The chair and senior partner of Big Four Singapore firm WongPartnership, Alvin Yeo SC, has died after a two-year battle with cancer.
Yeo was a Senior Counsel, a prestigious title coined in Singapore in what is akin to a ‘Queen’s Counsel’ in England. He was 37 when he was appointed Senior Counsel by the Supreme Court of Singapore, the youngest lawyer ever to have received the title in the city-state.
Yeo had an illustrious career and was widely revered. He co-founded WongPartnership in 1992, alongside Wong Meng Meng. The firm grew quickly to become one of Singapore’s Big Four domestic law firms, with Yeo appointed as WongPartnership’s managing partner in 2002 and then as senior partner in 2007.
His main areas of practice were litigation and arbitration. Over the course of his legal career, he acted on many landmark cases including the defense against a $282 million claim for a major bank in Singapore’s largest private banking suit. He also successfully defended a claim over the seizure of shares in a mining company with more than $1.5 billion in assets.
Yeo, who was 60 when he passed away, graduated from King’s College London, University of London, and was admitted to the English Bar in 1987 and the Singapore Bar a year later.
Yeo was also active in politics. He served from 2006 to 2015 as an elected Member of Parliament, during which period he was appointed as deputy chairman and later chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Home Affairs & Law.
WongPartnership announced Yeo’s passing in a statement. “Over the last 30 years, Alvin’s passion for the law has been an inspiration to many of us. Indeed, the firm we are today bears the hallmarks of his brilliance, dedication and vision.
“He challenged and inspired us like only great leaders can. But there was more to Alvin than just a good lawyer. His love for his family and his compassion for others enriched the lives of many and his companionship often made any gathering that much better. It is hard to find the words to do justice to who Alvin was. He was indeed a great lawyer and an even better person,” the statement read.