Clydes BLM

How the merger will work. BLM (left), meet Clyde & Co (right).


Partners at Clyde & Co and BLM have voted for the two firms to merge in July.

The new firm is to be called, erm, Clyde & Co, as BLM doesn't even get a place on the letterhead. Although, given the rise and rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, BLM is probably desperate to ditch the letters, just to leave behind the client jokes.

It follows several months of discussions, after RollOnFriday broke the news that the two firms were considering a combination. 

RollOnFriday asked BLM about its name being dropped. “Clyde & Co is a much larger entity and has a strong global brand, one which we are proud to become part of," said a BLM spokeswoman. "For us, BLM is not just a name. BLM’s strengths are its people and this is what our clients see; they will merge with Clyde & Co colleagues to strengthen the offering of the newly merged firm.”

It should be great news for Clydes which picks up some more clients (particularly for casualty insurance work) and doesn't even dent the brand. Meanwhile, having been accused of abandoning its trainees, and slashing business support roles during the pandemic, BLM may have concluded that it was time to hook up with a bigger firm.

A Clyde & Co statement extolled the virtue of the takeover merger, stating that the addition of BLM will take Clyde & Co to a global revenue of over £700m per annum, a headcount of over 5,000, with offices in over 60 cities worldwide. 

“We are delighted the merger has secured approval from both sets of partners," said Clyde & Co’s Senior Partner Carolena Gordon. "At Clyde & Co we are always focused on growing and developing our offering for the good of our clients and our people and this merger does exactly that. BLM has highly talented people and outstanding client relationships and we are excited by the potential of this combination”

Matthew Harrington, BLM Senior Partner, said: “We are looking forward to the opportunities combining both firms will bring for our people and our clients. This merger is one of aligned approaches and values, offering huge benefits to our clients in the areas that matter most."

RollOnFriday asked Clyde & Co and BLM if either firm anticipated having to make redundancies due to the combination, or whether all staff would join the new entity. A BLM spokeswoman replied: "I can confirm that BLM employees will become part of Clyde & Co on 1 July." A Clyde & Co spokesman responded: “At this early stage of the integration process we are reviewing how to best combine the two businesses, and will be able to provide further detail in due course. We realise that as well as being an exciting time for both firms, change like this can also be unsettling."

The Clydes spokesman added: "But it’s important to stress that this merger is based on our shared ambitions to be the market leading provider of legal services in this space and our focus as we integrate will be on ensuring we have the scale, service offering, technology and delivery processes to meet the needs of our clients now and in the future.”

Clyde & Co's last major takeover was Barlow Lyde & Gilbert in 2011, when it created a firm with a total headcount of around 2,250 staff. Since then it has hoovered up various smaller firms: Simpson & Marwick (2015), Lee & Lyons (2016), Sedgwick (2018) and SHK Law Corporation (2021). It remains to be seen whether Clydes is full for now, or gets peckish again soon. 

Tip Off ROF

Comments

Anonymous 01 April 22 08:52

"RollOnFriday asked Clyde & Co and BLM if either firm anticipated having to make redundancies due to the combination"

And neither firm answered the question, which I think probably does answer the question!

Anonymous 01 April 22 09:01

Expect Clydes attracts higher rates across the board so be interesting to see how that translates across post merger. Also big disparity in wages for trainees and NQs so would like to know if this is a windfall for the BLM youngsters.

Anon 01 April 22 09:18

Get ready for redundancies and lots of them. 

How many dead wood partners does BLM have?

I’d dust off my CV, if I were there.

Anonymous 01 April 22 09:19

Anon 08:52 - when has there NOT been a merger that has involved redundancies? Award for the captain obvious point of the day goes to...

 

(don't slap me)

Skint 01 April 22 09:25

@Anonymous 01 April 22 08:12

 

Client prices are categorically not increasing. They haven't increased since about 2006.

Anonymous 01 April 22 09:35

@Ready - you mean trainee and NQ equity these days. Get with the times.

You pay them totally differently, 'celebrate' one group of them incessantly, and tell the out group that it's all for the greater good based on something that happened at the firm long before they'd even started studying law.

The outcome is bound to involve rainbows, happiness and a harmonious working environment. Consultants said so.

Anonymous 01 April 22 09:40

BLM - Not that I have worked in many legal offices throughout my 40 year career but BLM were, and probably still are, the worst ever for the way they their staff, not only support staff but trainees and NQ’s too. If the partners hadn’t voted for the takeover I don’t know for how long they would have lasted.  The partners only interested in lining their own pockets. What happened to all the promises made by Mike Brown many moons ago 🤷🏼‍♀️🤷🏼‍♀️🤔

Anonymous 01 April 22 09:56

It’s rare for a firm to have done as little in the market as BLM.  Clydes are right to erase them. 

Anonymous 01 April 22 10:05

This was all about Clyde bolstering its UK insurance offering as BLM had/has some decent spots on panel for Z, AZ and Ace.  The non strategic partners [most of the SPs] and some junior EPs will be feeling vulnerable - saying that I cant see any of the BLM big fish EPs moving over as they will lose their perceived untouchable status in the bigger pool of Clyde.  Lots of  worried folks in Manchester and London especially 

Insider 01 April 22 10:09

Crawford Legal Services are probably next. Tango wants his cash and has been hawking around the market. 

It’s all very well and good but 01 April 22 10:20

The optimism from both firms could be reflective of their true goal but there’s no avoiding the big question -

what happens to the locations with a Clyde & Co office and a BLM office?
 

Presumably, neither office can just absorb the other due to office space …

 

Unless an entire office (in multiple cities) are interested in completely working remotely, redundancies are coming - and we all know which firm is on the letterhead. 

Harvey Spectator 01 April 22 10:21

BLM partners all getting giddy about higher PEPs. As someone who's worked for both firms I'm quite sure they're going to be out of their depths there when they actually have to pull their finger out, do some work and earn their keep. The paper pushing and moving tasks around on the case management program isn't going to cut it. With BLM being so top heavy it'll be no surprise to see a cull of partners. 

Anonymous 01 April 22 10:21

@10:09 - Clydes would have no interest in Crawfords Legal Services!  Maybe DACB or Keoghs or even Horwich Farrelly.

Anon 01 April 22 10:32

@09:40

Didn’t Mike (short-sleeves) Brown launch a thing called Project 2020? It was a plan to make BLM the largest insurance firm in the world by 2020.

How did that work out, now that BLM is going to disappear?

Virtuous Circle or Vicious Circle more like! 01 April 22 11:06

How much did that marketing initiative cost to devise - I thin it was a short lived mantra in any event.  And don't mention their BS stream structure.  how I laughed when they stood on the stage and touted this new structure at the AGM - did nobody appreciate that this was pure BS!  

Splinter group 01 April 22 11:42

No mass sackings!

BLM Lives Matter!

B.L.M.L.M!

 

We pronounce the new acronym "Bee-Lem-El-Em" to distinguish ourselves from the original BLM.

Which is of course pronounced "Bee-Lem" with a silent e.

BL Emblem 01 April 22 12:11

Wonder if the staff at BLM with the ridiculous made up job titles and overpaid salaries will be the first to go? 

2020 Vision 01 April 22 12:28

@ Anon 10:32 - if memory serves correct, it was to be the world’s leading legal risk and insurance firm. It rolls off the tongue. 
 

That plan started to go awry about six years ago (if not earlier). 

Anon 01 April 22 12:39

“what happens to the locations with a Clyde & Co office and a BLM office?”

I suspect they’ve probably thought of that before agreeing to merge?

North / South 01 April 22 12:59

So Junior Partners at BLM in the North will now be out earned by NQs in the firm’s City office. Not good for the long term. Far fewer opportunities for promotion amongst the old BLM lot is a certainty. 

To 10.21: 01 April 22 13:03

Clydes buying Keoghs! That gave me a genuine belly laugh. Good one. There’s bottom feeding and then there’s the K level. 😂

Anon 01 April 22 13:56

To the poster who says insurer prices are increasing in casualty and Prof indemnity work, that’s laughable.  They were set over a decade ago and on panel renewal the message is you’re lucky to been on the panel, so suck up the crap rates.  Which leads onto the next point: insurers have deliberately over 20 years caused about half a dozen firms to become reliant on one source of work, then they cut the panels supposedly to give volume but also to justify low prices.  Then they control the relationship because panel firms can’t negotiate higher rates.  It’s inevitable that this will ultimately cause mergers between the remaining insurance firms.  

Anon 01 April 22 14:17

It’s strange but some people are starting to think that the self stated plan about six years ago for BLM to become the world’s largest insurance brand had just one tiny flaw.  
 

It was complete b******

Anon 01 April 22 14:23

A few years ago BLM suddenly dumped Gary Allison as managing partner. 

Vivian Williams took over. Since then, she and Harrington have made such a success of things that is was necessary to be swallowed by a giant. Great strategy - not.

Legal Recruiter 01 April 22 14:30

PEP at Clyde's = pushing £700k 

PEP at BLM = pushing £250k

There is of course more nuance than just headline PEP figures, but I cant see how any of the equity Partners at BLM will transition to the Clyde's equity. 

I know Clyde's Partners billing £1.5m plus a year who aren't in the equity yet. The culling will be swift and brutal. Many BLM Partners will be put on the lower Salaried Partner rung (about £170k and will remain there forever. 

This will however be good for Clyde's, who no doubt have run the numbers and can acquire and eliminate a competitor, and can then begin raising the BLM panel rates through their "enhanced offering". It will also be good for BLM Associates, who if they aren't culled, will have access to higher rates and better salaries if they make it to Partner. 

Expect a number of boutiques to spin off in the next 12 months. 

On a cultural level, there's likely to be a divide and prejudice surrounding quality of lawyers. I wouldn't expect many Senior Associates from the BLM side to get promoted in the next 5 years post acquisition. 

Former BLMer worried for my old colleagues 01 April 22 15:29

Number 48 Roll on Friday Best Law Firm to Work at At - Culture (Clyde and Co) buys number 55 (BLM). A cultural revolution is not very likely. 

Awful awful job 01 April 22 15:56

Anonymous 9.01 - Clydes rates for insurance won't be higher, all firms on panels are the same rate.  The clients are all terrible, expecting firms to bend over backwards completing endless computer data.  If I was a partner at BLM I would be glad, get laid off, get out of the terrible market and retire.  Good luck to anyone who has been at BLM for more than 10 years, your hair must have fallen out by now with the endless stress. 

Hmmm 01 April 22 15:58

You should  deal with blm family Scotland team - i am sure every Scottish family law solicitor has a bald patch by pulling out their hair in frustration at the allegedly difficult approach they take with their clients ex spouse legal agents . Their clients would get better value for money burning their cash. 
 

 

Anon 01 April 22 18:52

Let's take a moment to recognise Matthew Harrington - BLM's last senior partner.

Great job mate! Any regrets?

Anon 01 April 22 18:57

Clydes’ PEP maybe 700k but that is over the whole firm and includes the lucrative practice areas.  The range is what matters.  It sure as hell won’t be anything like 700k in prof indemnity or casualty in London and in the shires where most of this work will now be done over the next few years that amount is laughable.  

Gary A 01 April 22 19:05

A sad demise for what was once a pretty good firm. For the firm to just be swallowed within the insurance dept of another firm is embarrassing and reflective of years of mismanagement. Hang your heads in shame BLM (mis)management team!

Realist 2022 01 April 22 19:06

Senior Associates and Junior Partners at BLM re now officially, totally screwed. 
 

we all know it. Just no one is saying it. 
 

m the last time a firm sold out so amazingly was the float of DWF. 
 

shame for so many at BLM. 

Insurer 01 April 22 19:08

Good for us. We can leverage the economy of scale for lower rates. 
 

Partners will do ok. Staff are overpaid anyway at these firms. 

Intriuged 02 April 22 13:45

BLM has quite a big non-commercial department (family, conveyancing, probate etc etc) - wonder whether those will move across? 

OverpaidInsurer 02 April 22 16:58

Insurer, reflect on where you get the cheapest rates - Plexus, Keoghs, BLM. Small firms, with relatively low rent office space, and modest aspirations. Reflect on the fact that the biggest law firms typically charge more. Clyde & Co is the biggest of the UK insurance firms, but doesn't apply what you perceive as an 'economy of scale' to try and undercut Plexus etc. It is no more likely to, now it has added £100M to the yearly revenue.

A law firm's greatest cost is its salary bill. Economy of scale doesn't work in that context. Then office cost. Clyde & Co isn't going to move its EC3 practice to Dartford because of its 'merger' with BLM.

Reflect on the fact that two decades of flat rates by insurers has reduced the number of law firms willing (or even existing) to compete for insurance panel work. The less supply, the greater the fee that can be charged by those willing to supply. And now you have one less firm to choose from.

And 'overpaid'? That's laughable. Save for a top tier, insurance partners are generally paid less than those in other practice areas, and work damn hard for their money. 'Overpaid' relative to you, maybe, but I suggest they probably deserve it, given your ignorant opportunism of how you might make their lives a tiny bit worse by squeezing rates further.

To overpaidinsurer 03 April 22 01:25

We control what you get paid. Remember that. If you charge to much we cut off the work. End of. 
 

You will have to give value for the economy of scale. If you don’t it won’t end well. Remember that. 
 

Also laughable is you reference to BLM in the list of value firms who cut their cloth to keep insurers happy. BLM is no more. Remember that. 
 

Reverse auctions are now back with bells on. Roll on 2023 when we bite back. No way will we permit our lawyers to earn £700k while the likes of our claims managers only get to drive their Aston Martins around Leeds. Hear me. 

Gary A 03 April 22 12:12

Insurers treat their panel firms like shite. They have no respect for those working on their behalf. They also treat claimants and their customers like shite. If you work for insurers then you you should do so with your eyes wide open. Insurance companies are nasty organisations and so are the people that work for them. Unfortunately over the last 15 years defendant law firms have all fought amongst themselves in a race to work at virtually no profit for these organisations....insurers must be laughing.

Anon 03 April 22 19:43

“BLM has quite a big non-commercial department (family, conveyancing, probate etc etc) - wonder whether those will move across?”

 

mmmm….. 

Anon 03 April 22 19:50

@overpaid insurer 

I suspect it is precisely because Clydes are seen as expensive in the market that they want BLm’s regional offices network so they can show insurers they are serious about low rate / fees commoditised work.  Clydes have been very slow on the uptake compared to other firms who got into the regional game before them.  They have a fairly successful Manchester office and a good team in Bristol but it is small and no roots are set down as the office is still temporary / general space.  Oxford also had a good team but was closed down because unsurprisingly it ultimately didn’t work to have a purported low cost base paying sub Bristol salaries in one of the most expensive cities in the UK, 45 mins from London.  

Anonymous 04 April 22 13:09

Interesting to see comments on here that there will be redundancies. In any other sector, M&A will lead to efficiency savings = job losses. Lawyers advise on those all the time. Why do they think M&A in our sector will be different? 

Theresa Green 04 April 22 18:54

BLM consistently offered to do motor insurance work at unbelievably low rates to get the work. The fact is that has driven very low salaries for the staff where they work bloody hard. 

It is going to be difficult for Clydes to achieve economies of scale there for sure. Maybe there are other areas that are more profitable however you do have to wonder what is making it worth the while of Clydes. 

To 2nd April 16.58 05 April 22 21:31

How wrong are you?
 

The average hourly rate that Clyde & Co charge will go down because if this merger. Fact. 
 

Clydes will strip out overheads to reduce cost. This increases profit. Fact. 
 

Insurers don’t like their lawyers earning loads. Fact. 
 

Clydes will have to play ball or risk the wrath of paymasters. Fact. 

Outsider 09 April 22 13:19

Is the flaw in the insurer’s grand plans for slimming their panels that more and more work will need to go off panel on “off panel” rates? Now that C&C has absorbed BLM that further slims down panels for a raft of insurers with overlap. For large multi party insurance disputes (where four or five Defendants are not uncommon) most insurers are going to find their entire panel conflicted off if there are any more mergers…..Grenfell Tower enquiry was a prime example where the insurers didn’t have any firms to turn to which were not already acting for participants and had to go widely off panel…

Anonymous 10 April 22 08:32

Oh BLM! Not surprised by this news given years of mismanagement by the senior leadership team. What  are they going to do now? Actually pull their fingers out their arses and learn how a successful business is run? Of course they are going to survive the culling because the senior team has for years, perfected looking after themselves and making bad decisions, all whilst pushing paper round to make themselves look busy. Get rid of them Clydes if you know what’s good for you. 

ruftytufty 13 April 22 08:59

I don't think it's the insurers' plan at all. It's a side effect of their approach. Consolidation had to be the response of the lawyers' market, and it'll continue to happen. 

unhappy 08 June 22 12:52

i dont think BLM will have any staff left. Every day there is news of multiple departures indicating an unhappiness in the camp. 

My personal experience with the family law team is not good - i have found them to be the most unwilling bunch to work together to find a positive resolution and very aggressive to boot 

I have a feeling that family law will not fit well within clyde and co and they will be look to hive it off and close it. Thank god i say !! 

Related News

X

Don’t miss your best career move. Receive approaches from top law firms and in-house employers when they want someone just like you.