The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Coffin Mew is one of the largest and longest established law firms in the central South. Operating in the region for more than 125 years, it recently merged with Charles Lucas & Marshall. With offices across Hampshire, Sussex, London and the Thames Valley and employing more than 200 staff, Coffin Mew has expertise in business services, real estate, technology and private client.
The star performers
Clinical negligence: claimant; Corporate and commercial; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Employment; Family; Insolvency and corporate recovery; IT and telecoms; Intellectual property; Personal injury: claimant; Personal tax, trusts and probate.
Handled font protection and developed a licensing model on behalf of Wessex Technology Opto-Electronic Products, which was used to bring its Countermark system to market in 2017; advised the trustee of Wykeham House School Trust, as well as its joint administrators at Menzies, regarding the school’s legal structure and the administration and sale of the property; represented Phillip Eaglesham against the Ministry of Defence regarding his contraction of Q Fever Chronic Fatigue Syndrome while serving as a Royal Marine commando corporal in Afghanistan; advised GetMyFirstJob on its £1m equity investment from City & Guilds and NESTA; acted for E-Crunch in several disputes, including landlord and tenant matters and copyright infringement cases.
British Society of Echocardiography; Churches Fire Security; HungryHouse; Imperial Car Supermarkets; InfoSecurity; McCambridge Duffy; Northwood GB; Pets Corner; Pirean; Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare.
Praised as a 'regional firm with City expertise', Coffin Mew is a 'standout firm on the South coast'. Recruits admire the 'modern and forward-thinking' firm's 'ambition' and appreciate 'the managing partner's involvement in recruitment'. A key aspect of the Coffin Mew training contract is that there is a perceptible 'focus on trainee development', which extends beyond 'high levels of responsibility' and 'more interaction with clients' to trainees getting 'involved in marketing' and 'attending business development and networking events'. Respondents enjoyed being entrusted with 'real legal work' including 'case management' and 'drafting more complex documents, such as witness statements'. All things considered, it is unsurprising that the training was described as 'hands-on' by several trainees. Refreshingly, the firm is 'willing to support good ideas', as well as 'promote staff who add value to the business', which shows Coffin Mew's 'desire to see not only the firm, but their staff as individuals succeed'. Trainees complained about the 'lack of communication from HR regarding seat preferences' which left them feeling 'uncertain'. Recruits also expressed some frustration at the 'poor resourcing' and the 'scarcity of support staff', which leads to trainees 'having to do a large amount of file closing and administrative support'. On a more positive note, best moments included 'completing on transactions and popping a bottle of bubbly with the clients in the board room at 1am' and 'running my own small caseload and receiving really positive client feedback'. To work at a firm with a 'breadth and depth of practice areas' which offers a 'vast amount of client contact' and has a 'focus on progression', consider Coffin Mew.
A day in the life of...
Natalie Williamson second-year trainee, Coffin Mew LLP
Departments to date: catastrophic and clinical injury, new homes and commercial property
University:University of Southampton
Degree:LLB Law 2(1)
8.30am I usually arrive at our Portsmouth office around 8.30am. On the way up to the office I grab myself a coffee from Starbucks on site using my Vitality points gained through our health insurance scheme. As it’s the end of the week, I have done enough activity over the past few days to earn a free coffee!
9.00am I start every morning by reading through any emails that have come in over night and create a task list for the day. My current seat is in Commercial Property, which is a great department to be in as you are exposed to a wide variety of work and can assist fee earners in many of our offices. With this, a task list is vital to make sure I keep on top of work and help keep my supervisor updated on what I have on.
9.30am I regularly have catch-up sessions with my supervisors so they can provide guidance and feedback on tasks I am completing. I have a short meeting with one of the partners in the team who I have been assisting on one of our biggest deals this month. The Commercial Property team is working alongside the Corporate department on a deal to sell a company and all of its related land. It’s a complicated transaction, and an exciting deal to be a part of, working collaboratively alongside another team. We will spend most of the afternoon completing this. I have been heavily involved in drafting the required documents to transfer the ownership of our client’s property and land, so we review these a final time and I arrange for engrossment copies to be made for our client to sign this afternoon, as well as discuss the agenda for the meeting.
11.00am As a third seat trainee I now have enough experience to run small matters myself, under the supervision of my supervisor. One of my matters concerning a Deed of Easement is due to complete today, therefore I phone my client to confirm the exciting news. I then proceed to carry out some research regarding ownership of water pipes for an associate in the team for one of his large land development matters.
12.00pm It’s a nice day outside, so a few of the trainees decide to go for a walk around the lake. As the trainees are based in a few of our offices, it’s great to catch up whenever we travel to another office. 1pm: Our clients arrive for the completion meeting. I gather the required documents and make my way to the client area with another trainee in the Corporate team and show the clients to the designated meeting room. The Commercial Property and Corporate partners running this transaction join us, and we start.
3.00pm During a short break, I check my emails and notice we have received the completion money from the other side on my Deed of Easement file. I make a call to complete this and inform my client before re-joining the completion meeting.
4.00pm The transaction is completed, following months of negotiations, and everyone who has assisted with the deal comes to join us with congratulating our clients over some Prosecco (their favourite!). 4.30pm: The final task for today is to check over my emails that have come in this afternoon and I spend the next 30 minutes dealing with anything urgent.
5.00pm Following a busy and successful day of completions, I head over to Southampton to join the other trainees at a South Hampshire Junior Lawyers Division event. Two newly qualified solicitors at Coffin Mew are the President and Vice-President of the committee, as well as two trainees at the firm holding other positions. Tonight’s event is speed-networking sponsored by Coffin Mew at Stein Garten, the German Bar in Southampton, it’s a busy event and I learn a few new skills to put to good use at our Employment Breakfast Seminar next week being held at the Ageas Bowl!
About the firm
Address: 1000 Lakeside North Harbour, Western Road, Portsmouth, PO6 3EN
Telephone: 023 9238 8021
Fax:020 7295 3500
Facebook: Coffin Mew Solicitors
Managing partner: Miles Brown
Total partners: 22
Other fee-earners: 139
Total trainees: 15
Other offices: Portsmouth, Southampton, London, Gosport, Brighton, Newbury, Swindon and Wantage (with a serviced office in London).
Who we are: Coffin Mew is a large, innovative and responsive full service law firm with a strong reputation built on its ability to deliver exceptional client service. The firm has ambitious growth plans, a restless desire for continuous improvement, as a well as a reputation for building a sustainably profitable firm.
What we do: The firm provides legal services to individual clients, entrepreneurs, SMEs and corporate organisations across a wide range of service areas, with 50% of its business being services to individuals and 50% services to businesses. Coffin Mew is proudly accredited by Lexcel, the Law Society’s Quality Practice kite mark and is highly regarded by Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 legal directories.
What we are looking for: We are looking for bright, ambitious, commercial, entrepreneurial and personable individuals to become trainees with Coffin Mew. We place a great emphasis on equality of opportunity for all and appreciate all of our differences.
What you'll do: Our award winning training programme will challenge your thinking, develop your commercial awareness and hone your leadership skills, whilst providing you with excellent legal training, coaching and mentoring, with significant client contact and responsibility as well as a voice in the firm, from day 1.
Perks: Generous holiday plus an extra day at Christmas and another for your birthday, a relaxed dress down/dress for your client philosophy, free parking, private medical insurance, permanent health insurance, death in service cover, contributory pension scheme, optical, childcare voucher scheme.
Facts and figures
Training contracts available for 2020: 8
Applications received pa: 200+
Percentage interviewed: 15%
First year: £competitive
Second year: £competitive
Newly qualified: £competitive
What's involved: Online application, assessment centre and/or vacation scheme.
When to apply:
Training Contract beginning in September 2020 or March 2021: 2nd June 2018
Summer Vacation Scheme: Week commencing 11th June 2018, apply online before 1st April 2018.