‘Move in the right direction’: BLM appoints veteran as new managing partner

Insurance law and risk specialist firm BLM announced today (17 July) it has appointed its claims solutions head Vivienne Williams (pictured) as the firm’s new managing partner. She replaced Gary Allison, who retired after 23 years at the firm, last week.

Williams assumed her position for three years with immediate effect. A partner at BLM for 29 years, and a member of the firm’s executive board, Williams headed its claims solutions business stream and the large loss and technical business stream, responsible for the quality of products, service delivery and performance within those areas.

Former managing partner Allison, also the firm’s healthcare lead, had been in the role since December 2016, when he replaced longstanding leader Andrew Relton.

Williams said BLM had made a number of strategic decisions over the last 12-18 months, ‘which has meant a great deal of change at the firm’.

Most recently, this included the expansion of our firm throughout the UK and Ireland and the launch of global insurance law connect, of which the firm is a founder member.

‘I pledge to work closely with colleagues throughout the firm, to ensure that BLM is a great place to work and also continues to move in the right direction,’ she added.

Last November, BLM confirmed plans to reduce 19 out of 40 business support roles in Leeds as it downsized and relocated in the city. In a statement, the Manchester-headquartered firm said it had embarked on a programme of business improvement earlier in the year and had established a ‘premises strategy group’ to review its locations.

With over 200 partners, 13 offices across the UK and over £100m turnover, the LB100 firm’s strategy included recognition as one of the leading global insurance and risk law specialists by 2020.

Last year, BLM posted a 3% increase in turnover to £107.7m, but struggled with profitability, as profits per equity partner fell 14% to £205,000 during the period. The firm said this reflected ‘a year of investment’

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

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

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

Georgiana.tudor@legalease.co.uk