Firm Profile > BLM > Glasgow, Scotland

G2 1HY

Personal injury: defender Tier 1

BLM added four new solicitors to the team during 2018, consolidating its market-leading position in personal injury. The practice handles the defence of complex public liability and employers’ liability claims, road traffic accidents and fatal claims, including cross-border matters and class actions. The team includes Gillian Rushbury, the head of the firm's solicitor advocacy unit in Scotland, and Ian Leach, who is working with associate Catriona MacLean on claims arising from the Glasgow bin lorry tragedy. The team's partners regularly give advice during government consultations on topics such as legal costs.

Practice head(s):

Ian Leach; Gillian Rushbury

Other key lawyers:

Rachel Rough; Catriona MacLean


‘Rachel Rough’s team’s knowledge of the local market is extensive. Their desire to provide a first class service moulded to our requirements has inspired confidence in our relationship.’

‘The team at BLM are very hard working and knowledgeable.’

‘Iain Buchanan is clever, hard working and dedicated.’

‘Louise Gallagher is intuitive, firm and practical.’

Key clients

1st Central










AXA Insurance

BAI Claims Services Ltd


Direct Line



Charles Taylor Adjusters



City of Edinburgh Council

Health and safety Tier 2

Acting for corporates, public sector clients and individuals, BLM is well versed in handling a wide range of health and safety work, including fatal and serious injury cases, corporate manslaughter investigations, environmental exposures and food safety matters. The 'very capable' James Varney heads the team.

Practice head(s):

James Varney

Key clients



QBE Insurance

Glasgow City Council

Family Tier 4

BLM 's team of 'true specialists' work particularly well with difficult financial cases, such as divorce proceedings involving allegations of domestic abuse, the division of assets held in multiple countries, and a novel civil partnership dissolution that raised a dispute about the ownership of embryos. In terms of child law, the practice advises clients on residence disputes, contact orders and exclusions orders - in one highly contentious matter, former practice head Siobhan Kelly was instructed as child welfare reporter to represent the interests of a child facing the prospect of foster care. Caroline Gillespie - who is 'always a step ahead of the opposition' has particular expertise in international child relocation and cohabitation cases.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Gillespie

Other key lawyers:


‘Caroline Gillespie is on the ball and always a step ahead of the opposition.’

‘The team has a great breadth of experience and diversity of knowledge, and an excellent reputation.’

‘Passionate about their clients’ outcomes, Siobhan Kelly and Caroline Gillespie both stand out.  Both have a huge knowledge base and are very well respected within the industry.’

The firm: BLM is more than an insurance and risk law firm – it understands and is firmly embedded into the sector. Its purpose is to have a positive impact upon its customers’ businesses. As well as having more experts dedicated to the sector than any of its competitors, BLM’s ‘one team’ philosophy is delivering extraordinary outcomes for its customers. Fundamentally, it is helping them to reduce the time and money they spend on managing risk and resolving disputes. BLM obtains beneficial leading judgments on cases of utmost importance to its customers. BLM is described in customer surveys and legal directories as a firm with ‘its finger on the pulse of the market’€ and as a ‘technical powerhouse’€. It presently represents 13 of the top 15 UK insurers, and many corporate clients, both in the UK and worldwide.

With ambitions for growth and expansion, 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 BLM launched, with several founding members, Global Insurance Law Connect; it comprises like-minded risk and insurance law businesses. What sets Global Insurance Law Connect apart is its understanding of the insurance industry and it comprises really specialist insurance lawyers across more classes of business in more countries than many other and similar networks. Global Insurance Law Connect was inspired by customer demand and was established to support customers to confidently receive solutions to insurance and legal challenges around the globe.

BLM’s award winning Customer Insight programme has assisted the firm in gaining an independent view of what customers really think, with the aim of building a better understanding of their perceptions of the firm, and their needs and requirements now and in the future.

BLM’s team of over 200 partners and more than 800 legal specialists is focused upon the insurance and risk market and is recognised for having the capability, creativity and energy to support customers and help them find solutions to their problems.

Accolades and industry awards: In 2016 senior partner Mike Brown was awarded Director of the Year (Large Company) for the North West (Institute of Directors); Commercial Insurance Law Firm of the Year in 2016 (Commercial Insurance Awards); Winner – Client Care Initiative (Modern Law Awards 2016); Third Party Claims Management Team of the Year for Profecta (Insurance Times Claims Excellence Awards); Insurance Law Firm of the Year (Claims Awards 2014).

Types of work undertaken: BLM has established a deep-rooted presence in the general insurance sector, the London Market and amongst brokers and has an excellent record in handling a full range of matters including commercial disputes, family law, healthcare disputes, liability claims, marine insurance claims, professional liability, public service risks and regulatory matters. BLM’s depth of expertise is pre-eminent in these areas and the firm is recognised by customers, competitors and the judiciary. The firm also has a significant presence amongst corporate businesses many of whom are multi-national, the public sector and the health and care industry. In addition BLM has an established policy development team which often acts as a conduit between government, policymakers and the firm and its customers.

BLM has a vibrant and growing family law team. The formidable team, with accreditations in Family Law & Child Law, collaborative practice and mediation, has an excellent reputation in cases involving high net worth financial provision upon divorce, as well as in high profile and international cases.

BLM takes a high level and active role in ongoing debates and consultations in Scotland relating to legal and procedural reform. The firm has partners who are members of various committees of the Law Society of Scotland (Civil Justice, Regulatory and Legal Services Reform), as well as being members of the Court Personal Injury Users Group, the ABI and the Chartered Institute of Insurers. There are three former chairs of the Forum of Insurance Lawyers in Scotland as well as five civil solicitor advocates, including an in-house QC, and with Law Society of Scotland Specialist Accreditation amongst its partners.

The firm is regularly instructed in high profile and strategic, campaigning litigation and advice. Current themes are the firm’s continuing instructions from insurers in low velocity impact motor cases and costs challenges, where BLM has featured consistently and most prominently in the Scottish market throughout the past year, as well as advising upon the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill.

Other offices: Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Londonderry, Manchester, Southampton

Department Name Email Telephone
Senior partner Michael Brown
Managing partner Gary Allison
Belfast Cormac Fitzpatrick
Birmingham Mike Dobson
Bristol Joe Wakeford
Cardiff Kerris Dale
Derry Cormac Fitzpatrick
Dublin Gavin Campbell
Edinburgh Ian Leach
Glasgow Gillian Rushbury
Leeds Henry Kirkup
Liverpool Joanne Francis
London Jennette Newman
Manchester Luisa Lamb
Southampton Joe Wakeford
Global insurance law network Nicola Lynch
Photo Name Position Profile
 Karen Dance  photo Karen Dance Karen is a partner and has been involved in insurance litigation for…
 Caroline Gillespie  photo Caroline Gillespie Caroline is head of the family law team and partner in Glasgow.…
 Andrew Gilmour  photo Andrew Gilmour Andrew is an insurance partner based in BLM’s Glasgow office. He is…
 Rachel Henry  photo Rachel Henry Rachel has specialised in person injury civil litigation since her traineeship in…
 Frank Hughes  photo Frank Hughes Frank is a partner and head of BLM’s Glasgow office. He has…
 Grant Maclean  photo Grant Maclean Grant is a partner and his routine involvement includes a wide range…
 Tony Murray  photo Tony Murray Experienced in all aspects of insurance litigation, Tony has specialised in handling…
 David Taylor  photo David Taylor Specialises in high value property damage work , defended and recovery, and…
 Kirsty Yuill  photo Kirsty Yuill Partner
Number of UK partners : 200
Number of other UK fee-earners : 675
Total staff : approx 1,600

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 known for market-leading prowess in the insurance and civil litigation fields, plus experience within the health and public sectors. This attracts trainees keen on a liabilities or tort law focus while offering the opportunity for a 'good variety of contentious seats', industry secondment places and a 'very good reputation in the market' as 'litigation specialists'. BLM is a nationwide full-service firm with a strong presence in Northern Ireland where it has offices in Belfast and Derry. Trainees applaud the firm's 'work/life balance and the approachability and support from partners'. The working atmosphere is described as 'relatively relaxed, yet professional.' As a result, BLM secures a Lex 100 Winner award for its work/life balance, retaining the award from last year. Trainees highlight the 'higher level of responsibility' compared with peers, and comment on the 'hands-on approach from the start. In my team, I am running my own caseload and have a high amount of client contact on a daily basis'. The only downsides reported are the pay and occasional lulls in work that some trainees experienced. A notable highlight included 'attending a Civil Justice Reform Committee meeting chaired by the Master of Rolls, surrounded by a dozen senior judges, QCs, and heads of relevant institutions'. The firm has a major focus on CSR activity and pro-bono support, which trainees applaud: 'there's lots of CSR going on and trainees are actively encouraged to participate'. For trainees looking for contentious civil training, early responsibility and speciality in the insurance and health sectors delivered in a personable and social atmosphere, BLM is an attractive option.