Global law firm Clyde & Co and UK-headquartered law firm BLM have agreed to a merger following a vote in favour by partners at both firms.
The combination will go live in July 2022. The combined entity will be known as Clyde & Co and together will have a global revenue of over £700m per annum, a headcount of over 5,000, with offices in over 60 cities worldwide.
BLM is a UK and Ireland law firm focused on insurance risk and commercial law with a particular strength in casualty, personal injury, healthcare and professional liability. Clyde & Co is a global law firm, specialising in the sectors that underpin global trade and commercial activity, namely: insurance, infrastructure, aviation, energy, marine, and natural resources.
BLM will become part of Clyde & Co’s market-leading global insurance practice which provides the highest quality advisory and dispute resolution services to insurers and their clients, including almost every top 20 insurer in the UK, and leading re/insurers globally.
The majority of its lawyers will join its Casualty insurance practice, with other sizable groups joining professional liability, healthcare and business advisory teams.
Carolena Gordon, Clyde & Co’s Senior Partner, says: “We are delighted the merger has secured approval from both sets of partners. 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, says: “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. Combining our expertise will strengthen our market offering in the UK casualty, healthcare, and professional liability space, with true operational excellence and the agility to respond rapidly to the changing needs of the market.”
Matthew Kelsall, Clyde & Co’s CEO, says: “Our strategic objective as a firm is to build and maintain leadership positions across our core sectors. This combination bolsters our position as the leading law firm for the insurance sector in the UK by enhancing our ability to offer insurers the depth and breadth of support across business lines and regions they are looking for.”
James Cooper, Clyde & Co Partner and Chair of its Global Insurance Practice Group, says: “We have long sought to increase the scale of our UK casualty insurance practice though a merger so we can provide the full scope of services, technology, data analytics and innovation that clients in this dynamic part of the market require. Once we started speaking to BLM we quickly realised that we shared the same approach to client service, had a complementary client roster and similar ambitions in this space. This combination will also boost our regional UK presence and strengthen our healthcare and professional liability offerings too.”
Clyde & Co’s merger with BLM would be its biggest combination in terms of revenue and headcount since it merged with Barlow Lyde & Gilbert in November 2011, at the time the largest ever merger of two UK law firms. In the last 18 months it has opened in Vancouver following a merger with SHK Law Corporation, opened in Munich, following the hire of three partners from Norton Rose Fulbright, and formed an association with Kangwana & Co in Nairobi, Kenya.
Following the merger the firm will offer a broad casualty insurance offering across its UK offices in catastrophic injury, disease, employers' and public liability, abuse & neglect, fraud, motor claims, and property damage and recovery, supplemented by a Costs team, Forensic Accountants, investigators, other specialists, and an in-house Safety Health and Environmental Regulatory team, enabling the firm to provide full coverage across civil and criminal matters.
Clyde & Co recently launched a new online platform and suite of innovative digital tools to help insurers speed up the handling of their casualty insurance claims with the aim of delivering the lowest overall indemnity spend to clients. The new product offers cutting-edge technology and AI for claims automation backed by the firm’s market-leading lawyers and best-in-class advice. This complements BLM Innovations, a suite of online analytics, case management and communications tools, which the firm first launched in 2019. This includes flagship tool, Foresight, a pioneering AI system, developed in conjunction with the London School of Economics.