Employee Airtime with Andrew Foo, Legal Counsel based in Singapore
Welcome to Employee Airtime! In this content series, we sit down with our talented team to talk about why they're excited to work at Airwallex, their passions and what gets them out of bed in the morning!
Introducing Andrew Foo , Legal Counsel located in Singapore.
Tell us about your legal career to date - what inspired you to become a lawyer?
It all started when I picked up To Kill a Mockingbird - cliché, but true! I have the same initials as Atticus Finch (the lead character in the novel, who bravely defends a black man accused of murdering a white lady), so I thought I could follow in his footsteps. Also, the law allows me to marry the craftsmanship of the arts with the causative logic of the sciences.
Therefore, I decided to leave Singapore to read law in the UK. I then got qualified, first in England and then in Singapore, and have worked in both countries as well.
Before joining Airwallex, I spent 8 years working in private practice - primarily in dispute resolution, representing and defending governments and MNCs in high-stakes disputes before judges, arbitrators, and mediators from around the world.
Andrew at the Singapore Supreme Court after being called to the bar
What has been your proudest moment of your career so far?
One of the things I’d love to tell my grandkids about one day, God-willing, is my appointment by the Singapore Supreme Court as a pro bono amicus curiae (that’s a lot of Latin - literally, a volunteer ‘friend of the Court’). I was delighted to be appointed, as the selection process is rigorous, covering candidates’ academics, experience, legal analysis skills, and recommendations by judges and senior lawyers.
I have since been approached to assist the Court on a human trafficking case. My role is to serve as a non-partisan lawyer, tackling novel and cutting-edge legal issues. It’s been both a joy and an honour to be involved.
After your 7 plus years working at top tier law firms, why did you join Airwallex, a high-growth fintech?
One word - growth.
I am indebted to my former colleagues and mentors for helping me grow as a lawyer. I had invaluable opportunities to learn from and work alongside the brightest and best - some of whom are Queen’s Counsel, Senior Counsel, law professors, and sitting judges in the UK and Singapore.
But when Airwallex approached me to be the first legal counsel in Singapore, it hit the sweet spot - this was a high-growth company, where I could grow professionally in new and diverse ways - and also a company meaningfully tackling some of the growing pains of the global economy, where I can (I hope) do my part.
What’s it like working in the Airwallex Singapore office?
It’s been a hoot getting to know the talented and driven Singapore team, and settling into our new digs at Grace Global Raffles.
It definitely helps that we have a foosball table (where I’ve been able to squeeze out wins against Edwin (BD Director) and Royce (Talent Acquisition Specialist), and a La Marzocco espresso machine, which is a neat reference to our Tukk & Co beginnings.
Some members of the Singapore team (left to right) Elodie Trichet, Andrew Foo, Edwin Lee, Jee Lee Koh & Royce Lim
The location is great too - as Elodie (Head of Financial Partnerships, APAC) would enthusiastically affirm, we are a hop, skip, and a jump away from Lao Pa Sat - a 120 year old bastion of Singapore hawker culture, which was recently officially recognised by the UNESCO heritage committees.
What is one myth about lawyers that you’d like to debunk?
That we are all mercenary, politicking creatures ala Suits! I’ve met many lawyers who conduct themselves with integrity, and would go the extra mile for the right cause or client.
What advice would you give someone in the legal or compliance industry who is considering a job at a high-growth fintech?
The fintech industry is one where the technology, products, and regulations are currently undergoing significant evolution and growth. Joining a high-growth fintech is a surefire way to challenge yourself, and to be a part of - and contribute to - that growth.
Who would play you in a movie about your life?
I would love to play myself, if it ever got to that stage!
I’ve dabbled in amateur productions in the past, including Nativity plays and summer camp skits for children. I didn’t do terribly well, but I would hope I can at least accurately portray myself!