Firm profile: Coffin Mew & Clover

In the last few months, Coffin Mew & Clover (CM&C), one of the largest firms in the South East, has concluded a major refinancing deal on behalf of the Royal Bank of Scotland for £115m and arranged a borrowing facility for £92m for the University of Southampton.

Coffin Mew & Clover” />Turnover: £9.3m
Total number of partners: 20
Total number of fee-earners: 71
Main practice areas: Commercial property, corporate and commercial, employment, litigation and private client
Key clients: Airways Housing Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, Gieves & Hawkes, NatWest Bank, Portsmouth Housing Association, University of Portsmouth and Xperius Europe
Number of offices: Four
Location: Fareham, Gosport, North Harbour Portsmouth and Southampton

In the last few months, Coffin Mew & Clover (CM&C), one of the largest firms in the South East, has concluded a major refinancing deal on behalf of the Royal Bank of Scotland for £115m and arranged a borrowing facility for £92m for the University of Southampton.

“We’ve always done a certain amount of banking and transactional work, but we’re now doing much bigger ticket-value deals,” comments partner Amanda Brockwell. “We’ve proved very proficient on the lower-end deals, and the local people who do those deals don’t do the bigger work – they talk to their people up in Edinburgh or in London [who do].”

The latest deals are the result of word of mouth recommendations going all the way up the chain. “We’ve also made a conscious effort to get the bigger ticket stuff, the higher-profile deals, and that’s helped towards building the image and the profile of the firm,” adds Brockwell.

CM&C acts for a number of commercial and institutional clients in both the public and private sectors through its business services division, which operates out of its Fareham Point and Southampton offices. It is split into four departments covering corporate and commercial, litigation and employment, commercial property and social housing.

Established more than a century ago, CM&C is now one of the larger practices in the South East, with 20 partners and around 190 other staff. The firm is known for its social housing expertise and advises registered social landlords in contentious and non-contentious matters. That section is headed by partner Jennifer Bennett, who has more than 20 years’ experience in housing association law. There is also a large private client department, including residential conveyancing, wills, probate and trusts, family, personal injury, clinical negligence, employment and crime.

According to managing partner Pauline Johnson, the firm is currently on an expansion programme. “About two years ago we relocated into new offices in Southampton and North Harbour, having previously gone into offices in Fareham,” she says. During that period, the firm has recruited 15 new fee-earners and there are plans for a further five lawyers to be recruited by the end of the year.

“We’ve been developing what we see as our strengths and building up teams to show we have breadth, particularly on the social housing side,” claims Johnson. “It’s about trying to make sure we know what the clients need so we can service those needs in the ways that the clients actually want. It’s all about knowing your clients.”