Terry Prempeh

Terry Prempeh, associate, Reed Smith

Terry Prempeh

Job Title(s): Reed Smith, Associate (Energy and Natural Resources)

Backstory:  I was born and raised in South-East London. Coming from an African household, luckily my chosen profession was on the approved list of careers. However, academically I pursued my passion for Theology and Philosophy at university and then converted to Law via the GDL and subsequently the LPC. My training contract was a unique experience because I only had two weeks in the office before all the Covid 19 lockdowns. That meant much of my training (including a client secondment to a major broadcaster) was done remotely.

Who or what influenced you to train as a lawyer?

 At school, I enjoyed advocacy and was much stronger in essay subjects than in Maths and the Sciences. That led to people encouraging me to explore Law. I also undertook a one-week placement at a high street law firm, which I really enjoyed.

At university, I began researching what a career in commercial law would entail and once gaining experience on vacation schemes confirmed this was the right pathway for me. I did not know many lawyers growing up but once I began networking at university, started to appreciate the insight lawyers in my network were able to provide about the legal profession.

If you didn’t pursue a legal career, what would you be doing now? 

I have a passion for sports. I wanted to be a professional footballer or tennis player, but I would have settled for a commentator or journalist role.

Why Reed Smith?

When deciding where to train, my experience on the Reed Smith vacation scheme back in 2017 really stood out. The firm was intentional about providing the participants with experience and skills that would help us in our careers despite only being prospective trainees. In the two weeks I spent at the firm, I was afforded a preview into the quality of training and guidance I would get if I trained at Reed Smith.

The Reed Smith culture was also very welcoming, and I felt like I could be my true self at work. This is important because sometimes we need to spend a lot of time at work!

What would you say is a common misconception or misunderstanding aspiring or junior lawyers have about the legal profession?

You aren’t expected to know all the answers on day one or even on day one hundred. A willingness and enthusiasm to learn is more admirable than pretending you know everything that’s going on. Senior colleagues really appreciate when you ask questions because it shows you are thinking through the work you are doing.

Just try not to make the same mistake twice!

What does success mean to you?

Having a positive impact everywhere I go and in everything I do.

Imagine a time when you felt like giving up. What helped you bounce back?

I sought advice and support from people who have also worried about the same reasons that made me feel like giving up and asked them for practical tips on how to keep going.

What careers advice would you give to your younger self?

Everything that makes you different is exactly what you’ll need to stand out. Conforming to fit the mould of what you think an opportunity might require is not necessarily the right approach.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt about life and / or work outside of a formal education setting or away from the office?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Similarly, when the time comes, be sure to help others.