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Work 0161 236 2002
Fax 0161 832 7956

Address: King’s House, 42 King Street West, Manchester, M3 2NU




Survey results


The lowdown (in their own words...)

Why did you choose this firm over any others? 
 '‘Leader within insurance law’; ‘regional setting’; ‘as a paralegal at the firm I saw that the supervision was good’; ‘positive vacation scheme experience’; ‘links to healthcare law’; ‘eminent defence practice’; ‘I’d experienced working with the firm’s approachable supervisors and partners’; ‘a large enough city firm with the feeling of a high street firm’; ‘renowned for being an excellent firm that obtains commercial results’
Best thing about the firm? 
 '‘The approachability of the partners’; ‘good work/life balance’; ‘you’re given your own case load’; ‘supportive environment’; ‘without a doubt the people are the best thing about the firm’; ‘the standard of work outside of London’; ‘CSR and pro bono opportunities’; ‘the responsibility you have early on’; ‘the variety of things you can get involved with’
Worst thing about the firm? 
 '‘Trainee remuneration’; ‘the administrative tasks we’re given’; ‘lack of international opportunities’; ‘limited social events’; ‘staff morale can be low sometimes’; ‘the benefits package isn’t very good’; ‘not enough client contact’; ‘sometimes the business’ needs are prioritised over the development of the trainee’
Best moment? 
 '‘Going on secondment to an insurance broking firm specialising in construction’; ‘serving my first appeal’; ‘attending court to witness a trial’; ‘being able to attend an inquest on my own’; ‘going to a conference with counsel and five experts’; ‘bonding with other trainees whilst on the PSC course’; ‘being offered a client secondment’; ‘attending a potentially ground-breaking trial at the High Court’; ‘the day I was given my first piece of substantial work’
Worst moment?
 '‘Receiving a call when I was five minutes away from a site inspection to be told it couldn’t go ahead after I’d woken up early to travel’; ‘updating spreadsheets’; ‘being given non-legal tasks to complete’; ‘being sat in a department I had no interest in’; ‘having to complete disclosure’; ‘being passed files from a colleague who had recently left whilst having very limited knowledge of the area of law’'

If the firm were a fictional character it would be...

Shrek – may look big and scary but deep down it is very kind

The verdict

The firm

BLM is an insurance risk and commercial law firm with both a domestic and international focus. The firm is spread across the UK and Ireland and has offices in Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Derry, Edinburgh, London and Southampton to name a few. The firm handles top-end serious injury work and also manages personal injury and motor insurance work for its varied clientele.  

The star performers

Clinical negligence: defendant; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Crime: fraud; Family; Health and safety; Local government; Personal injury: defendant; Professional discipline; Professional negligence; Shipping; Social housing; Transport; Travel: personal injury.

The deals

Representing Thomas Cook in a large group action involving allegations of a cryptosporidium outbreak; acted for the Bar Standards Board in a claim by a practising QC disputing its handling of a complaint from another barrister; represented a former medical director at UC24 in a General Medical Council investigation and Medical Practitioners Tribunal hearing into allegations that he failed to action over 150 test results and failed to adequately manage his responsibilities as medical director; defended Clarion Housing Group on a case involving allegations of disrepair, breach of human rights, personal injury, disability and racial discrimination; advising the University of East London and RSA on a claim brought by an international student

The clients

Allianz; Aviva; Chubb; European Risk Insurance Company; Fujitsu; Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service; National Pharmacy Association; Spirit Pub Company; Stena Line; Zurich

The verdict

If you’re looking for ‘hands-on experience’ and ‘responsibility from the beginning’, BLM should be on your radar. The firm is a ‘leader within insurance law’ and has ‘connections with the London insurance market’. Many trainees started off as paralegals at the firm, and their decision to commence training contracts is testament to BLM’s ‘welcoming’ and ‘friendly environment’. Recruits also chose to train at BLM due to its ‘regional setting’ which appealed to those wanting a life away from the capital. The ‘variety of seats available’ and ‘eminent defence practice’ also tempted rookies through the doors. According to respondents, it’s ‘almost unheard of to work late at BLM’ which explains why the firm is a Lex 100 Winner for work/life balance. Trainees enjoy the ‘day-to-day responsibility’ given to them and it’s customary to have ‘your own case load’ whilst ‘feeling supported’. The ‘lack of international opportunities’ and ‘non-legal administrative work we are required to complete’ grated on a handful of recruits. Trainees also groaned about the salary which is ‘quite poor in comparison to similar firms in Manchester’, however, one recruit believes that ‘the great people balance that out a little’. Trainee highlights included ‘attending a groundbreaking trial at the High Court’, ‘being offered a client secondment’ and ‘attending the PSC course prior to joining which allowed the trainee cohort to get to know each other’. In recent times, recruits have participated in ‘bake sales and ‘fancy dress competitions’ as part of the firm’s CSR efforts. A ‘Tough Mudder’ event is also scheduled. If you want a ‘large firm but with the feeling of a high street firm’, apply to BLM.

 A day in the life of...

holly paterson

Holly Paterson trainee, BLM  

Departments to date:  Casualty, healthcare (current)

University:University of Manchester Degree and class: Law with Criminology LLB, 2(1); Healthcare Ethics and Law LLM, 2(1)  

8.30am:  I arrive in the office, armed with a Pret coffee (50p off for using my reusable flask!). I have some time to review today’s to-do list, check my emails, peruse the morning news, or get a head start with any urgent tasks.

9.00am:  I have been asked if I want to attend a conference with my supervisor at 11, so I pop over and check if there is anything I can do beforehand. All is under control, so I spend a bit of time reviewing the file. I really enjoy researching the medical elements, and the practitioner’s speciality beforehand. It’s also essential for noting the spellings/abbreviations of any unfamiliar conditions for my future note.

11.00am:  Attending the meeting is our client (the insurer), and their member (usually a doctor, dentist or other healthcare professional). It makes for an interesting dynamic balancing the instructions of the insurer client, with the expectations of the member. We spend a couple of hours discussing the allegations, the available evidence, and realistic prospects. I make a shortlist of follow-on tasks that I will assist with.

1.00pm:  Lunchtime, and I am meeting the other trainees, typically grabbing lunch and (weather permitting) heading to a nearby park for some fresh air. We usually swap snippets of our daily tasks to give us some understanding of other department’s work and atmosphere. This really helps when it comes to making future seat choices. When possible we attend lunchtime talks from other departments. These are really useful for gaining insight into alternative sectors, and for notable legal developments generally.

2.00pm:  I begin drafting instructions to an expert in another matter. I enquire if there are any other similar matters ongoing to which I can compare my draft, and delve into the many documents on file to identify the allegations, summaries, and medical evidence that form my instruction.

3.00pm:  The department’s professional support lawyer pops over and invites me to attend a telephone meeting between the BLM healthcare departments nationally. The aim of the meeting is to discuss the issues pertaining to gross negligence manslaughter allegations in relation to medical professionals within a hospital setting.

4.00pm:  I am heading to a medical practitioners tribunal hearing tomorrow to take note and assist counsel. I review the documents on the file so I am aware of the allegations the doctor faces, and the evidence before the panel. I quickly research who counsel is so I can put a face to a name tomorrow and save the embarrassment of wrong introductions.

4.45pm:  I am asked if I can assist in collating a bundle a partner is hoping to send out that evening. I am happy to help as her instructions are always very clear, her files are in good order and she is always very appreciative of your assistance.

5.30pm:  I review any supervision provided that day, send any final emails, and review tomorrow’s to-do list. I might research any issues that have piqued my interest that day, or chat to the trainees about ideas/plans for a social event. A partner in an adjacent desk is probably telling me to go home already and on the days the sun is shining it is likely some trainees will be at a nearby pub. Otherwise it may be dinner with friends, an exercise class, or more likely home to cook up a feast.

About the firm

Address:King’s House, 42 King Street West, Manchester, M3 2NU

Telephone: 0161 236 2002


Senior partner:  Matthew Harrington

Managing partner:  Vivienne Williams

Other offices: Liverpool, Birmingham, London, Southampton 

Who we are: BLM is an insurance risk and commercial law firm with both a domestic and international focus.

What we do: We have established a deep-rooted presence in the general insurance sector, the London Market and amongst brokers. We also have a significant presence among corporate businesses many of whom are multi-national, the public sector and the health and care industry.

What we are looking for: You should be confident and resilient in your approach and demonstrate exemplary interpersonal written and verbal communication skills.

What you'll do:You will be assuming real responsibility in a supportive environment from an early stage.

Perks: Health cash plans, income protection, retail vouchers, pension, chance to buy holiday.

Sponsorship:BLM will fund the LPC for future trainees who have not completed this. The LPC must be completed with BPP.


Facts and figures

Total partners: 196 (61 EPs, 135 SPs)

Other fee-earners: 770

Total trainees: 47

Trainee places available for 2021: 23

Applications received pa: 1,200 

Percentage interviewed: 5% 


First year: Â£31,000

Second year: Â£32,000

Newly qualified: Â£44,000

 Application process

Apply to:Keely Nelson – emerging talent specialist

How: Please apply online via our website

What's involved: Online application, online critical thinking test, assessment centre

When to apply:

Training contract: By 30 June 2019.

Vacation scheme: By 27 January 2019. 

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