A law degree from a prestigious UK university, dedication, and hard work earned Teo Ee Von the 2018 Professional Achievement Award.

Despite her young age, Ee Von has managed to distinguish herself as a professional to contend with in just over a decade. Her love for the law sowed its seeds early in life, which later blossomed at the University of Manchester where she obtained her Bachelor of Law (LLB), after which she also completed the Bar Vocational Course at the Manchester Metropolitan University. This postgraduate qualification enabled her to practise as a qualified barrister in England and Wales. This was the start of her resume, which would grow impressively as she immersed herself in the legal world.

Upon returning to Malaysia, her first appointment was at Wong & Partners, a reputable law firm which is a member of Baker McKenzie International. Coming in as an associate, her career took off and she prolifically climbed up the ladder to be named partner in 2014, after just 7 years with the firm.

From the start, she has been consistently involved in high profile and award-winning projects. Her meticulous and excellent work has earned her multiple awards, starting with her being named Young Lawyer of the Year by the Asian Legal Business Malaysia Law Awards. She was also a ‘7 Rising Stars’ nominee in the Corporate Category of the Euromoney Legal Media Group Asia Women, Business Law Awards 2017. This year, in addition to this Professional Achievement award, she was recognised by IFLR1000 2018 as a Notable Practitioner.

Ee Von has built her career in the corporate sector, centring her work on contract law. Her primary areas of specialty are mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and corporate reorganisations. Furthermore, she also works on projects involving divestitures, takeovers, and foreign investments. Her work encompasses local and cross-border transactions in numerous industries including manufacturing, insurance, retail, and media.

Highlights from her career so far include:

i)The sale of Golden Arches Restaurants Sdn. Bhd. to Saudi Arabia’s Lionhorn Pte Ltd. This transaction was awarded both the M&A Deal of the Year (Premium) and the Malaysia Deal of the Year at the Asian Legal Business Malaysia Law Awards 2017;

ii)Telekom Malaysia's partnership with Green Packet Berhad and Packet One Networks Sdn. Bhd. These entities, including South Korea’s SK Telecom Co., Ltd. came together to develop a next-generation LTE infrastructure for converged communications services in Malaysia. The transaction was nominated for M&A Deal of the Year by Asian Legal Business Malaysia Law Awards 2015; 

iii)Zhejiang Geely Holding Group’s  (ZGH) investment in Proton Holdings Berhad and the sale of DRB-Hicom Berhad’s entire stake in Lotus Advance Technology Sdn. Bhd. to ZGH and Etika Automotive Sdn. Bhd. for GBP100 million. The transaction involved various issues governed by the laws of Malaysia, China, Singapore, and the UK, and Ee Von was required to deal with counsels of various bidders from various jurisdictions around the world.

Having been admitted to both the Malaysian Bar and the Bar of England & Wales gives Ee Von the added advantage when dealing with international transactions, and with just over a decade in the industry she has got an impressive list of achievements under her belt. Ee Von has also incidentally co-authored a book titled “Mergers & Acquisitions in Malaysia: A Comprehensive Step-by-Step Approach” published in 2014.

She has been instrumental in helping Malaysian corporations expand their presence, investments, and acquisitions on a global scale, bringing Malaysia to the forefront of various industries. Her advice has led to investments in tech start-ups, local and overseas as well, which frequently involves complex negotiations and considerations. 

Ee Von’s love for her country sees her constantly promoting Malaysia as an attractive investment market, outlining the benefits and advantages as a financial destination. She has successfully contributed to the procurement of significant foreign investments from numerous powerhouse nations into Malaysia to the tune of billions of pounds. Having already accomplished much in such a short time, the future beckons with even greater achievements and she is ready to take on even more in the world of law and business. 

On a more personal note, Ee Von is also active in various community outreach programmes organised by her firm and these include fund raising initiatives and soup kitchens for those in need.

She believes that studying law at a UK university provided her with the solid fundamentals to build upon over the years. Moreover, there is an added advantage – the commonality of the law system in the two countries has allowed her to seamlessly apply the technical knowledge attained in university to her legal work in Malaysia.

Her success has entrenched her belief that the UK education system is one of the best that is available and she is a firm advocate of learning the UK way. She says, “When asked about what is recommended [for] a good head-start in the industry, I have always strongly advocated UK universities and shared my experience as a student studying in the UK. I have also shared personal experiences of dealing with various lawyers, whether junior or senior counsels, throughout my career, and how those who graduated from good UK universities would stand head and shoulders above the others.”

As for the judge for the Professional Achievement category, Fiona Liao, is also a powerhouse in her own right. The Chief Brand Officer of Prudential Assurance Malaysia, she was named one of the 50 Most Talented CMOs by the 2013 World Marketing Summit Listing. 

Fiona says, “It was a very difficult decision as there were many strong applicants who are winners in their own rights. We were looking for someone who had outstanding achievements in their professional career, both in its breadth and width. And more importantly, whether those achievements were directly contributed by the applicant him/herself. Aside from her very illustrious professional career, which received industry recognition, Ee Von was also able to attribute her success to her UK education and experience.”