Sydney Terenzi, featured attorney

Sydney Terenzi

Featured Attorney

A brief background: Where are you from? Who/what were key influences in your life related to the work you’re doing now — why did you become an attorney? What honors/awards have you received?

I was born and raised in Rochester, MI. After spending seven years at Michigan State University for undergrad and law school, I have now settled nearby in Birmingham. I graduated from MSU with honors in 2012, and was fortunate enough to continue my education with a full-tuition scholarship to MSU Law. Throughout my schooling, I returned each summer to clerk at Hewson & Van Hellemont, P.C., which ultimately led me toward this profession. I was surrounded by some of the finest lawyers as role models and mentors and it seemed only logical to follow this path. In truth, I wanted to be a “professional student” and remain in academia learning new things forever; however, I have found that as an attorney I can continue to learn new things every day. When I received my J.D. in 2015, I had set the foundation, but it wasn’t until I started as an associate for Jim Hewson that I became passionate about being an attorney. His knowledge, enthusiasm and love for litigation is inspiring.

Being an attorney: What are you most passionate about professionally? What most excites you about your work and the contribution you can make? What is most rewarding about your job/what makes it worthwhile? 

Those who know me would agree that I could not have chosen a career more different from my personality; however, something about it struck my curiosity and I chose to step outside the box and see where it could take me. I love how versatile this profession can be and, overall, there is nothing more fulfilling than assisting others with issues they need help resolving. The legal field is too often an overwhelming vast unknown to those that didn’t sign up for it, and I am passionate about helping those to efficiently navigate the system, identify the issues and come to a favorable resolution. As an attorney, it is a tremendous gift to be entrusted with handling someone’s biggest problem and being able to hand another their greatest opportunity.

Personally: What might someone be surprised to know about you?

Someone might be surprised to know that I am an SSI certified scuba diver and have a shark tattoo. In Nassau, they offer a no-cage shark dive, which, of course, I decided was the perfect first dive after certification. The local dive master coaxed in the nearest 40 or so sharks from the surrounding ocean with a box of fish parts and proceeded to feed them while wearing chain-mail sleeves and a helmet. It was both awesome and ridiculous.

What volunteer activities do you engage in? What do you find most challenging about your volunteer work? 

While in East Lansing, I became very active in volunteering and fundraising for breast cancer research and community support. During my freshman year at MSU, I lost my mother to her battle with breast cancer. It quickly became a calling to become more involved and to counter the most difficult part of my life with a positive response. I joined the committee for the Komen Mid-Michigan Race for the Cure, participated in multiple 3-Day 60-mile walks, and served on the Executive Board for MSU’s Spartans for the Cure. I continue to volunteer in the Detroit area when I can and return to Lansing each year for the Race.

In addition, I currently foster kittens and cats from a local no-kill animal shelter while they await their furever home. By far, the most challenging part is resisting the urge to adopt them all, but it is easier knowing that they are only leaving to go to another home and they were adored during the transition.