Salaried partners at BLM will have to re-apply for their positions once the firm’s merger with Clyde & Co goes live on 1 July.
Subject to a consultation, the salaried partners at BLM will be automatically transferred to Clyde with the title of legal director, and then given three options. Aside from remaining a director, they can apply to become a salaried partner (this option is only open to the casualty insurance practice) or a full equity partner at the merged firm.
The salaried option being confined to the casualty insurance practice is because the vast majority of the practice will be staffed by legacy BLM lawyers, whose clients have historically prioritised value. Clyde did not comment on whether legal directors should expect a salary broadly consistent with their BLM payouts.
Of the roughly 140 salaried BLM partners, those who do not accept the legal director position will be subject to a redundancy process.
A Clyde spokesperson said: ‘We can confirm that a consultation process has started involving BLM’s salaried partners ahead of our merger with them going live on 1 July. While the vast majority of our BLM colleagues’ roles will transfer to Clyde & Co, we do not have a role equivalent to that of a BLM salaried partner at the firm. As such it is proposed that all salaried partners will become legal directors and in parallel are given the chance to apply for a new Clyde & Co salaried partner role that will exist only in our casualty practice, or for the role of partner.
‘We appreciate this is a disruptive and potentially unsettling time for the individuals involved and we will be supporting them through the consultation process. As the consultation is ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment further.
‘We are excited about realising the benefits of our merger for our clients and our people. We are creating the largest casualty insurance practice in the UK and will have the ability invest in technology, provide clients with access to the largest dataset in the industry, and go to market as a whole-of-market, and truly national provider of legal services to the insurance sector.’
Additionally, as part of the merger process, BLM’s offices in Manchester and Liverpool will be consolidated into one new Manchester hub. As a result, all of BLM’s staff in Liverpool will be subject to a redundancy process, however the majority will be offered hybrid working roles in the Manchester office.
A source close to the plans said that BLM had been reviewing its property portfolio long before the merger, and that the move is reminiscent of the firm’s decision to close its Leeds and Bristol offices in 2020 to focus on hybrid working.
A BLM spokesperson said: ‘We can confirm that as part of the TUPE consultation consequent upon the merger with Clyde & Co, we are also in consultation with BLM colleagues based in Liverpool on a proposal to close the current office and reduce our footprint in the city significantly. This follows on from our comprehensive property review.
‘We are pleased that, subject to consultation, the majority of our staff based there will be offered roles in Manchester on a hybrid working basis. We are mindful that this is a disruptive time and may be concerning for the individuals involved and we will be supporting them through the consultation and integration process. As it is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.
‘Our merger with Clyde & Co is based on our shared ambition to be the market leading insurance practice in the UK. All of our decisions for the merged entity will be based on ensuring we have the service offering, technology and delivery processes to meet the needs of our clients now and in the future.’
In March, Legal Business revealed that a partner vote on a merger between Clyde and BLM was imminent. The following month, market commentators offered conflicting views on whether the tie-up represented a trend of consolidation in the insurance sector.