HBM Sayers in £100m merger with Berrymans

David Taylor of the HBM Sayers board with Mike Brown, senior partner at Berrymans Lace Mawer
David Taylor of the HBM Sayers board with Mike Brown, senior partner at Berrymans Lace Mawer
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SCOTTISH litigation firm HBM Sayers yesterday unveiled a merger with Berrymans Lace Mawer that will create a £100 million business in Britain and Ireland.

BLM, as the new practice will be known, will have 1,550 employees, including 170 partners and 630 lawyers and technical staff operating from 12 offices. The merger followed a review of client demands by both firms, which have a big presence in the general insurance sector, the London market and among brokers.

David Taylor, chairman of the HBM Sayers management board, said there would be no job losses as a result of the merger, which will complete on 1 May. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Berrymans is the larger of the two firms with more than 1,400 staff and 155 partners. A number of senior positions will be announced in due course and Taylor said HBM would have “appropriate representation” in the merged business, which will also begin hiring staff. It will be run by an executive committee and a partnership committee.

Taylor, below, said: “BLM will be a new business based north and south of the Border and it will about more than just claims. It will be a modern risk and insurance law business. Although we work with many of the top global insurers, our client base also includes large numbers of corporate insured businesses, and health and public sector bodies. We’ll be unique in the way that we’re embedded in the wider risk and insurance world.

“Both businesses have been open about their ambitions to grow. This is absolutely right because we share many of the same clients and have a similar style and approach to meeting the needs of those clients. The things clients say they like about Berrymans Lace Mawer are the same things that they say they like about HBM Sayers. ”

HBM Sayers was established in 1999, following the merger of Hamilton Burns & Moore and Cochran Sayers & Cook and has offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. The firm employs more than 80 staff in Scotland with 16 partners and an in-house QC. During its last financial year to 30 November, 2013, the firm had revenue of £7.3m.

Siobhan Kelly, head of family law at HBM Sayers, said: “This provides us with an exciting platform of increased resources with which to service the needs of our clients in an increasingly complex and expanding area of law.”

The firm has no head office as such, though it will be headed by Mike Brown, senior partner at Berrymans Lace Mawer, who is based in Liverpool. He said: “We’ve been deciding the best way for us to deliver what our clients will want not just now, but also in five years’ time.

“We have a clear strategy to deliver the right capability in the right places, internationally as well as in the UK and Ireland. This combination helps us with both geography and skills, but it is very much the start. The next few years are going to be very exciting for BLM and for our clients.”

HBM Sayers and Berrymans Lace Mawer already serve on the same legal panels for a number of clients, representing them in the UK and Ireland. HBM recently appointed Greg MacDougall and Shirley Wyles as partners in Edinburgh.