Legal Business Blogs

BLM to cut more business support roles with up to 15% of staff at risk

Berrymans Lace Mawer (BLM) is looking to cut up to 50 secretarial and support roles across the firm, totalling 15% of BLM’s overall business support roles, following the firm’s investment in technology and flexible working among lawyers.

It is understood that voluntary redundancy was offered was to over 300 employees in the firm. Staff were informed last Friday (8 June), with the process expected to conclude at the end of this month.

The law firm, which specialises in insurance and risk, has already restructured its business support roles in Leeds.

Mike Brown, senior partner at BLM said in a statement that the firm had decided to review its direct support teams across all locations in line with its business improvement programme.

Brown added that BLM has ‘made a significant investment in developing technology at our firm and many of our lawyers are now working in an agile way which has an impact upon the demand for traditional direct support.’

‘We have therefore offered voluntary redundancy to colleagues in our direct support teams and this process is currently ongoing’, he added.

Last November, Legal Business reported that BLM was to axe nine of 40 business support roles in Leeds as it downsized and relocated its presence in the city.

In a press statement, the firm said it had embarked on a programme of business improvement earlier in the year and that it has established a ‘premises strategy group’ to review its locations.

The firm sought to change the nature of its Leeds operations to ‘create a lean, agile and focused hub in Leeds, thereby reducing our current office space,’ according to a statement.

At that time, BLM said its intention was to maintain as many staff as possible and it was consulting on the proposed redundancies. It said it had a strong customer relationships in place in its Leeds office and would maintain a presence in the city.

In 2015/16, BLM posted a 3% increase in turnover to £107.7m but has struggled with profitability, as profits per equity partner fell 14% to £205,000 during the period.

In 2014/15 the firm surpassed the £100m mark, buoyed by its Scottish and Northern Ireland mergers.

Berrymans merged with HBM Sayers on 1 May 2014 to become BLM, creating a £100m risk and insurance-focused firm with 170 partners and additional offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Further expansion saw the firm combine with Campbell Fitzpatrick Solicitors in December 2014, providing the firm with offices in Belfast and Londonderry, eight partners and an additional 21 legal staff.