Name: Prew Lumley

Organisation: Squire Patton Boggs

Role: Partner

Location: Leeds

Trained at: Hammond Suddards (now Squire Patton Boggs)

Year qualified: 1996

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What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?

That has to be when one of the other trainees, in a bid to avoid the partner that was looking for her regarding a piece of work she hadn’t done, hid in a filing cupboard. I think she would have got away with it but when asked “Where is Nicky?” her roommate just pointed at the cupboard!

What is the thing in your professional career that has terrified you or taken you out of your comfort zone the most?

I absolutely hated everything about going to court when I was a trainee. I did a stint in litigation in our London office and used to have to go down to court to do small applications in front of a judge. It was just a terrifying experience – grumpy judges, archaic traditions, other trainees from other firms willing you to mess up and the fear that, if anything was said or happened that you hadn’t prepped for, you were going to look like a total fool. Hence my decision to be a transactional lawyer!

What is the wisest thing anyone ever said to you (and who said it)?

I have to give credit to my headmistress at school who took me to one side and said that she thought that I should re-think my university applications. At the time I was looking at doing linguistics – she correctly pointed out that she wasn’t sure that I really knew what the course was about and that she was convinced I would find it a little “ivory tower” for my mindset. She also said that she thought I would really enjoy a career in the law and encouraged me to look into it further. Thanks Mrs Bowering – you were right on all fronts.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?

Always be clear in your own mind what you want from your career and how you think you might achieve that and have faith in yourself that you can get there. However, don’t be so fixed on it that you cannot flex and adapt to changes in your circumstances.

What you want when you are 25 might be very different from when you are 35 and, inevitably the working world will have changed too. I started out with a very linear trajectory but then adopted a more squiggly career path. I still got where I wanted and always had my eye on that position, but I made career decisions that matched my changing priorities in life. The end goal is important but how you get there, the impact it has on your life and family and your own happiness are just as important.

What’s your best friend from law school doing now?

We were like two peas in a pod at university and at law school and we still are. We are still the best of the friends, and she is a very successful commercial property partner in a law firm in the North West.