BLM has been accused of abandoning its trainees in an attempt to cope with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, and has infuriated marketing and business development staff with its latest redundancy plans.

Sources at BLM said the firm had not told final seat trainees whether or not there would be NQ jobs available in the autumn. "I wanted to make public how appallingly we are being treated", a trainee told RollOnFriday. "We are still completely in the dark about what will be happening in September". Even talks about the possibility of final seat trainees being retained on fixed term contracts have been shelved, they said.

BLM told RollOnFriday that it had found NQ roles for three of its trainees so far and had a fourth role vacant. It later said that two further NQ vacancies had opened up, in Scotland. 

In a statement which won't fill the trainees with hope, a spokesperson said, "We are in the process of reviewing our requirements in relation to NQ roles including full time and temporary roles. This is an ongoing process as we continue to monitor the impact of the pandemic on work levels across the Firm". 


blmlm

"There are an awful lot of other people, I didn't realise this was such a big deal."


Meanwhile, BLM's marketing and business development teams are also up in arms after they learned that some of them are for the chop. 

Sources said the firm had invited marketing staff to apply for only five new roles, and that the partner in charge told them the strategy behind the approach would not be announced until after the group was streamlined.

The plan had "outraged" BLM's PR gurus, said a source, with insiders claiming that it was "led by a partner with NO marketing background" and a "mass walk out" and a pact not to apply for the new jobs was in the works.

"They are short sighted with their plans for the future and making cuts within the business to save money", said a source. "They are not being intelligent about it, but working out the quickest way to save costs and to ensure they don’t pay people the extra money as furlough continues". 

A spokesperson said the marketing and BD teams were being reduced to 15 roles. “It is with regret that we have commenced a redundancy consultation with a number of colleagues in our Business Development & Marketing teams", she said.

"The pandemic has accelerated our need to re-evaluate the structure of discrete teams across our business and ensure that it is what is needed to support our firm through the pandemic and in the future. We are working with those colleagues to support them through this difficult process, providing them with the necessary guidance as they review the proposed new structures and where appropriate, consider alternative roles within the business”.

Tip Off ROF

Comments

Anonymous 24 July 20 09:15

Not a fan of BLM but can state that I have observed many others in the same volume defendant insurance EL/PL sphere having the same disjointed approach right now. 

Anon 24 July 20 09:31

Given BLM's general lack of communication over lockdown, I'm not surprised. This whole situation just confirms my belief that the exec board don't know their arse from their elbow and are just making things up as they go along with no thought about consequences down the line (thinking back to the great admin redundancy of 2016).  

Anonymous2 24 July 20 09:48

Definitely not the only firm making short sighted decisions and panic reductions from the engine room that drives new business, decided by those with no commercial savvy...

 

Dearie 24 July 20 10:02

This is reminiscent of most firms back in 2008/9. It is harsh but there is no guarantee of a NQ job at the end of any training contract.

Anonymous 24 July 20 10:38

09:48 'the engine room that drives new business' I've never seen marketing win a client or bill any fees! The ENGINE ROOM!

Anonymous 24 July 20 11:08

They shouldn't have let their old head of bids go. It lost momentum and the team bloated in size.

wannabe 24 July 20 11:29

There's hope for current cohort trainees due to qualify in a year or two but can't help but feel awful for BLM NQs. Not many PI firms are doing well and many will struggle especially in Scotland where the PI market's so consolidated.

Annoymous 24 July 20 11:44

Anonymous at 10.38am you obviously didn’t work closely with the marketing team. We were able to track and trace where our efforts increased or brought new business in. I might not describe us as the engine room but we have most certainly assisted in and contributed to new and existing business and ensuring BLM was know for the work they do. Many of us are facing redundancy in these uncertain times after many of us have given our working lives and where necessary have gone above and beyond to support the business. This process we are going through is a kick in the teeth and very hard on us so thanks for your support and your narrow mindedness 

Anonymous 24 July 20 11:53

“09:48 'the engine room that drives new business' I've never seen marketing win a client or bill any fees! The ENGINE ROOM!”

Because people are born with an innate knowledge of which firm they wish to use aren’t they

Red rag 24 July 20 12:40

"Anonymous 24 July 20 10:38

09:48 'the engine room that drives new business' I've never seen marketing win a client or bill any fees! The ENGINE ROOM!"

Presuming then you've got well developed RoI tracking for all fee earners' marketing and BD activities, then? You know exactly which clients came through via referrals, cold enquiries, long-term relationships or the multitude of other sub-categories?

If your marketing campaigns and activities aren't working, why are you waiting until just before a recession to bin this team? 

Whether its BLM or elsewhere, consider what you want from your "support staff", find and develop the right talent (at the right salary/commission) and map their impact on the business in £/p. They don't make the grade, there's the door. Fair enough. But please don't treat them as 'brochure designers', 'event staff' or 'cold callers' and then dump them indiscriminately when its cost-cutting time. This reflects poorly on management. 

Anonymous 24 July 20 13:07

Anonymous 24 July 20 10:38

09:48 'the engine room that drives new business' I've never seen marketing win a client or bill any fees! The ENGINE ROOM!
 

Clearly somebody from the firm who is short sighted. In actual fact you will see that the whole marketing team has significantly contributed to WINNING NEW BUSINESS and retaining existing new business so that the fee earners can go and ‘bill any fees’. It’s not marketing’s job to bill the fees mate! And it’s through marketing’s combined contribution and efforts alongside fee earners that generate the revenue to put that fat pay check into the equity partners.  You clearly don’t understand or appreciate the value this team brings to BLM. 

Anonymous 24 July 20 13:09

Anonymous 24 July 20 11:08

They shouldn't have let their old head of bids go. It lost momentum and the team bloated in size.
 

This is totally irrelevant to anything going on at the moment given the whole marketing team is facing redundancy. For you information the team hasn’t bloated in size, it remains exactly the same size as when the old head of bids was there. Bitter much? Try to have a good day mate 

Anonymous 24 July 20 14:09

BLM aren't the first firm to target business services functions as soon as the markets are unsettled, and they definitely won't be the last. I would argue though that maybe a partnership needs to look introspectively at those who aren't pulling their weight before indiscriminately making teams smaller and more stretched. Average Business Services staff pay is probably 10-15% of what each City based partner will be taking home each year after all.

Ghost of Gary and Bill 24 July 20 15:14

@ red rag - agreed.

There are also some inept “support staff” who manage to hide and protect themselves by being closely aligned with senior management and being their lackeys.  

The result is that they view themselves as being a cut above the rest (probably due to personal insecurity) and untouchable despite not contributing financially to the firm.

Giving some of them dubious titles such as “director of.......” only enhances their air of superiority over the rest.

On the other hand, there are some superb support staff who do not get the recognition or appreciation which they deserve (PAs for fee earners, people who work in facilities) etc.

Gary All 24 July 20 18:13

When I worked at BLM the marketing team were awful. Unless something drastic changed over the last few years I doubt they won a scrap a work. Good move I reckon getting rid of the 'dead wood'. Now move onto all those secretaries gassing on the phone and filing their nails...surely working from home has taught the firm that they aren't needed?

Anonymous 24 July 20 20:18

Good ol' ROF with the journalistic integrity of a  flea. So explain how this works... disgruntled employee/s calls or email (hopefully wise enough not to do so from a work device!) spills some beans and you write a story full of emotive headline-grabbing drivel? OK got it!!

No marketing department is safe in the current pandemic - not BLM's or anyone else's unless people can prove thay they're contributing positively to the bottom line.

We're in the the midst  of the deepest recession since the Great Depression and it seems that some 'entitled'  marketingfolk are clueless of this simple fact. It's this simple unless you've got the right set of skills & ideas to help navigate your firm out of this scenario then you'll be surplus to requirements and be cut. If you do then you wont!  It's not rocket science.

Pick up the FT, read HBR & know that the world's going to be like this until 2024!  Do something to connect with reality, I mean really!

Better still read your company policies and know that sharing company info is a stackable offence and that no one will trust you in the corporate environment again! 

...oh and shame on you for your BS supporting photo ROF. The BLM movement isn't a joke! You clearly need a new picture editor....maybe you can employ one of the disgruntled employees you've fawned over to right this...am sure they're on speed dial and would love to help! 

Anon 24 July 20 21:56

Given it’s almost all panel work and there are only a few firms insurers can choose from, how can any PR or BD team “drive” the business.   Insurers don’t care about marketing gimmicks or glossy prospectuses.  They care about MI, costs and a reasonable level of legal advice - in that order.  

Anon 25 July 20 00:16

The BLM marketing crew are excellent. Their polish made a t**d look good for clients. So sad that they will be the victims of failure to plan elsewhere in the business. 

Anon 25 July 20 00:17

The BLM marketing crew are excellent. Their polish made a t**d look good for clients. So sad that they will be the victims of failure to plan elsewhere in the business. 

A waste of space 25 July 20 06:13

I’ve never encountered a law firm marketing team that’s any good.  In my experience they deliver almost zero value and I’m not surprised law firms are scaling back or getting rid of such teams.

A marketing team in a defendant PI firm seems to be a particular waste of space.  
 

It’s time to cut out the fat so marketing, HR and accounts people are going to get canned.  Nobody dealing with client work will notice. 

Anon 25 July 20 07:25

Ah, I forgot about the pitch fairies who come in the night and put those panel pitch responses together.

If your firm is still producing marketing gimmicks and glossy prospectuses then you’ve got bigger problems at the top of your organisation. Bet you’re run by lawyers who also think that promoting legal directory rankings is good marketing.

Best of luck achieving the lofty heights of offering a reasonable level of legal advice, don’t work yourself too hard there.

Anonymous 25 July 20 07:29

Marketing teams are irrelevant in firms like BLM. It's about the bids team and getting key client relationship managers to team up with claims managers at insurers to get the inside scoop on what their procurement team is assessing their pitch and proposal. 

Anonymous 25 July 20 08:23

Another day, another scathing review for BLM. Oh BLM! Exec board doesn’t know what it’s doing and shame they have limited commercial savvy! 

Anon 25 July 20 10:13

Anon @ 20:18 - are you the BLM Roll on Friday Response Team? 
The story was about how these things are being handled. The staff appear to lack faith in the existence of a Covid 19 survival plan. Given, no pay cuts reported and no reports of dead wood partners targeted, they may be right? 
Some firms will be proactive, some reactive. The BLM staff appear to believe their firm is in the second camp - following others. Most firms are looking at BD functions. Now BLM catches up etc...

Anonymous 25 July 20 10:59

There's been a flurry of new member appointments recently, as well as a few notable departures (see Companies House for details). Poor souls. What a time to buy in. I bet the process was expedited... *****. WE NEED CASH.*

Micky Brown 25 July 20 11:10

You will be pleased to hear that I am perfectly fine. I've saved a small fortune buying short-sleeved shirts all these years (half the shirt, half the cost). Plus, Liverpool is as cheap and chips and me and the wife don't go abroad - we've been proud members of the UK Caravan Club since 1972. Finally, why waste money on hair plugs when spray-on hair is so damn effective?

Anon 25 July 20 11:42

I couldnt agree more Gary All @18.13, and thats correct, nothing drastic changed over the last few years and that was the problem. This change couldn't have come sooner. Well done BLM, you've made the right decision.

Comments on here discussing the lack of support in these "uncertain times" but in the same article - some "pact" not to apply for the new jobs with a "mass" walk out, (and if by the word mass they mean 3 maybe 4 junior people, well then its a mass walk out). Who writes this stuff. Don't make me laugh (although I appreciate the contradictory giggles). Take it from someone who is in the thick of it, you've done BLM and yourselves a favour by not applying. It will save you a lot of time, bundles of energy to focus on  getting another job, and ultimately, rejection!!

Lack of self awareness is equally proportional to the lack of success. If you lack self awareness you can't change. Why would you? As far as you're concerned, you're doing everything right. Right? 

This change is needed and needed fast. The new senior partner, his managing partner and his new executive board have lead this business greatly over the last 3 years and with a human touch, but that's what you get with a down to earth, people focused, strategically minded Welsh family man! 

The new head of BD, who apparently has no marketing skills, has managed to do more for BLM marketing in 15 months than the old Director who believed her job was having one to one's with people and even those were put in her diary for her by a full time "assistant" !!! Managing people isn't A job, its PART of your main job. The world is changing, you either change with it or be left behind. 

Anyway, look on the bright side, Plexus are now recruiting for a head of BD and with all the mass walk outs/walkers/walking out/ strollers/strolling out (delete as you see fit) and all that endless talent that BLM just can't manage to see or keep hold of well, every cloud and all that.Best of luck! 

Anonymous 25 July 20 12:31

@20:18.

What on earth is a "stackable" offence? It sounds terrifying - just sack us instead!

Emm Eye 25 July 20 13:49

Anon 24 July 20 21:56 - I would disagree, all insurers care about is MI.  Legal advice isn't even a close third.  

Varg 25 July 20 18:59

I was there in 2015 when a Partner told me that scanning Court Orders onto the CMS was "against the Data Protection Act." 

Backwards Legal Morons are unmarketable. 

Gary 25 July 20 20:00

BLM are top of the game...and will come through COVID top of the defendant insurance market. Watch them grow in 2020/ 21...with or without those marketing duffers.

anon 26 July 20 08:31

Have zero sympathy for BD people based on what I see daily. No experience in client facing work but dictate to those who how they should do their jobs. Egos and pay bigger than most lawyers. 

Anonymous 26 July 20 11:13

Growth in 20/21?

What was your excuse in 16/17, 17/18, 19/20? 

- Declining revenues (in real terms).

- Declining operating profit and PEP.

- Outstanding bank charge over assets.

- £11m spent on "financing activities".

- £16m overdraft (loooooooooool).

- Three MPs in four years.

This isn't North Korea. You can't "make it so" simply by saying it.

Anonymous 26 July 20 16:38

The planted BLM replies on this thread (e.g. 'strategically minded Welsh man') are beyond desperate. Grow the **** up. You're behaving like Donald Trump on steroids.

Anon 26 July 20 16:58

Pitches?  Insurers are interested in costs and MI.   The quality of the advice is taken as a given.   Pitches aren’t difficult.   Putting together some documents and proofing them.   

Anonymous 26 July 20 17:21

11.42, 20.18.

Your writing style, grammatical errors, and typos have betrayed you. There's a wonderful new piece of technology that uses AI to determine - with a considerable degree of accuracy - an author's identity. By comparing your entries here with your clumsily worded internal communications, you've been totally busted. Shame on you.

Amazed Def Ins lawyer 26 July 20 18:29

To anon 11.13am 26th July:  £16m overdraft!  Surely not even BLM are in that much shite? Some rival Defendant insurance firms have no debt. Zero - overdraft. How can BLM be so far out of kilter? Where do you get your info? 

SRA 26 July 20 19:33

Some of that 11m went on tribunal payouts and associated costs. That ex HR director didn't have cause a commotion and not in a positive way. Recent events show lessons not learnt.

Gary 26 July 20 22:48

Should it be 'BLM is'?

Ok so despite the hardish times of the last 3 years it doesn't mean that BLM are not on the way up (or is that is?). As someone said earlier we have some crack management who really know their stuff. Viv is a  BIG hitter in the market and she will eat the competition for breakfast no problems. I predict £150m turnover by end of 2021. 

Gary 27 July 20 08:23

Amazed Def insurance person

Would you care to name the defendant insurance practices that have zero debt because I can't think of any..

Anonymous 27 July 20 09:19

Gary @ 22.48 - those comments are harsh but i have missed a few sessions at f.t fighters due to CV-19 so i cant corroborate whats for breakfast these days - hilarious!  

Anonymous 27 July 20 11:57

@18.29

It's referred to as a "revolving credit facility". It's an overdraft. You'll find everything else on the Companies House website. This is publicly available data.

Anonymous 27 July 20 13:14

Let's examine the firm's culture. On this public forum, BLM's partners have tried to discredit the entire marketing function, the entire business development function, the entire bids function, its ex director of go-to-market, its ex human resources director, it's current head of bids, its ex head of bids, its ex ex head of bids, and of course anyone with a "director of" title. Are you taking leadership advice from Trump? Can it really be true that all these people were awful? It seems unlikely, but if it were true, what does this say about the firm's judgment? If it's not true (it's not true), would it be advisable to not attempt to discredit former employees? You're coming across as deeply insecure.  

Anonymous 27 July 20 13:27

What I'm really saying is this: it's not a good look. What would a potential (non-legal) job applicant make of your replies? "Leave BLM and we'll treat you with the contempt you deserve. You'll be isolated more than a North Korean defector. Expect nothing less than total hostility at all times." You employed these (often very senior) people who fulfilled their roles diligently for many years. They went without pay increases and bonuses and respect. The least you can do is to not jump on their BLM-shaped graves.

Anonymous 27 July 20 16:15

Anon 25 @ 11.42 you are a disgrace. The way you talk about junior members of the team and others that you simply don’t care if they go just shows you are someone who’s job is clearly already secured! 

You are clearly in a senior enough position to know who has applied for what roles and for you to say they’ve done BLM a favour and that these people can apply elsewhere and ultimately be rejected, doesn’t only highlight that you are a bad person but also that this is an indication of the firms view - then the whole team is better off leaving and going somewhere they are actually appreciated. 

If you don’t believe in the team, coach and mentor them, how are they supposed to get it right? 
 

BLM never learns, similar restructure 5-6 years ago and then a lot of work went into recruiting the team to the size it is to provide more support to the business. Good luck to you guys! When you realise your plans are short sighted, I’m sure you will start recruiting again to plug in the gaps you are clearly missing. 

Anonymous 27 July 20 18:16

BLM's answer to running out of cash:

"All our support teams are terrible. They're worse than awful. They're duffers and luddites and idiots and morons."

This is a well-trodden path. Why can't you just blame the economy like everybody else? Why does every round of redundancies come loaded with a "and by the way they were all sh*t" stinger? 

This means either one of two things: a) you genuinely feel this way, which would be a demonstration of total incompetence (why wait until a recession to do this?), or; b) you don't feel this way, and you're viciousness is simply masking the fact that the business is failing.

Gary 27 July 20 18:36

Harsh and inaccurate to say a £100m+ business is failing...far from it. Although I no longer work at BLM I hear great things about the 'Welsh Wizard'. That said dump the dead wood now..it's not vicious it's business. Simples.

Anonymous 28 July 20 09:02

Entitled marketing folk, with clearly loads of time on your hands. How about rolling off roll on Friday and getting some work done? Personal integrity is everything these days. If you've not got it, no amount of knowledge of AI will help you. 

 

Anonymous 28 July 20 12:21

Nice to see some things never change. BLM has had more reshuffles of its marketing team in the past decade than there have been years in the decade. 

Each time they just send talented people who know their business well to competitors where miraculously, unburdened by the toxic culture of BLM, they prove valuable additions to the marketing teams of those competitors. 

Anonymous 28 July 20 20:38

Gary, if stagnant revenues (for 5+ years), declining profits, eye-watering levels of debt, outstanding charges/debentures over the firm's assets, and myriad high-profile departures leave you feeling optimistic about the firm's future, you're either a liar or a moron (or both). BLM is, by every measure, a failing business. 

Anonymous 28 July 20 20:42

Gary. Also, I entirely agree. Getting rid of people isn't viscous. But getting rid of people and them shaming them (anonymously) on Roll on Friday is.

CMC 29 July 20 10:18

I think BLM have poor history when it comes to getting rid of people. They dont value their people and can quickly turn against people who they have worked alongside 4 yrs. There isnt much integrity with a lot of them despite that failing facade of it being a great place to work. Best Lawyers Manchester....what a load of shite. 

Gary 29 July 20 21:15

To Anon 20.40

People come and go...it's the normal cycle of a partnership. Every 10 years or so senior partners leave  and upcoming partners come in to the fill the gap. Happens everywhere. I was once someone big and important at BLM and it even managed to recover after my departure after a while (You may wonder what  happened to me? Well i went on to become a very successful multi millionaire insurancelinsurance lawyer living in a country estate with a fleet of super cars..but enough about me).

Yes it's a tough market for injury and insurance and all firms are suffering even BLM but where is the evidence it is failing?

Anonymous 30 July 20 14:54

Who divulges their 'redundancy strategy' to a  notoriously gossip-fuelled site like ROF and then claims the moral high ground?

May have been better to invest your energies in the case to remain on board and set out your vision for where legal marketing is headed and how you and only you could bridge that gap? Marketers leading from the front and all that, but by resorting to ROF & showing complete contempt for your firm/the very people it is your role to work with and elevate is a sad move at best. Redundancy is never a good situation to be in - who hasn't been there? But it's a test. People falling into 3 camps now it seems: those who give up and put their feet up; those who fight; or those who go on ROF and slate.

Remember ROF serves no one but itself. You are pure click-bait mate. And absolutely no shame here. AI away. 

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