BLM salaried partners to become legal directors under Clyde & Co merger plans

Around 140 salaried partners face having to apply to regain partner status in 'disruptive and potentially unsettling' process
CITY OF LONDON, LONDON-SEPTEMBER 7,2017: The St Botolph Building in high-tech architectural style on September 7, 2017 in London.

Clyde & Co's headquarters in the St Botolph Building Patrik Slezak; Shutterstock

Clyde & Co is proposing to change the job title of around 140 BLM salaried partners to legal director as part of a consultation exercise taking place ahead of the two firms’ July merger.

Clydes has put the move, which it has conceded is ‘disruptive and potentially unsettling’ for those involved, down to the fact that it doesn’t have salaried partners.

It will, however, be creating a new salaried partner tier within its UK casualty practice, which the bulk of the BLM lawyers are joining.

A spokesperson said it was proposed that all BLM salaried partners would become legal directors on joining Clydes but would “in parallel” be “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”.

The merger deal, which was agreed in March, will see BLM’s largely UK-based 790 lawyers combine with Clydes' 2,440 legal professionals to create a firm with revenues of around £735m. 

More than 400 of the BLM contingent conduct casualty insurance work and will be joining forces with a Clydes team that has around 40 partners and is already one of the largest in the UK.

The Clydes spokesperson said: “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.”

The consultation over the salaried partners – which was first reported by Roll on Friday – reflects the challenges associated with merging two firms which share formidable UK casualty insurance practices but are otherwise very different.

While BLM is largely focused on volume, Clydes has built a more profitable international business conducting a wider range of higher-value work.

Meanwhile, a separate consultation is underway at BLM over a proposal to close the current Liverpool office and ‘considerably’ reduce its footprint in the city.

A spokesperson said: “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.”

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