Vacation Scheme Blog – A thoroughly enjoyable week finished off in style

Posted on: July 2nd, 2018

I had a brilliant week on the Summer Vacation Scheme at Coffin Mew. My mentor, Iwan Thomas, was really helpful, explaining his work in detail and giving me some invaluable advice. It was also interesting to hear about his exploits as the firm’s 5aside football captain!

It was fantastic to work within the residential property service line, dealing with client matters and learning about the specific processes that are crucial in ensuring positive outcomes are achieved for clients. I drafted mortgage reports, researched complex legal issues and analysed environmental reports. I also produced my own academic article regarding the right to light, a key concern for many who are adversely affected by increasing high rise building developments.

The core values and CSR policy of Coffin Mew particularly impressed me. It is very much a team effort, everyone is motivated to work hard to ensure clients receive the best possible results. Whilst also taking serious consideration and positive action with regard to their responsibilities within wider society.

Throughout the week I was able to speak to staff from all levels and gain insight into their respective roles. I really appreciated the amount of time invested in me and certainly learnt a great deal from these discussions. As soon as I arrived in my service line, I was able to have a ten-minute conversation with Ian Peach, Head of Residential Property, who explained his role and asked about my aspirations. His work in leading on the acquisition of Portsmouth Football Club by the fans in 2014 was of particular interest.

Additionally, it was brilliant to be given the opportunity to create and pitch a business idea to solve an ethical problem, working alongside fellow vacation scheme students to achieve this. I was able to channel my inner Mary Berry, making sustainably sourced vegan brownies to complement our app, designed to encourage sustainable choices and improve knowledge amongst consumers to make more informed decisions. In other sessions I learned a great deal about the career opportunities available, the new brand strategy and the impact of GDPR. Mark O’Halloran’s enthusiastic approach made quite a mundane subject matter much more engaging!

We also had breakfast with the Management Board on Wednesday. It was great to learn of their ambition and drive for the firm to grow in the future. Prior to the meeting, Miles Brown, CEO, was sitting in the same office work space I was the preceding day. Although I had to relocate nearby, this model of working is a major strength. The leadership are visible and approachable, there are no barriers which makes for very open conversations and a really positive working environment. I wish Miles a speedy recovery from his current injury problems, so that he can continue his flourishing hockey career!

There was also a rounders event organised by the South Hampshire Junior Lawyer’s Division on Wednesday evening that we were able to attend. Coffin Mew’s James Kitching and Charlotte Allery are President and Vice President, respectively, of this organisation. It was brilliant to speak with legal professionals from other firms and I was able to score a few rounders which was a bonus!

A thoroughly enjoyable week was finished off in style as we attended Goodwood Races, a fitting end. It was great to meet more people from the Coffin Mew family and learn further about the work of the firm. My networking ability was however far better than my competence to back the winning horse, perhaps on another occasion I shall have more luck! I have gained a great deal from the week-long vacation scheme, which has furthered my appetite to qualify as a solicitor. I would strongly recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity to do so.

James de Trafford