BLM merges with eight-partner Belfast firm to launch in Northern Ireland

BLM has announced it is to merge with Belfast firm Campbell Fitzpatrick Solicitors (CFS) on 30 November, adding eight partners and another 13 lawyers to its roster.

The merger follows Berrymans Lace Mawer’s merger with Scottish firm HBM Sayers on 1 May this year and subsequent rebrand to BLM (1 May 2014).

BLM already has a Dublin office, opened in 2012 (1 October 2012), which currently has two partners and nine lawyers. Three of the new arrivals from CFS are qualified in the Republic of Ireland as well as Northern Ireland.

CFS senior partner Cormac Fitzpatrick said the merger was a “no money transaction”, adding it “was a voluntary decision, a decision we wanted to do rather than one we needed to do.”

Fitzpatrick said the two firms shared ”the same aspirations” and already worked with many of the same clients.

”We share the same vision, style and approach to our business,” added Fitzpatrick. ”It was a very easy decision to make to combine with BLM. Our customers want a firm that provides more than just legal services and can provide it in a range of global markets. They want a firm that is embedded into the wider risk and insurance world and now we can certainly provide that.”

BLM senior partner Mike Brown added that both firms had their roots embedded in risk and insurance litigation and the merger would enable the firm to “confidently build” on its Dublin and UK presence.

The merger will see CFS rebranded as BLM. As well as the Belfast office, the combination brings a Londonderry presence.

BLM becomes one of only a handful of firms headquartered outside Northern Ireland to have an office in the province. Others include Dublin firms A&L Goodbody and Arthur Cox, as well as Pinsent Masons which gained its Belfast office through its merger with McGrigors in 2012 (6 February 2012). McGrigors entered Belfast in 2009 through a merger with local firm L’Estrange & Brett (28 August 2009).

Meanwhile fellow insurance heavyweight Kennedys has been in Belfast for 18 years since launching there in 1996 (20 February 1996).