BLP rejig strengthens dispute resolution arm

Berwin Leighton Paisner

(BLP) has launched an initiative to centralise its contentious business procedures in a bid to strengthen the disputes resolution column of its five-pillar strategy.

The revamp is an essential part of BLP’s move from a three-pillar approach – namely, corporate, finance and real estate – to five, which will now include dispute resolution and tax.

Litigation chief Jonathan Sacher told The Lawyer that the move would strengthen the connections between the 16 contentious businesses to offer a more robust contentious offering to clients.

He said the contentious business ;initiative ;has helped ensure a steady growth in profitability across the litigious businesses even before the more recent upturn in disputes.

“This will result in our contentious ;business turnover exceeding £40m in 2007-08 – a 16 per cent increase over 2006-07,” said Sacher.

The contentious areas currently account for 22 per cent of the firm’s revenue.

The initiative will centralise training that was previously undertaken within individual departments.

This, Sacher said, ensures that there is the same level of training across all contentious lawyers.

“We have no intention of restructuring our internal reporting lines, but the initiative has enabled us to devise common procedures and has ensured that we’re able to cross-sell all our capabilities effectively, both internally and to clients that have contentious business needs,” said Sacher.

In addition to centralising training, the first year of the initiative will concentrate on client relationships, advocacy and forensic services.

BLP’s five-pillar strategy was first announced 18 months ago.