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Honorary Professor recalls his Law LLB degree at Brunel

Tony Coyne

Brunel equipped me with the skills to succeed in the highly competitive legal sector as well as teaching me the values of equality and fairness that I have carried with me, within and beyond my legal career.

Tony, Alumni, Undergraduate

Solicitor and Partner, Blake Morgan and Chair, Action West London and Action Talent

Law LLB - 1985

From UK

Why did you choose to study at Brunel?

I chose Brunel University London and Brunel Law School to study for my Law LLB degree due to the quality of teaching, the School's great reputation, and the work placement scheme. I wanted a lead into a law firm and to me, Brunel was by far the best university to offer this opportunity.

What on-the-job experience did you receive while studying at Brunel?

I undertook three different work placements which ultimately gave me the direct leads I was hoping for. Brunel was great in helping to secure my placements. My first placement was at Nottingham Magistrates court, not far from where I’m from and my second placement took me to a law firm in London. My third placement was at a long established, leading law firm, in Nottingham, covering all areas of law, whereby I was offered a two-year training contract upon successfully completing my degree at Brunel and my solicitors examinations. 

After I completed my training contract and qualified as a solicitor, I moved to London to work in real estate to get greater exposure to more high profile and sophisticated commercial real estate work and clients.  

Where do you now work?

I am a Partner at Blake Morgan and head up the Property and Secured Lending Team in the City office. Blake Morgan is a top 50 law firm with circa 100 partners and around a 1,000 staff. We have offices in London, Southampton, Reading, Oxford and Cardiff.

I am also the chair of Action West London - a charity which has been helping people from under privileged backgrounds gain access to education, employment and start businesses in the West London area, and over the years, we have received much support from Brunel!

In addition, I am a Legal Advisor to the Institute of Directors, an Honorary Professor at the Brunel Law School and a mentor to the Law School of Notre Dame University, an American University which has a campus in central London.

Do you have any advice for students?

My advice to a student wanting to study Law and enter the legal profession would be to study the Law LLB degree with the placement option. Taking the work placement LLB degree gave me the option of counting my work placement time against my training contract time to reduce the period necessary to qualify as a solicitor.

When applying for positions as a newly qualified solicitor, in addition to my training contract experience, I was also able to include in my CV my work placement experience which I believe gave me an edge over other applicants at that critical early stage in my career.

How would you sum up your experience at Brunel?

Studying at Brunel opened up some fantastic career opportunities for me. The work placement option helped me greatly in terms of increasing my confidence in dealing with both qualified lawyers and other professional people, as well as dealing with a variety of clients and types of legal work.

I witnessed many acts of kindness from the staff and students at Brunel in the way people reached beyond campus life to help those less fortunate than themselves in the local community - this desire to help others has stayed with me and kept me grounded!

I had a terrific time at Brunel and made great friends who have all gone on to have successful legal careers. Campus life was fantastic, and I also loved how close Brunel was to go to central London, just a short tube journey away - so I got the best of both worlds!

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