The firm’s head of immigration law on the importance of recruting and retaining the right staff, the challenges posed by new immigration rules, the universal power of food and why steak should always be eaten rare

Mandie Sewa - Head of Immigration at Brevis Law

Why did you choose construction as a career?

I am an immigration lawyer supporting clients and firms in the construction industry. I chose to specialise in this area because I am passionate about helping businesses and individuals grow and prosper.

What are you most proud of in your career to date?

Building an ethical legal practice with a holistic based approach that underpins my values and beliefs.

What has been the biggest challenge of your career to date?

A lack of diversity and underrepresentation of women at senior levels.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

Create an environment in which firms can recruit and retain the staff they need, either locally or – where necessary - from overseas.

What is the most helpful advice that you have been given?

Work to learn rather than to earn.

Name your favourite building in the world?

Westminster Abbey.

Which famous building do you most dislike?

The Barbican Centre (below).

barbican 1

Which famous building do you wish you had worked on?

It’s not particularly relevant for an immigration lawyer, but I would have loved to have seen St Paul’s Cathedral being built, even if only as an observer.

Who do you most admire in the construction industry?

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

What is it like being you (and doing your job)?

My job requires attention to detail, quality services, professional applications, and a lot of hard work – but seeing that hard work pay off and the way it changes a client’s life or business is extremely rewarding.

Immigration law gives me the opportunity to work with clients ranging from people coming to join family, students to aspiring entrepreneurs, business people, and companies of all sizes. With the immigration rules changing all the time, every day brings new challenges. It’s a busy job and no two days are the same!

Do you have a life philosophy?

Make improvements, not excuses. Seek respect, not attention.

What do you think your best quality is?

Creativity. The law is is not always black and white. I try to “think outside the box” to find a practical solution to my clients’ issues. 

What trait do you most dislike in yourself? And in other people?

I strive for perfection and tend to get engaged in intricate details.

Name three things that you like

  1. The beach at sunset, breeze in the hair, waves lapping at the shore.
  2. Learning new things and mentoring others.
  3. Dishwashers. Because who has time for washing dishes?

Tell us about a secret skill that we don’t know you have

Cooking. Food is maybe the only universal thing that really has the power to bring everyone together. No matter what culture, everywhere around the world, people get together to eat, and this helps to build relationships.

What is your most prized possession?

My engagement ring.

Early bird or night owl?

Early bird.

What is your favourite food?

Ribeye or sirloin as long as its bleu.

What would your superpower be?

Endurance, strength, or resilience.