BLM's head of London, Jennette Newman, and London partner Jonathan Edwards have both resigned. Sources told RollOnFriday the pair quit last week and were both placed on gardening leave immediately. The shock exit means the firm currently has no London boss.

It comes just four months after the Managing Partner left with no replacement in place. 

Meanwhile, RollOnFriday has discovered that a second charge has been taken over BLM's assets. HSBC took the charge on 2 November. It comes on top of the charge in favour of Barclays dating from September 2014. 

You might think this indicates that BLM is in some trouble. But despite appearances this is all good news, or a least it is according to BLM:

“Off the back of a strengthened balance sheet and falling debt, we made a decision to review our banking arrangements and agreed new terms this month. We’ve banked with Barclays for some time and now we’re pleased to say that we’re also being backed by HSBC, which is testament to our strong financial position. Support from both banks provides ample opportunity for future expansion and, together with our increased net asset base, a stable platform to support our development.”
“Jennette Newman and Jonathan Edwards made a decision to leave BLM to pursue other opportunities. Both are partners in the London office which continues to be a thriving location for BLM with a strong presence in the London Market. We’re in the process of electing a London office head.”

Update: They've both gone to Clyde & Co. Read more on Friday. Chime in below.


Anonymous 21 November 17 12:46

I read in the Lawyer earlier this year that while their balance sheet improved on last year’s performance it’s far worse than what it was just 4 years ago.

Anonymous 21 November 17 20:53

Delighted for Jonathan and Jennette, both of whom were great partners. This is a failing firm.

Anonymous 22 November 17 07:58

“Off the back of a strengthened balance sheet and falling debt, we made a decision to review our banking arrangements and agreed new terms this month.” What they are really saying is, they are taking out pay day loans with Wizzcash and Quickquid.

Anonymous 22 November 17 08:16

Considering Jennette headed up the initial venture into EC3, through the setting up of the Lloyd's of London office, leading to the wholesale move from EC2 to EC3 (with a big increase in rent), this greatly implies that the London venture is not yielding the higher value work required to justify such a move and/or the management of the London office is being held back by the Manchester head office, leading to frustration for Jennette and Jonathan.

Well done to Jennette and Jonathan, they are likely to do better at Clydes than they could have done at BLM.

Anonymous 22 November 17 08:23

Put another way, in cloud cuckoo land, "I am so happy that 2 banks value my home so much that they are both willing to put charges over it. It has nothing at all to do with my inability to bring in enough money to service my debts, or my mad ambitions. And yes, 2 key members of my family are moving out because they are fed up of the leaky roof, but don't worry, me, my mad grandparents and 6 cats still live here. Everything is fine. It's all fine."

Anonymous 22 November 17 10:16

They say BLM is in a "strong financial position" yet in the previous sentence mention the firms debt and the fact we are being propped up by two banks. For those who don't know, this is normally an indicator of a "strong financial position" c'mon.... who are they kidding?

Anonymous 22 November 17 14:09

Incredible the number of London equity partners who have left the firm in the last 5 years. There are just a couple of equity injury partners left now (pether / pargetee) and the teams they head are not particularly big. Blm is heading towards being a northern only firm which has always been the aim of Vivienne Williams. This firm was never particularly profitable and it seems things have got worse in the last few years. People in London must surely be fearful for their jobs. Well done J and J...a great move for them.

Anonymous 22 November 17 16:38

The Emperor's new clothes aka Plantation Place got a bit less crowded. I cant see them queuing up to be Head of that office as most partners are considering their options. Also, none of the other offices [that's only Manchester really] will relinquish better paid work i.e. non fixed fee claims to prop up a failing London; after all we have unattainable targets to meet too. Keep watching as more is about to unfold!

Anonymous 23 November 17 07:12

Another insurance firm about to go under. London is unsustainable at what we are getting paid by clients. North South split in the firm is real. We look at firms like Plexus and Keoghs and at least see they have a plan. Plexus for example has gradually downsized London while powering ahead in the North. We are downsizing London and not powering ahead anywhere else! Keoghs are probably doomed by their debt and are spending big to few big names in, but are at least fighting. We haven’t done anything big except pick over the carcass of S&G. Wowwers.

Anonymous 23 November 17 07:18

There is something going on at BLM as I am seeing a LOT of CVs suddenly. Some very good lawyers are preparing to leave. Happy days for me.

Anonymous 23 November 17 07:49

Scarily similar to what happened at KWM.

No senior leadership, banks taking charges over assets.... I'd flee the sinking ship before they announce they won't be able to pay anyone's salaries at the beginning of January.

Anonymous 23 November 17 08:36

There is simply no-one left in London able to guide and lead the firm. Someone said that Ed Sainsbury might put himself forward for head of London?

Anonymous 23 November 17 21:03

As an ex employee of BLM I hope the Head of London office job goes to Michael Salau. Very decent guy and a true gentleman ! He deserves the opportunity.

Anonymous 23 November 17 21:28

All this means there will more redundancies on the way for the support staff in the new this space !

Anonymous 23 November 17 22:10

I agree Salau is a nice guy...but how could he turn London around? In fighting, too much fixed fee / low paid work, too high fixed overheads, too much debt, lack of discernable talent to win better paid work, too many people leaving followed by clients...

Anonymous 24 November 17 06:55

Agreed, Michael Salau is a great guy; highly-skilled, knowledgable, approachable & well connected with clients. In summary, he’s too good to be dragged into the shitstorm that’s clearly about to hit BLM. He’d be better off jumping in the lifeboats rather than re-arranging the deckchairs!