A Path Less Travelled … from General Counsel to NewLaw and KorumLegal.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to share a little more of my backstory and the path that has led me to my current role at KorumLegal. Telling this story requires me to go back a few decades, but please do bear with me!

Along with my family, I left Vietnam in April 1978 when I was just seven years old. The gigantic world that lay beyond the shallow muddy shores of the Mekong River — where I was from — was, until that point, beyond reach or imagination. As we drifted on the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean for the next month or so, intercepted by pirates and facing the prospect of not being able to land ashore again, we did not know what the future would hold, or where we would eventually end up. Only that our lives had been forever transformed. Arriving in Sydney, Australia, some two months later in the depth of Winter, I was already a changed boy, having been plunged into a new country, a new language, a new house, a new way of living. Nothing was going to ever be the same again.

Even at that early stage, change was an ever-present companion in my life, and it would follow me for the next 40 years to this day. So, yes, it may be a cliché to say but change has been a constant and I continue to embrace the changes in my personal and professional life.

I started out my legal career in the Sydney office of Baker McKenzie (or Baker & McKenzie, as it was then known) as an IT lawyer. Having spent 5 years with the firm, I decided that being an in-house counsel was more my thing. After I got a small taste at a printer company called Lexmark, I joined the in-house legal team at Westpac in its IT and Commercial. It was the beginning of a long-term relationship with in-house and with financial services institutions. After 5 years at Westpac, the lure of working overseas led me to Western Union, where I joined the Asia-Pacific legal team based in Hong Kong as a legal counsel, eventually becoming its Asia Pacific General Counsel for a number of years. With my small team of 6 lawyers and other professionals, we looked after the legal, regulatory and commercial aspects of the Western Union business in 39 jurisdictions. We learnt how to be lean, efficient and to adapt to change very quickly.

Then, in September 2016, the lure of change once again knocked on my door. I had the chance to move to the London office of Western Union. With this, I was able to realise a long-held dream of living and working in Europe — and London, in particular. The world was getting bigger again.

Towards the end of 2017 and into early 2018, my feet were beginning to itch. Having spent almost 10 years at Western Union, I felt that it was time to move on and explore new horizons and opportunities. That desire for something completely new and different ultimately led me to NewLaw and to KorumLegal. Before starting work at KorumLegal, I took the opportunity to do some travel, including to the small Kingdom of Bhutan. Seeing first-hand how people lived and went about their daily lives, with great humility, was a humbling experience.

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