ryder is also heavily involved in this area, and Natalie Puce, Nick Gianferrari, and David Rainey are also key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Sally Hancock; Michelle Flint

Other key lawyers:

Lucy Ryder; Natalie Puce; Nick Gianferrari; David Rainey

Testimonials

‘David Rainey has excellent judgment, superbly prepared and gets excellent results. Nick Gianferrari has brilliant client handling skills and great judgment – a real asset.’

‘Experience and knowledge of the sector is what sets this team apart. They are a joy to work with – a friendly, down-to-earth team who are always ready to roll their sleeves up to get the job done. They are completely client/result focussed. Everyone pitches in to ensure consistently excellent results and this, with strong leadership, creates a happy and effective team.’

‘Lucy Ryder has vast and probably unrivalled knowledge of the sector. Huge brain and an astute tactician. Leads by example and clients love her. Michelle Flint is probably the hardest working solicitor in Manchester. Enormous experience and an absolute delight to work with.’

‘They really do work as a team. Whilst each has their own case load if for any reason that member of staff is off/away another will step in and take the time to deal with an issue which has arisen. – so often it is the case in other firms that you have to wait for the case handler to return before issues are fully dealt with.

‘David Rainey is a solicitor I would want acting for a member of my own family. He is conscientious and extremely detailed / hard working in his preparation of a case. He is compassionate with clients but still willing to give firm advice when necessary. He will always go the extra mile to try and get the right result for his client. When I work with him on a case it is always re-assuring to know that I have an independent and confident solicitor beside me who will properly challenge advice given and seek justification for it. In doing so the client is always confident that the position being taken has been fully considered’.

‘Sally Hancock is always thoroughly prepared. She fights her corner for her client firmly but fairly ensuring good points are advanced but the not so good points that the clients often want to adopt receive less prominence. In doing do she highlights her ability to work with clients from all walks of life’.

‘Nick Gianferrari – clients clearly like and respect him as he is a real people person, able to get on with anybody. His ability to analyse, summarise and focus on only the main issues are of great benefit to both his client and Counsel. His clients are always comfortable accepting his advice, even when it is unpalatable, due to the relationships he builds with them.’

‘David Rainey is a great strategist and tactician who has a meticulous eye for detail. Sally Hancock manages her cases extremely well. She understands the wider needs and concerns of her clients. She quickly earns the trust and respect of individuals involved in the case. Nick Gianferrari is calm and collected as he guides his clients through the most difficult and sensitive cases.’

Key clients

Zurich Insurance

Allianz Insurance

Ecclesiastical

Travelers

Liberty

Aviva

Warburtons Limited

Redrow Homes Limited

Oldham Council

Stockport Council

QBE

CNA Hardy

Barbican

AIG

Ageas

Chubb

Thames Valley Community Rehabilitation Company

Travis Perkins

MS Amlin

Probitas Syndicate 1492

RSA

Aspen Risk Management

Barbican Insurance Group

Persimmon

Travelodge

Sainsburys

Protector

Personal injury and clinical negligence: defendant Tier 1

The Southampton-based defendant personal injury team at BLM specialises in significant, high-value and complex cases covering a wide range of matters, including healthcare, health and safety, occupational disease, equestrian and construction claims, regularly handling cross-border matters. National catastrophic injury head Andrew Hibbert is praised for his 'technical know-how and progressive approach' and is described as one of the 'leading defendant catastrophic injury lawyers in the country'. Other key figures in the team - which acts for top 10 insurers, transport companies and public authorities - include the 'first-class' Joe Wakeford, who has a background in clinical negligence, and the 'very customer-focused' Clare Garnett, as well as Andrew Williamson  - 'a high-flying star who is enormously respected in the industry' - and Richard Grayson, who 'is hugely admired by clients for his tenacity and insight'. Stephanie Atkinson has a particular interest in cases concerning premature birth, while Gemma Parker has recently led on a number of major road traffic accident claims.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Hibbert; Joe Wakeford; Clare Garnett

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Williamson; Andrew West; Stephanie Atkinson; Richard Grayson; Gus Peake; Gemma Parker

Testimonials

‘Vast experience of insurance litigation and a firm that fosters individual responsibility for its lawyers and not afraid to let their team make tough decisions early in their career.’

‘Andrew Williamson and Lucy Pragnell make a formidable team. Very down-to-earth but extremely knowledgeable.’

‘Andrew Williamson is a high-flying star who is enormously respected in the industry.’

‘Joe Wakeford is a first-class defence lawyer with strong strategic sense.’

‘Diverse experience with expertise in a number of areas from personal injury litigation (disease and accident) to complex product and contractual liability situations. Particularly in-depth knowledge of defending noise induced hearing loss and mental wellbeing losses.’

‘The team is led by Andrew Hibbert who is probably the leading defendant catastrophic injury lawyers in the country, in terms of his technical know-how, his progressive approach to cases, and his ability to recognise when and how to make the right argument. He heads up an impressive team, all of whom are first-rate.’

‘BLM are big hitters in the field of defendant catastrophic injury work. I have always found them to be very collaborative to work with and we have been able to cut through numerous issues in order to focus on those issues that really determine the value of a claim. ’

‘Andrew Hibbert is the standout member of the team. He was at the forefront of developing a transparent and collaborative approach between our firms on cases that we are both involved in.’

Key clients

DLG

QBE

Travelers

Hastings

Allianz

MIB

ERS

Certo

Markel International

Aviva

LV

Dorset Council

Colas Limited

Hampshire Police Authority

Liberty Global

Brit

Professional negligence Tier 1

BLM's Manchester team represents professionals of all disciplines and is recognised as a specialist in professional indemnity litigation. The practice assists insurers with strategies to deal with multiple dwelling relief claims and buyer-funded development claims, also handling claims relating to ground rent. It also has extensive expertise handling fraud-related claims. Group lead Jason Nash acts for solicitors, accountant, surveyors and construction professionals, and also represents clients in regulatory and disciplinary proceedings. Up-and-coming partner Jennie Bebbington specialises in professional indemnity claims, predominantly against solicitors.

Practice head(s):

Jason Nash

Other key lawyers:

Ben Parks; Iain Fraser; Anne Eady; Jennie Bebbington

Testimonials

‘BLM has great strength in depth with some first-rate lawyers and excellent client contacts.’

‘Jason Nash has put together a very strong team with quality performers at all levels who provide strength in depth for claims of all kinds.

‘The firm has an exceptional in depth knowledge of professional negligence law and professional indemnity law. As a consequence, instructions are always meticulously prepared and the forensic analysis of the issues in the case is always superb. Stars in the market. ’

‘BLM has a strong team of intelligent and very competent solicitors, which is led by a number of extremely capable partners. The team has a wide range of expertise across the professional negligence field from failed litigation, to conveyancing problems to construction-type disputes. As a team, they are unfailingly friendly and easy get along with.’

‘There are some superb partners at BLM. Jason Nash is a tremendous negotiator and tenacious in working in his client’s interests.

Key clients

QBE

Zurich

Barbican

RSA

Hiscox

HDI

Manchester Underwriting

AXA

Travelers

Health and safety Tier 2

The Birmingham team at BLM consists of specialist criminal regulatory lawyers who manage a busy work load that is focused on defendant based health and safety, environmental and health and safety manslaughter cases. It also excels in motor defence work involving serious driving offences and on complex fatal accident investigations. The group provides a cross-sector regulatory service for private and public sector clients and has a strong presence in sectors such as manufacturing, construction, transport and logistics. Head of department Robert Davies specialises in criminal regulatory work and in coronial proceedings

Practice head(s):

Robert Davies

Testimonials

‘The team at BLM has been able to lead us through some difficult waters with respect, patience and most importantly, clear and concise explanations.’

‘Bob Davis has fostered an approach to his customers that serves both sides of the table exceptionally. During a period where face to face meetings have been impossible, the team is quick to respond, will pick up the phone, and importantly walk us through the intricacies of a case in a manner perfectly suited to our limited understanding. The lawyers speak from experience, not superiority. They coach with compassion and understand that the stress felt by their clients often needs a comforting tone, even when the content should be matter of fact’.

Key clients

Allianz Insurance

QBE Insurance

Health and safety Tier 2

Insurance risk and commercial law firm BLM has a core focus on defence work for manufacturing, construction, public and care sector clients in high-stakes investigations, inquests and litigation, including as it pertains to corporate manslaughter and gross negligence manslaughter claims. Although the majority of the work is handled by offices outside of Wales, the team in Cardiff includes the market leading expertise of senior partner Matthew Harrington, who splits his time between Cardiff and London. A separate niche also relates to defence work for healthcare professionals, an area that the 'responsive and proactive' Jane Lang excels. She oversees the firm's national healthcare advisory group, which is well-equipped to provide a comprehensive service to healthcare individuals across disciplinary, regulatory and criminal proceedings. In September 2021 the firm announced that it would not be renewing the lease on its Cardiff office, and that the firm's lawyers in the region would now work remotely on a permanent basis.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Harrington

Other key lawyers:

Jane Lang

Testimonials

‘The team always deals with matters swiftly and responds quickly to all communications.’

‘They communicate complex legal matters in an easy to digest and understand way, cutting straight to what does and what does not matter with clear advice.’

‘Jane Lang is responsive, proactive, engaging and supportive.’

Local government Tier 2

BLM is well known for defending local government clients in complex and difficult litigation. Other key areas of work include misfeasance claims, abuse and CSE claims, inquests and inquiries, development projects and social housing. Paul Tarne represents local authorities and emergency services in civil and regulatory matters; he jointly leads the team with Matthew Hyam, who concentrates on acting for stock-owning local authorities and registered providers of social housing. Associate Nicholas Leigh specialises in claims involving allegations of physical and sexual abuse, representing charitable institutions, local authorities, churches and schools.

Practice head(s):

Paul Tarne; Matthew Hyam

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Lintott; Natalie Puce; Nicholas Leigh

Testimonials

‘Paul Tarne is an excellent and efficient communicator who manages the team and the complex different needs of the clients and witnesses. He is always readily available, deals swiftly with any requirements of the case and is commercially and reputationally astute. Natalie Puce works with Paul and is an astute lawyer who has a comprehensive knowledge of the case.’

‘The team are commercial and solution focused. Always helpful and honest about cases and possible outcomes giving a balanced view of risk whilst working tirelessly to achieve positive outcomes for their clients.’

‘Paul Tarne has been an able ally through some complex and novel litigation, has always been available and has engaged on a personal level which has meant that it has been easy to work with him as part of a team approach.’

Key clients

Wirral MBC

Knowsley MBC

Sheffield City Council

Oldham MBC

Stockport MBC

Manchester City Council

Halton Housing

Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Lancashire County Council

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service

Rochdale MBC

Blackpool Council

London Fire Brigade

Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 2

BLM provides its client base of high-net-worth individuals with comprehensive advice on estate planning, including assistance with asset protection, tax mitigation and succession planning. The team is adept at advising on estates with complicating aspects, such as vulnerable beneficiaries and the need to guard against potential claims. Practice head James Beresford is also active in estate administration; his recent work in this area encompasses estates involving disputed wills and interstacy.

Practice head(s):

James Beresford

Other key lawyers:

Charlotte Pritchard

Professional negligence Tier 2

BLM continues to be instructed by a broad range of insurers and corporates on a variety of high-value and complex claims. It represents professionals of all disciplines and is skilled at handling professional indemnity litigation in addition to advising on a whole host of complex coverage issues. Recently the team has seen an increase in ‘farmed’ claims against professionals that are prompted by claims management companies particularly in relation to claims about mortgage advice, pension mis-selling and financial advice. Julian Smart leads the experienced team that includes Lucy Tolond who specialises in handling professional indemnity and financial claims. Alison Siniver covers claims against various professionals such as accountants, surveryors and solicitors.

Practice head(s):

Julian Smart

Other key lawyers:

Lucy Tolond; Alison Siniver; Leonie Salter

Testimonials

‘It has real strength and depth in professional negligence claims against tax advisors, financial advisors and mortgage brokers. The partners properly know their stuff, as well as any of the professional indemnity teams in these fields.’

‘’Alison Siniver is outstanding in claims against accountants and tax advisors. Her knowledge of the actual tax schemes and tax judgments themselves is exceptional, and she is also excellent on the professional liability side as well’.

Lucy Tolond is also really solid on claims against accountants and tax advisors, properly gets to know the case, and really engages with cases in a way many others don’t’.

‘Leonie Salter is very calm and very bright’.

Lucy Tolond is excellent at managing teams and complex strategic issues‘.

‘The team with Julian Smart and Lucy Tolond is unusual in that it engages in both defendant and claimant professional negligence work, particularly in the financial services sector. Lucy Tolond is a real star, in my view.’

‘Lucy Tolond is an outstanding lawyer, both in terms of technical ability and strategic focus. She adopts precisely the correct tactics in cases, and is appropriately robust with the opposition without losing sight of commercial objectives. One of the best prof neg solicitors I have come across, and also does both claimant and defendant work’.

‘The lawyers are very approachable and offer a strong all round service with pragmatic and client orientated advice. In addition to their core work of professional negligence, they also have a strong focus on civil fraud. Julian Smart is calm and unflappable with a strong expertise in civil fraud and recovery claims. Lucy Tolond is technically very strong and a pleasure to deal with‘.

Key clients

Zurich Financial Lines

QBE

RSA

Ardonagh Group (formerly Towergate Financial (Group) Limited / Towergate Insurance Limited)

Liberty Mutual

Everest Syndicate 2786

European Risk Insurance Company

Aviva

Hiscox

NFU Mutual

Collegiate

Arch

Shipping Tier 2

BLM fields a team of 'very experienced lawyers in a complex niche market, who are always at the forefront of changes in this area of law.' It deals with  the full range of matters arising from the wet, dry and other related trade services; the group has special expertise in representing insurers, reinsurers and P&I clubs in claims regarding collisions, unsafe ports, fatal accidents, pollution and environmental incidents. The firm's Bristol office was closed during 2020, with all staff moving to remote working. The highly rated Gemma Pearce leads the practice, whil associate Stephen Favali is well versed in large loss claims; the team works closely with colleagues in Belfast and Glasgow.

Practice head(s):

Gemma Pearce

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Favali

Testimonials

‘Attentive and quick in understanding the commercial challenges.’

‘Very experienced lawyers in a complex niche market. Always at the fore front of changes in this area of law. Keeping clients regularly updated.’

‘The team is young and agile, spread over all jurisdictions of the UK and Republic of Ireland, the team has a solution with that breadth of knowledge you need especially when tackling incident that straddle multiple jurisdictions.’

‘Gemma Pearce, the lead partner is very much solutions orientated and that filters down to the rest of team. Understanding the economics of the business is vital, providing solutions which fit with the facts, law and economics is a rare commodity which this team has in abundance.’

Social housing Tier 2

The team at BLM attracts praise for its 'knowledge and experience of social housing law and procedure that is second to none’. Matthew Hyam has a focus on the public and third sectors, and he acts for stock owning local authorities and registered providers. Hyam co-heads the practice with Stephen Lintott, who has longstanding relationships with a number of housing providers, with particular expertise in development, funding and planning agreements. Tessa Leonard assists local councils with regeneration schemes.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Hyam; Stephen Lintott

Other key lawyers:

Elizabeth McCulloch; Tessa Leonard

Testimonials

‘The team at BLM has knowledge and experience of social housing law and procedure that is second to none. I have not encountered a department with such broad casework.’

‘The team is led by Matthew Hyam who has perhaps the most impressive knowledge of social housing law and procedure of any lawyer that I have encountered. His careful analytical approach to each case permeates throughout the whole team.’

‘They are very proactive and user friendly. Able to deal with the whole gamut of issues that arise in social housing with aplomb and sensitivity.’

‘Matthew Hyam: keeps a cool head under pressure, whilst retaining positive attitude. Thinks about practical solutions to resolve issues rather than strict legal answers: ensures that people’s needs are addressed and met, and that everyone keeps an eye on the bigger picture.’

‘The whole team are very well educated in the area of housing law. They are all very approachable and will give their advice and recommendations as quickly as possible.’

‘Elizabeth has become my main go to person lately simply because I find her so helpful and knowledgeable, if she is not around a quick voice message or email will be returned as soon as is possible.’

‘I am mainly instructed by Elizabeth McCulloch, who is an excellent and efficient solicitor who has the respect of her clients. The work is always well prepared.’

Key clients

Urban Splash

First Choice Homes

The Riverside Group

Halton Housing

Places for People Group

Peaks & Plains Housing Trust

Notting Hill Genesis

Clarion Housing Group

Sanctuary Housing Group

Phoenix Community Housing Group

Lancaster City Council

Greatwell Homes

Transport Tier 2

BLM's transport practice, which is spread between the Manchester and Liverpool offices, has a particular focus on contentious matters. The scope of its work in this space includes personal injury cases, commercial claims, regulatory prosecutions, public inquiries, inquests, fraud cases and health and safety matters. The practice offers broad sector coverage, with expertise in the coach, rail, tram, air and haulage sectors. Ruth Graham leads the transport team.

Practice head(s):

Ruth Graham

Other key lawyers:

Simon Jones; Rachael Lumb; Joanne Francis

Testimonials

Outstanding team.’

Key clients

AJG

Allianz

Brakes

DX

Expert Logistics

Hoyer

Manchester Airport

Marsh

Mersey Rail

Metroline

Metrolink

National Express

Network Rail

Northern Rail

QBE

RATP

Sainsbury’s

Shearings

Protector Insurance

Transdev

Warburtons

Willis

Wolsley

XPO

General crime and fraud Tier 3

BLM handles a broad array of claims fraud in the insurance sector and has developed niche expertise in advising tour operators in the area of unconfirmed sickness claims. Head of practice Sarah Hill has considerable experience in advising on all aspects of fraud from large scale organised fraud to high-value exaggerated fraud cases. Daniel Thomas represents various leading insurance companies and deals with staged and contrived accidents as well as fraudulent exaggeration claims. Naomi Grant covers all aspects of motor claims fraud.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Hill

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Thomas; Naomi Grant; Carole Eaton; Siân Owen-Atkins

Testimonials

‘The lawyers have detailed and long-standing knowledge of insurance fraud and the various ancillary issues that flow from this. As a team it is efficient, proactive and realistic. It gets results.’

‘Carole Eaton is a pleasure to work with. Thorough and diligent. Experienced in cases involving fundamental dishonesty and the associated costs issues‘.

‘Strong experience in dealing with all aspects of fraudulent insurance claims.  A leading firm in this area.’

‘Sian Owen-Atkins is highly experienced. She gives sensible and pragmatic advice.  She is a tenacious opponent‘.

Key clients

DLG

NFU

QBE

Generali

Jet2

Allianz

Ageas

MIB

Tesco

Commercial litigation: Birmingham Tier 4

BLM's 'always commercial' dispute resolution team is particularly well-known for its 'breadth of experience in insurance claims'. Other areas of specialism include manufacturing sector litigation and disputes involving fraud elements, asset tracing and injunctive relief. Julian SmartCaroline Kane and Jagdeep Hayre jointly lead the team.

Practice head(s):

Julian Smart; Caroline Kane; Jagdeep Hayre

Testimonials

‘BLM is a stalwart of the insurance/property damage market, punching in the upper echelons with the range, volume and profile of claims handled by their teams. Their teams are user-friendly and experienced, and I enjoy working with them.’

‘Very broad experience in insurance claims.’

‘Caroline Kane and her team are excellent to work with. Knowledgeable and responsive but always commercial.’

Key clients

Compass Group UK & Ireland Ltd

Affinity Water

Fujitsu Plc

European Risk Insurance Company hf

Birmingham City Council

Towergate Financial Group Ltd

AS Watson plc

Glen Dimplex Group

Allianz

Fairmead Insurance Ltd (formerly Legal & General)

RSA

Welsh Water

Commercial litigation: Manchester Tier 4

BLM's 'broad commercial litigation offering' spans general commercial dispute work and includes specialists in property litigation, professional negligence claims, financial litigation, healthcare litigation and partnership disputes. The firm has a strong reputation for insurance sector disputes, for which Catherine Mangham is the contact to note, while the 'outstanding' Craig McAdam leads the non-insurance practice which includes the 'vastly experienced' Nick Gee and Clare Durkin.

Practice head(s):

Craig McAdam; Catherine Mangham

Other key lawyers:

Jacob Broughton; Clare Durkin; Joanne McCartney; Nick Gee; Rubina Alam

Testimonials

‘BLM litigation team in Manchester offers a first-class service to its clients both locally and on a nationwide basis.’

‘Broad commercial litigation offering – responsive to client wishes and needs; determined in pursuit of their aims.’

‘Craig McAdam is an outstanding leading partner who allows his support team to work on cases alongside stakeholders; litigants, counsel, experts and funders/insurers. Calm and collective, Craig is precise and detailed in his communications.’

‘Jake Broughton is especially impressive and very easy to deal with.’

Rubina Alam is a hard-working associate solicitor who provides good support to Nick Gee.

‘Nick Gee – vastly experienced in commercial litigation, decisive, effective communicator with both clients and opponents.

Claire Durkin – highly attentive to client’s aims and pursuing them.’

Joanne McCartney is someone who prepares instructions thoughtfully, is engaging to discuss cases with, and is always good at honing in on the key aspects of the case and grasping what the issues are.’

Key clients

Sainsbury’s

Travelodge

Mission Mars

Urban Splash

Schuh Ltd

Ecclesiastical Insurance

Winlink

Commercial property: Manchester Tier 4

The ‘exemplary’ commercial real estate team at BLM displays particular strengths in residential and mixed-use development work. Stephen Lintott, who ‘has excellent commercial acumen’ heads up the team. While there have been some departures, including Stephen Crook, who left for Knights plc in October 2020, the team continues to draw on considerable expertise, such as that of Tessa Leonard, experienced in regeneration work and town centre redevelopment.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Lintott

Other key lawyers:

Tessa Leonard

Testimonials

‘Good value for money. Very good strategic advice on deal structures and negotiations. ’

‘Stephen Lintott is very thorough and has excellent commercial acumen. He has provided us valuable strategic and detailed advice on the transaction. ’

‘I have worked with Stephen Lintott at BLM for a few years and find him and the practice to be exemplary. I find them a lot more approachable than other firms I have worked with in the past.’

Key clients

Urban Splash

Schuh Limited

86TR Limited

Realty Estates Limited/Deansgate Securities LLP

Ellis Brigham Limited

Evonik UK Holdings Limited

Salboy and related entities, including:

FICM Limited

Property (Done) Limited

Naples Street Properties Limited

Castle Irwell Limited

QN Street Limited

Magnificent Developments Limited

BTS NQ Limited

Dwell Developments/Dwell Properties

Redwater Group

McCaul Group Limited (and related companies)

GW Developments Northern Limited

The Caravan Club

University of Central Lancashire

Domis

Heatley Developments

Scarisbrick Hall School Limited

Lancashire County Developments

Cramant Homes

Motor Insurance Bureau

Urban Splash and related entities

Property (Done)Limited

Dwell Developments /Dwell Properties

Bradley Edge LLP

Chester Halo Limited

Employment Tier 4

BLM is known for its traditional strength in the healthcare sector, and has recently broadened its client base to provide employment support to other public bodies, retailers and hospitality groups. In 2020 the team provided advice on business reorganisations, involving accessing the furlough scheme, changes to conditions of employment, and redundancies. Under the leadership of Jim Lister, the practice also defends employers in tribunal claims. Laura D’Arcy is another key partner in the team, with a focus on non-contentious work.

Practice head(s):

Jim Lister

Other key lawyers:

Laura D’Arcy

Key clients

Rezidor Hotels Group

Slater and Gordon LLP

Halliwell Jones Group

JLG EMEA B.V.

Black and Decker

Healthcare Management Solutions Group

Lubrizol Inc.

GGR Group

Beaverbrooks the Jewellers Limited

Kalibrate Technologies plc

Russell Hobbs

Park Inn Hotels

PRGX UK

Eclerx Group

HCA Group

MTC Novo Limited

ASDA Stores Limited

Kent Police

Corporate and commercial: Manchester Tier 5

BLM advises clients on acquisitions, commercial agreements, and business strategy, with notable strengths including the commercial property, TMT, and e-commerce sectors. Matters include advising businesses on private equity investment responses, and handling contentious IP contracts and disputes. The firm also works with public sector clients on commercial contracts. The team is led by Daniel Varney and Steve Kuncewicz.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Varney; Steve Kuncewicz

Testimonials

‘The people know how to cut through the noise and get what you want done quickly, they don’t just pass work to juniors that need to be briefed constantly and are very pragmatic.’

‘Danny Varney is an excellent commercial lawyer, he’s the partner I deal with and has really spent the time to learn what’s important to me and my firm. Danny knows we want fair and transparent agreements that aren’t all biased in our favour.’

 

Key clients

Solid Bond Capital

Salboy Limited

Domis Developments Limited

Qover Insurance Company

Oliver James Associates Limited

One Iota Limited

The Defence Works Limited

St Helens Borough Council

Oldham Borough Council

Ridge & Partners LLP

Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports

MTC Novo

ItsGoneViral

LOVE Creative

Don’t Panic Projects Limited

Santander UK Plc

Cert Property Group

Avensure Limited

Landscape Institute

Tangerine Limited

Green Energy Advice Bureau

Owl Live

Sputnik Digital

Personal injury and clinical negligence: defendant

The clinical negligence team at BLM deals with a full range of claims involving alleged delay in diagnosis of cancer, surgical claims, wrongful birth and brain and spinal injury claims. Manchester healthcare head Sarah Woodwark heads the clinical negligence practice group, other specialisms of which include opthalmic treatments, cosmetic procedures and dental claims, where Chris Dexter is noted. Jonathan Clay, Joanne Francis and Stuart Furniss head the personal injury team, which has a uniformly strong offering across occupational illness and disease, catastrophic injury, abuse, employers’ and public liability and motor claims. Ruth Graham, Andrew Kerr, David Spencer and Lauren Gosnell are all noted, as is associate Nicola Overmire.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Woodwark; Jonathan Clay; Joanne Francis; Stuart Furniss

Other key lawyers:

Chris Dexter; Ruth Graham; Andrew Kerr; David Spencer; Lauren Gosnell; Nicola Overmire; Elizabeth Wallace

Testimonials

‘All the solicitors we speak to are extremely knowledgeable but also very personable. They make you feel comfortable to ask questions and will also go above and beyond in terms of the guidance and advice they are able to provide.’

‘Chris Dexter is possibly one of the hardest working lawyers I know. He is totally committed to his job and consequently gets excellent results for his clients. Sarah Woodwark is a very experienced lawyer who has impeccable judgement and a natural ability to put clients at ease.’

‘Highly skilled team with extensive expertise. The team are helpful, understand and importantly, listen to the business to obtain information to support the matter in which they are engaged. The BLM team have taken the time to understand our billing processes and ensure they follow the appropriate steps so the billing process runs smoothly. The advice and reports are excellent and our business is extremely happy with advice and support provided by the whole team.’

‘Jonathan Clay is an absolute pleasure to work with. Jonathan is a master of his area of work, an expert who is hardworking, has a complete grasp of his subject, very focused yet can view the wider picture and strategise how to achieve objectives. He is the best I have encountered in his field.’

‘Friendly, responsive, easy to work with. Dedicated. Jo Francis and her team have done excellent work in providing client service on high value injury claims.’

‘Elizabeth Wallace and Stuart Furniss exhibit all the best attributes of a solicitor acting for defendant insurers, maintaining close contact, giving clear and comprehensive advice in complex and high value claims, standing their ground even when the advice is not always likely to be palatable. Each has a clear eye to commerciality but also to principle. They are prepared open to innovative solutions to cases and prepared to stand their ground to achieve a fair result.’

‘David Spencer – the consummate insurance lawyer. Andrew Kerr – usually the cleverest person in the room. Lauren Gosnell – fantastic judgement and incredibly hard-working.’

‘Andrew Kerr: a skilled and quietly efficient solicitor with the gift of seeing the broader picture and appreciating the tactical implications involved in any particular case. Nicola Overmire: fiercely determined and dogged in her pursuit of an advantage for the client.’

Key clients

Ageas

Allianz

Aviva

AXA

AXA XL

Balfour Beatty

Bentley

Boparan

Bouygues

Carlsberg

Chubb

CNA

Covea

Cucina

DLG

Ecclesiastical

Generali

GeoAmey

Hastings

HDI

Holts

Jet2

Karro Food Group

Liberty

MAG

Matalan

Metrolink

MIB

National Trust

Network Rail

Northern Rail

Odeon

Peel Ports

Persimmon

Protector

QBE

Redrow

Ringway Jacobs

Ryder

Sainsburys

Tesco

Thames Valley Police

Transdev

Travelers

Travelodge

Travis Perkins/Wickes

Warburtons

Wilko

Zurich

Personal injury and clinical negligence: defendant

BLM has a superb full-service insurance practice that assists an extensive range of insurers, corporate clients as well as local authorities. The general liability unit is led by Mike Dobson and deals with issues such as employers’ liability and public liability. James Harvey heads up the corporate risk team; Paul Owston leads the public sector unit and the fraud practice group is led by Sarah Hill.  Val Hughes is a key contact at the occupational disease unit - this unit deals with issues such as asbestos related diseases and noise induced hearing loss. At associate level David Thompson works for insurers and corporates on employers' liability, public liability and motor claims.

Practice head(s):

James Harvey; Mike Dobson; Paul Owston; Sarah Hill; Val Hughes

Other key lawyers:

Adrian Marston; David Thompson

Testimonials

Adrian Marston identifies the key issues and pursues them with resolve, but retains the ability to see the case in the round and knows when to back off. Brilliant on chronic pain cases’.

Key clients

Affinity Water

Ageas Allianz

Allianz

Argenta

Aviva

AXA XL

Birmingham City Council

Bloor Homes

City of Wolverhampton Council

Derby City Council

DLG

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

Glen Dimplex

Insurance London Consortium (nine London boroughs)

Jet2

Kent County Council

MIB

Moto

National Express

Fairmead Insurance (formerly L&G)

QBE

Shropshire Council

Telford & Wrekin Council

Travelodge

Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council

Zurich

Zurich Insurance (principally Municipal)

Personal injury and clinical negligence; defendant

Led by Henry Kirkup, the general liability team at BLM has strong working relationships with claims departments, underwriters, managing general agents, local authorities and insurance brokers. In particular, it is known for handling cases relating to serious damage of the spine and brain as well as orthopaedic injuries and fatalities. The firm is well-versed in claims issues pertaining to ‘fundamental dishonesty' and also has strategic focus on periodical payments orders and Court of Protection matters. Christopher Kilner is another key partner in the team. The firm's Leeds office was closed during 2020, with all staff moving to remote working.

Practice head(s):

Henry Kirkup

Other key lawyers:

Chris Kilner; Richard Adams; Jill Wigginton

Testimonials

‘Knowledgeable and easy to deal with. Very hardworking team.’

‘Chris Kilner is a key support from the Leeds branch, assisting on technical liabilities claims and training.’

‘Jill Wigginton is a pleasure to work with. Always friendly and nothing is too much trouble. She is always willing to to advise and explains all the pitfalls that could happen, as well as what we would hope would happen.’

‘Henry Kirkup is a rising star in the team at BLM.’

‘I have had a very good working relationship with BLM Leeds for over 10 years. They are technically sound, also provide ad hoc support and have some great initiatives that they provide to their key clients. This includes many training sessions for my team on liability matters.’

‘The team are knowledgeable and very easy to communicate with. Their explanation of things is always in a language that is understood and not complicated by the use of jargon and phrases that non professionals find hard to understand as some companies do. The team have assisted us on a few occasions and made time to learn our procedures which assists with the speed of replies as we do not have to start over from the beginning each time.’

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

Hiscox

Builders Direct

Arch Insurance

Plum Underwriting

Care UK

GRP Panel

Vista Brokers

Manchester Underwriting

Personal injury and clinical negligence; defendant

BLM's defendant-side large loss and catastrophic injury team in the Bristol region, which includes 'some of the best lawyers and support', has a varied practice, representing major insurers. It has developed additional niches in marine and abuse-related cases, as well as a strong local authority practice. Other areas of expertise are industrial disease, casualty and health and safety claims. The group also has experience defending foreign claims. Andrew Lawson specialises in claims involving brain injuries, upper and lower-limb amputations and paralysis, as well as representing insured defendants in regulatory prosecutions. The 'very brightRebecca Shafto handles a wide variety of catastrophic injury cases for the firm's insurer clients. 'Leaving no stone unturned', associate Emma Palmer is building a reputation for defending brain injury cases. The firm's Bristol office was closed during 2020, with all staff moving to remote working; the department is coordinated from Southampton by Joe Wakeford.

Practice head(s):

Joe Wakeford

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Lawson; Rebecca Shafto; Emma Palmer

Testimonials

‘Strong team. Adapted well to online working with good preparation of e-bundles. Excellent client care.’

‘Rebecca Shafto is very bright. Andrew Lawson demonstrates excellent preparation and is thorough. Emma Palmer leaves no stone unturned.

‘The Bristol office of BLM has some of the best lawyers and support. I know I can rely on their skills, knowledge and experience to get the job done correctly first time. They are prepared to kick back when they don’t agree with me, which I like.’

‘Andrew Lawson and Rebecca Shafto stand out for me. They are both extremely reliable, efficient and knowledgeable.’

Key clients

DLG

LV=

QBE

Gallagher Bassett

North Somerset Council

NSL

First Port

Hastings Direct

Herefordshire Council

Personal injury and clinical negligence; defendant

BLM provides an 'excellent service across the board' to defendants in the context of both personal injury and clinical negligence claims. The six-partner personal injury team is the larger of the two groups and has the critical mass to allocate resources to key sub-sectors. The 'professional and friendly' Kerris Dale heads up the motor unit group and is 'vastly experienced and knowledgeable' in defending insurers in claims ranging from the relatively commoditised, through to those of the utmost severity. John Roberts leads the public sector offering which continues to represent numerous Wales-based local authorities across a myriad claims relating to highways, abuse, stress, public liability and employment liability. The team is rounded out by Craig Hevicon, who specialises in the defence of occupational disease cases, particularly those involving asbestos-related illnesses. The 'tenacious and dedicatedJane Lang  heads a 'fantastic healthcare group' which has a 'wealth of knowledge and experience' defending healthcare professionals in regulatory/disciplinary proceedings, as well as in any attendant inquests and clinical negligence proceedings. In September 2021 the firm announced that it would not be renewing the lease on its Cardiff office, and that the firm's lawyers in the region would now work remotely on a permanent basis.

Practice head(s):

Kerris Dale; John Roberts; Craig Hevicon (Personal Injury) Jane Lang (Clinical Negligence)

Other key lawyers:

Simon Cradick; Matthew Harrington; Victoria Garvey; Holly Miles

Testimonials

‘The Cardiff team has a strong knowledge of all aspects of industrial disease work: eg asbestos claims, noise induced hearing loss, upper limb injuries. They have embraced new technology to get through the Covid period with aplomb.’

‘Professional, friendly, vastly knowledgeable and experienced in defendant personal injury claims.’

‘Kerris Dale is professional, friendly, vastly experienced and knowledgeable. Always available to discuss a claim or provide advice.’

Jane Lang is tenacious and dedicated and is exceptionally good at dealing with difficult and at times very nervous clients.’

Jane Lang is a stand out star in healthcare-orientated work. Her capacity for work is prodigious, her judgement is superb and she is able to be both tough and empathetic where required.’

Key clients

Sedgwick UK

Aviva

PwC

Tata Steel UK

QBE Insurance

Liberty Mutual

Zurich

Stagecoach/PSV

Welsh Water

Pro Global

Armour Risk

Signature Aviation

Resolute Management

Medical Protection

Dental Protection

National Pharmacy Association

All Med Pro

Abbey Legal Protection (Markel)

Specsavers Optical Group

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. Additionally, the firm also boasts a rapidly expanding commercial advisory and private wealth team.

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.” Having made great strides in the last 12 months, the firm now operates completely digitally; having implemented its Digital First strategy across all lines of business.

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 comprises eight tools combining cutting-edge case management, communication and analytics tools to improve client outcomes and help with their business challenges. In 2020 BLM added to its Innovations suite with the launch of Fraud Edge – a smart new tool enabling clients to understand potential exposure to those organisations or enablers that are suspected of presenting fraudulent claims. 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 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.  The firm is founder members of Global Insurance Law Connect, established in 2017. The Network comprises like-minded risk and insurance law businesses enabling the firm to collaborate with insurance lawyers across more classes of business in more countries than many other similar networks. It was inspired by client demand and was established to support clients to confidently receive solutions to insurance and legal challenges around the globe.

BLM’s team of over 200 partners and more than 550 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 John Guerin
Birmingham Sarah Hill
Bristol Joe Wakeford
Cardiff Kerris Dale
Derry John Guerin
Dublin Sinead Connolly and Olivia Treston
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
 Philip Adamis  photo Philip Adamis Philip is a partner and a dual-qualified chartered loss adjuster and solicitor. He…
 Mark Aitken  photo Mark Aitken Mark is a partner and works closely with insurers who monitor the…
 Ross Baker photo Ross Baker Ross is a partner and specialises in professional indemnity and directors and…
 Phil Carney  photo Phil Carney Partner
 Louise Carroll  photo Louise Carroll Partner
 Lucy Clements-Smith  photo Lucy Clements-Smith Partner
 Claire Collins  photo Claire Collins I am a Partner at BLM based in the London catastrophic injury…
 Julian Cox  photo Julian Cox Julian heads up BLM’s employment team in London. After starting my legal…
 Caroline Craigie  photo Caroline Craigie Caroline is a partner in the personal injury team. She specialises in…
 Thomas Dixon  photo Thomas Dixon Tom is a partner in the catastrophic team in London. He specialises…
 Stuart Evans  photo Stuart Evans Partner and Head of Commercial Litigation, London
 Grainne Fahy  photo Grainne Fahy Grainne is a partner and national head of family law. She has…
 Matthew Ford  photo Matthew Ford Matthew is Head of BLM’s London Casualty team and deals with large…
 Nick Gibbons  photo Nick Gibbons Partner.
 Diana Goldstein photo Diana Goldstein Diana is a partner in the London regulatory team and has extensive…
 Michael Harvey  photo Michael Harvey Michael is a partner and is experienced in handling all types of…
 Peter James photo Peter James Peter is a partner and heads up the safety, health and environment…
 Paula Jefferson  photo Paula Jefferson Paula has extensive experience in advising on all issues resulting from non-recent…
 Martin Jensen  photo Martin Jensen Martin is a partner in BLM London’s professional indemnity department. With considerable…
 Ben Jones  photo Ben Jones Ben is a partner whose work involves acting for corporate and commercial…
 Warren King  photo Warren King Warren King specialises in all forms of property damage liability and subrogation…
 Peter Klim photo Peter Klim Partner
 Vanessa Latham  photo Vanessa Latham   Vanessa is a partner specialising in employment law and defendant occupational…
 Adam Lidster  photo Adam Lidster Adam is head of the costs unit and has a particular expertise…
 Emily List photo Emily List Partner
 Nigel Lock  photo Nigel Lock Nigel is a partner in the London Occupational Disease team, specialising in…
 Sharon MacArthur-Powell  photo Sharon MacArthur-Powell Sharon specialises in the investigation and defence of high value EL and…
 Andrew McDonald  photo Andrew McDonald Andrew is a partner and has over 30 years’ experience.  He specialises in…
 Greg McEwen  photo Greg McEwen Partner specialising in defending complex, multi-party and high value clinical claims.  Greg…
 Jason McNerlin  photo Jason McNerlin Partner advising domestic and foreign insurers of product contamination/recall policies and product…
 Edwin Millburn  photo Edwin Millburn Partner
 Sharon Moohan  photo Sharon Moohan Partner
 John O’Shea  photo John O’Shea John is a partner with expertise in speciality and financial lines and…
 Nick Pargeter  photo Nick Pargeter Nick is Head of Risk and Compliance at BLM. He is also…
 Ella Partner photo Ella Partner Ella is a partner and acts on behalf of a broad range…
 Michelle Penn  photo Michelle Penn Partner, heads up the OD team in London and specialises in all…
 Michael Pether  photo Michael Pether Michael is a partner and specialises in the defence of high profile…
 Dileep Pisharody  photo Dileep Pisharody Dileep is a partner with over 20 years’ experience. He specialises in handling…
 Hanna Platt photo Hanna Platt Hanna is a partner in BLM’s Property Damage team and specialises in…
 Matthew Poli  photo Matthew Poli Matthew is a partner and heads up BLM’s corporate and commercial team…
 Elliot Pound  photo Elliot Pound Elliot is a leading partner within BLM’s London office. He has provided…
 Edward Sainsbury  photo Edward Sainsbury Partner
 Orla Scanlan  photo Orla Scanlan Orla is a partner and head of BLM’s national police team. She…
 Rosie Shapiro  photo Rosie Shapiro Rosie is a partner in the London healthcare department. She has extensive…
 Jim Sherwood  photo Jim Sherwood Jim leads the product liability and recall team at BLM, acting for…
 Tim Smith  photo Tim Smith Tim is a partner and leads the TMT (Technology, Media and Telecoms)…
 Gary Thwaites photo Gary Thwaites Partner
 Alexander Traill  photo Alexander Traill Alex is a partner in the professional indemnity department. He acts for…
 Laura Trezise  photo Laura Trezise Partner
 Ian Walker  photo Ian Walker Ian is a partner in the personal injury team in London. He…
 Daniel West  photo Daniel West Daniel is a partner in the product liability team. He acts for…
 Adam Weston photo Adam Weston As a partner at BLM since May 2018, Adam acts for healthcare…
 Elizabeth Whittingham  photo Elizabeth Whittingham Elizabeth is a partner specialising in property damage liability and recovery work…
 Gary Wicks photo Gary Wicks Partner
Number of UK partners : 222
Number of other UK fee-earners : 562
Total staff : 1321

We are committed to developing, maintaining and supporting a culture of equality, diversity and inclusion for our workforce. We seek to sustain a working, learning and social environment in which all our people can achieve their potential and are valued, recognised, supported and celebrated. In 2019 we were proud to have been ranked in a list of Top 50 UK employers for inclusiveness, a definitive list of UK based organisations that promote inclusion at each level of employment within their organisation. The list represents those companies which promote all strands of diversity including age, disability, gender, LGBT, race, faith and religion.

We were also the first law firm to officially sign up to The Inclusive Behaviours in Insurance Pledge, an initiative set up by Lloyd’s of London and Zurich to demonstrate the insurance industry’s commitment to creating a “culture where inclusive behaviours become the norm and where everyone is accepting of diversity.”

We are committed to creating an inclusive workplace which reflects the diverse nature of the communities in which we work. We know that embracing difference contributes positively to a flourishing workforce.

We have completed our 2019 Gender Pay Gap overview, which reflects the required reporting details, including statistics for the firm’s pay and bonus gap, proportionality of male and female employees, as well as an overview of the approach we take to the wellbeing of all our employees. It is encouraging that the percentage of women in our upper quartile has increased this year along with significant improvement to our gender pay gap median, trends we are continuously seeking to maintain and improve. We have a constantly evolving leadership development programme at the firm, and the equality of opportunity provided by this programme can clearly be seen in the positive changes to our Gender Pay Gap year-on-year.

The Lex 100 Verdict

BLM is an insurance litigation firm, making it a unique place to train. The national firm has 13 offices across the UK and Ireland and its ‘diverse range of litigation seats’ plus ‘expertise in insurance law’ were the main factors driving trainee applications. Plenty of client secondment opportunities round off the broad training experience. Hands-on tasks are the norm, with standout moments including ‘drafting applications to court, instructions to counsel and witness statements’ and ‘being given the main role in settling a £1m claim on an insurance policy’. However, this doesn’t mean that trainees don’t have to do grunt work such as ‘large document review projects’, ‘reviewing social services records of over 10,000 pages’ and ‘having to run to court at 3pm to issue proceedings by 4pm’. Recruits are very grateful for ‘the amount of trust placed in us’ and for ‘approachable partners’ from whom they receive plenty of supervision. What’s more, ‘there is a big emphasis on employee welfare, which has been particularly valuable during the pandemic’. Recruits feel that the salaries in some locations ‘could be a little higher – more in line with our competitors’. Another gripe is that ‘we are not always kept up to date with matters relating to our training’. Because of lockdown, some trainees feel that they have ‘missed out on opportunities and building relationships’, whilst others commented that they have had longer hours due to working from home. But ‘overall, the firm has adapted well to this new way of working and supervision’. For plenty of exposure and high-profile clients in a friendly firm with a good work/life balance, look into BLM.