When Prince Acquaye ’13 joined Ashesi to study Management Information Systems, he believed it was time to give up on his childhood goal of becoming a lawyer. In his second year, however, he learned about ENS Africa’s Ghana Office, then known as Oxford and Beaumont Solicitors, thanks to another Ashesi student who had interned with the law firm.
Prince also applied for an internship with the firm and joined in his third year at Ashesi as a non-legal intern. The experience reignited his desire to pursue a career in law.
After graduating from Ashesi, Prince spent nearly eight years at ENS Africa. Starting as a Paralegal, he eventually became an International Associate, earning a Barrister-at-Law certificate from the Nigeria School of Law and a Qualifying Certificate in Law from the Ghana Law School.
“My years as a paralegal were exciting, challenging and fun,” says Prince. “For those who have watched the TV series ‘Suits’, I proudly felt like the Rachel Zane of my team and took every opportunity to capture memories with my team members.”
As an international lawyer, Prince developed specialisations in corporate governance, intellectual property, immigration, general corporate commercial, and mergers and acquisitions.
His work covered a wide range of clients, including Google, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Coca–Cola Bottling Company of Ghana Limited, Emirates Airlines, Mastercard, and Zen Petroleum.
“I share with younger people that I speak to that some opportunities come on a platter, but many don’t,” says Prince. “Dreams require tough work. I had pictured myself as a lawyer for a long time and had to navigate through a lot of work to get here. There were many bottlenecks, but I chose to persevere. I am glad to be here today because I do not have to ask myself ‘what if?’ anymore.”
Helping students at Ashesi understand the legal profession
Reflecting on his experiences, Prince believes many young people may believe they cannot pursue a career in law because they are not on a conventional path to it.
But as he did, several Ashesi alumni have pursued careers in law. Prince is now working to demystify the legal profession for other students at Ashesi. In 2021, he joined the Business Administration department as an Adjunct, teaching Business Law, and Company and Commercial Law. Working with other Business Law faculty, he has helped strengthen the teaching of law at Ashesi and hopes to see more students take the classes.
In December 2022, Prince helped organise Ashesi’s first Moot Court session – a simulation of real court proceedings.
Students had to argue whether bail should be granted to a person arrested for possession of narcotics pending a trial. As part of the debate, the class also got the opportunity to educate the broader audience about Ghana’s drug laws and the repercussions for those who broke them; a secondary goal for the faculty in organising the session. Her Ladyship Justice Rosemary Baah Tosu, a High Court Judge, presided over the session.
“It was an exciting experience for me,” shared Emmanuel Nti ’23, who took the class and participated in the debate. “I always had an interest in finance, but I am beginning to recognise how I can bring this interest into a career in law.”
Building a new legal firm in Ghana
Today, Prince serves as a Managing Partner at Corporate and Allied Attorneys, a firm he established in 2022. He hopes that he can build a legal firm that is recognised across Africa and that inspires many others.
“I draw a lot from the lessons of my former boss Elikem Kuenyehia and his journey of starting and growing Oxford and Beaumont,” says Prince. “Elikem started a young firm that became recognised among some of Ghana’s biggest names, so I know it’s possible. I hope Corporate and Allied Attorneys can grow into one of Ghana’s leading legal firms, harnessing technology.”
“For any young person who wants to become a lawyer or a professional in any field, go forward with that dream,” adds Prince. “It may be difficult, but follow it. Write that exam. Take that interview. You do not want to look back, wondering what could have been. Every young person should be able to take some career risks with their lives. I hope to serve as a good example of risk-taking for those needing one.”