The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Coffin Mew is one of the largest law firms in the central South and has operated in the region for more than 125 years. 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.
Many Coffin Mew trainees joined the firm following positive experiences on their assessment day which offered ‘real insight into the firm’ – it is ‘personable, collaborative, modern and fun’. Trainees work in a ‘friendly environment’ with a ‘vibrant culture’ in the firm’s offices located in Southampton, Portsmouth and Brighton. Respondents lauded the firm’s staff who are ‘helpful’, and that ‘everyone seems to know each other makes the firm feel like a real community’. ‘Opinions and feedback are taken on board from every member of staff, no matter what level, which creates an inclusive environment’ reported one recruit. The pleasant working environment is complemented by good-quality training; newbies are put ‘straight in at the deep end with lots of client contact doing genuine fee-earning tasks with support from senior colleagues’. However, the quality of training differs between departments: ‘some are focused on giving trainees a well-rounded experience, whilst others place less of an emphasis on trainee supervision’. Other complaints centred on the firm’s ‘tendency to use trainees for admin tasks when there is a shortage of support staff’, as well as the ‘lack of communication around the decision process for seat allocation’ (though it’s worth noting that ‘this is now changing with the new Training Principal’). Commuting woes were also expressed as the firm’s offices are ‘spread over a large geographical area’. Memorable moments included ‘attending a conference between a QC and consultant doctors and bearing witness to fascinating and highly technical medical/legal arguments’. For a ‘forward-thinking firm’ where recruits are ‘trained very well and given responsibility from the outset’, apply to Coffin Mew.
A day in the life of...
Amanda Glover second-year trainee, Coffin Mew LLP
Departments to date: Wills, trusts and probate and Court of Protection; corporate; employment
University:University of Bristol
Degree:LLB Law 2(1)
8.30am: Today I skipped breakfast at home and instead pop into our staff restaurant on my way up to the office. I usually start my days by going through and replying to any urgent emails that have come in overnight and then reviewing my to-do list, to get an idea of what work needs prioritising.
9.00am: My Court of Protection (COP) supervisor asks me to prepare a 'best interests assessment' for a client who has severe mental health disabilities. Essentially this is a process of constructing (and documenting) a decision on behalf of our client who lacks the capacity to do so herself. This particular decision relates to whether or not a large sum of the client’s money should be spent on a specific pursuit. I weigh up the pros and cons, while having regard to the Mental Capacity Act’s core principles, before emailing the assessment to my supervisor for us to look over later.
10.30am: Yesterday I attended a training session on tax, so I write up my notes from the training and jot down some thoughts for an article on the topic, which I will later post on our firm’s trainee twitter account.
10.45am: I head off with one of the wills, trusts and probate solicitors to a meeting with a client who wants to update her will. This particular client is temporarily residing at a nursing home, so we visit her there to take instructions.
12.30pm: On returning to my desk I dictate a file note while everything from the client meeting is fresh in my mind. The phone rings; it is a landscaper who wants to discuss the design of one of our COP client’s gardens. I am managing a garden reconstruction project for the client who has cerebral palsy. The landscaper and I discuss hedging options. A large part of COP work is about managing and facilitating the day-to-day affairs of our clients, so calls like this are not unexpected!
1.00pm: As it is a sunny (albeit cold) day, I make the most of our office location and take a 30-minute walk around the lake. With my step-count now on the up, I decide I can justify stopping at the Friday pop-up market for some Jamaican jerk chicken and plantains.
2.00pm: Yesterday afternoon my supervisor and I met two new clients who had considered adding life interest trusts to their wills. It was agreed we would send a detailed letter to them advising of the benefits, effects and tax implications of these trusts, so that they could consider their options. I looked over the attendance notes from the meeting and did some additional research on life interests trusts before drafting the letter and passing this on to my supervisor to check.
3.00pm: One of the COP solicitors who is based in another office calls me with an urgent research request. She needs me to look into case law which considers scenarios where a deputy or an attorney has denied the donor access to his or her pets. We have a client with severe dementia who jointly owns a number of farm animals with her husband – no two days are alike in this seat! I send a memorandum back to the solicitor, detailing my findings.
4.15pm: I am working on a few probate matters where we are in the process of collecting the deceased’s assets in readiness for distribution. In the particular matter I am working on this afternoon, the deceased held shares which the beneficiaries have decided should be sold. I therefore draft the relevant authority letters and fill out all share sale forms.
5.20pm: I look over my time recording and the things that I have achieved today to make sure I have covered all that I needed to.
5.30pm: Once all loose ends have been tied up, I and the other trainees head to a German Bierkellar where Coffin Mew are hosting and sponsoring a Junior Lawyers Division speed networking event. An evening of pretzels, steins and good company galore!
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
Chairman: Nick Leavey
CEO: Miles Brown
Other offices: Brighton, Portsmouth, Southampton, Gosport, Newbury, Wantage, London.
Who we are: Coffin Mew is a large, innovative and responsive 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 The Legal 500 legal directories.
What we are looking for: We are looking for commercial, entrepreneurial and personable individuals, with the grit and determination to succeed in a modern professional service firm. We place a great emphasis on individuality, diversity and equality.
What you'll do:Our award-winning training programme will challenge your thinking, develop your commercial awareness and hone your leadership skills, while 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 one.
Perks: Generous holiday plus an extra day for your birthday, with additional holiday buy/sell, a relaxed dress down/dress for your client philosophy, free parking, private medical insurance with subsidised Apple Watch and gym membership scheme and health assessments, permanent health insurance, death in service cover, contributory pension scheme, optical care contributions, childcare voucher scheme.
Facts and figures
Total partners: 22
Trainee places available for 2021: 6
Applications received pa: 250
Percentage interviewed: 10%
First year: Competitive
Second year: Competitive
Newly qualified: £36,000 to £38,500 depending on specialism and location
Apply to: Brandon Du’chesne
How: Online application
What's involved:One-day assessment centre on Friday 5 July 2019.
When to apply:
Training contract commencing in 2021: By 1 June 2019.
Summer vacation scheme: By 1 April 2019.