Full name – Sowunmi Temitope
Organization – Cowrywise Financial Technology Limited
Practice Area – Financial Services, Technological Law, Private Equity and General Business Advice.
Years of experience – 8 years
Temitope Sowunmi is a corporate finance lawyer with extensive experience advising indigenous and multinational companies on finance, corporate, technology, private equity, regulatory compliance/government interface, project and infrastructure finance deals. She has been classified as a “remarkable professional” and has been described as “very responsive…very reasoned and very experienced…a pleasure to work with” by the leading international directory of financial law firms. She is also a recipient of the “40 under 40” awards for young lawyers in Nigeria. Temitope currently leads the legal team at Cowrywise (a digital wealth management fintech democratizing access to savings and investment products), where she provides expertise and support with respect to products, operations and strategy, and contractual relationships. She also carries out extensive engagement with key regulators. Prior to joining Cowrywise, Temitope was a Senior Associate and Co-Head of the Fintech/Start-Up Practice Team at a leading commercial law firm in Nigeria. Temitope has advised Stripe Inc. in the acquisition of Paystack Pte for USD200 million; the parent company of Paystack Limited. She also advised African Finance Corporation in connection with the USD 78 million debt/equity financing of Segilola Resources Operating Limited and its parent company. This deal was recognized by IFLR 1000 as the “2020 Project Funding Deal”.
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Four questions with Temitope
What is a valuable experience in your practice of law that continues to inspire you?
It’s hard to narrow this down to just one experience, but knowing and seeing that your advice/input is critical to a deal and that you have, in your own way, contributed to a transaction makes all the difference and has definitely been a “pick me.” up” on my bad days. This definitely encompasses everything I’ve done and continue to do. In my current role, this feels more tangible as legal support is an integral part of everything we do as a company.
How does it feel to transition from a law firm practice to in-house counsel at a tech startup? Any advice for lawyers looking to be part of a tech startup?
Big! He had known for a while that he wanted to be more “hands on” as a lawyer; I was trained as a business lawyer, but I think one of the things lawyers struggle with in practice is sometimes being too “legal” with advice. For me, this step was mandatory and I do not regret taking the step.
As a starting point, “tech” extends beyond its fintech and startups, so even for traditional industries, the wave is here to stay. Specifically for the startup ecosystem, please read and be as informed as possible. While we all learn in the process, there is work that needs to be done behind the scenes.
What is your view on inclusion in Nigerian law firms and what initiatives can still be taken to encourage them?
Based on my experience and knowledge, various law firms continue to push initiatives to ensure inclusion on all fronts. However, beyond ensuring equality/equity across the board (which is laudable), significant progress could be made by driving initiatives that focus on creating a strong system of value and support for lawyers, especially lawyers. younger. In a general sense, a key part of inclusion is making adjustments/changes based on the unique needs of individuals and the reality of practicing law in the context of the new economy with the proliferation of technology, etc. Law firms could do more in this regard. regard.
What is the best advice you have received? (How can other young lawyers apply this advice?)
Someone once told me this and I say it very often to my apprentices: “there is clarity in the process”. For younger lawyers, it is normal to feel overwhelmed and confused or even intimidated. It may not get better in a day, but it always gets better and clearer. Don’t feel the need to have everything figured out in one day, as the practice of law is a marathon, not a sprint.