How the process might look
Clyde & Co's
consumption combination with BLM is set to go live on 1 July. But BLM’s salaried partners will not automatically become salaried partners in the newly-engorged firm.
Subject to consultation, BLM's salaried partners will 'TUPE over' as salaried partners, and then face three options. The default position will be for them to become a legal director; alternatively they can apply via a recruitment process to become a Clydes salaried partner (although this new role will only be available in the firm's Casualty insurance practice); or they can choose to put themselves forward to be an equity partner, under a separate process.
Any BLM salaried partner who does not wish to accept the default legal director position, and is not offered partnership, will be subject to a redundancy process.
There are around 140 salaried partners at BLM, and about 40-50 equity partners. The vast majority of BLM salaried partners are expected to join the Casualty insurance group of the new entity. Part of the strategic thinking by Clydes for the merger, was to effectively knock out one of its key competitors for Casualty work on panel pitches, and create the biggest Casualty team in the land.
It is understood that BLM salaried partners who become legal directors will have a change of their terms and conditions. The exact details of this are unknown, so it may or may not preclude them from access to top secret oak-panelled partners' luxury bathrooms.
A Clyde & Co spokesman told RollOnFriday: "We can confirm that a consultation process has started involving BLM’s Salaried Partners ahead of our merger with them going live on 1 July. While the vast majority of our BLM colleagues’ roles will transfer to Clyde & Co, we do not have a role equivalent to that of a BLM salaried partner at the firm. As such it is proposed that all salaried partners will become Legal Directors and in parallel are given the chance to apply for a new Clyde & Co salaried partner role that will exist only in our casualty practice, or for the role of Partner. We appreciate this is a disruptive and potentially unsettling time for the individuals involved and we will be supporting them through the consultation process. As the consultation is ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment further."
The spokesman added: "We are excited about realising the benefits of our merger for our clients and our people. We are creating the largest casualty insurance practice in the UK and will have the ability invest in technology, provide clients with access to the largest dataset in the industry, and go to market as a whole-of-market, and truly national provider of legal services to the insurance sector."
Another main change will be that the newly-formed Clydes will consolidate most of BLM's Liverpool and Manchester offices into one main hub in Manchester.
A source told RollOnFriday that BLM had been considering this consolidation before the merger talks, as the Liverpool office lease is set to expire soon, and BLM was already evaluating whether it could justify having both offices.
The move means that the majority of staff in BLM’s Liverpool office (save for a claims management team of about 15 people) will be subject to a redundancy process. RollOnFriday understands that virtually all the affected Liverpool staff will be offered the same role in Manchester.
Although spare a thought for any Liverpool FC supporters in that group who, having lost the league to Manchester City, are now considering the prospect of relocating to an office which might have Jack Grealish posters on the wall.
A BLM spokeswoman told RollOnFriday: "We can confirm that as part of the TUPE consultation consequent upon the merger with Clyde & Co, we are also in consultation with BLM colleagues based in Liverpool as on a proposal to close the current office and reduce our footprint in the city significantly. This follows on from our comprehensive property review."
"We are pleased that, subject to consultation, the majority of our staff based there will be offered roles in Manchester on a hybrid working basis. We are mindful that this is a disruptive time and may be concerning for the individuals involved and we will be supporting them through the consultation and integration process. As it is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."