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The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is the world's largest organization serving the professional and business interests of attorneys who practice in the legal departments of corporations, associations, nonprofits and other private-sector organizations around the globe.

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Kellie Morton

Member in the Spotlight allows us to get up-close and personal with some of our ACC Australia members.This week we are shining the spotlight on Kellie Morton, Chief Legal Officer at illion and a nominee for the 'ACC Top 10 30-Somethings.'

Tell us about your current role.
As Chief Legal Officer of data + analytics business, illion, I am a member of the Executive Leadership Team and responsible for defining and executing the global legal, regulatory and compliance strategy for the illion group. We have operations across Australia, New Zealand, UK, EU and Canada.

The illion legal team advises on a broad range of complex legal matters across the fintech space, including IP and licencing, privacy and data protection, new product launches, M&A and partnerships. 

What do you believe is the most important skill an in-house lawyer needs?  
The ability to see the big picture, ask the right questions and then distil that into clear, actionable advice.  

What led you to pursue an in-house legal role?
Fundamentally, it’s the diversity of an in-house role - the opportunity to be involved in strategy, operations, finance, people, marketing, product development, in addition to the depth and breadth of our role as trusted legal adviser, keeps the position challenging and fresh. 

What advice would you offer to in-house counsel in building relationships with their organisations
Be curious and use each request as an opportunity to learn about the business, its products, services, risk appetite, growth plans, motives and objectives so you can build up a complete picture of the business and add value when offering solutions.   

It’s also important to pitch your advice at the right level – the Executive may require different output to others in the business who may have never dealt with a lawyer before. EQ is everything.

What is the one thing a law degree doesn’t teach you about being an in-house lawyer?
Commerciality – for any lawyer working in a commercial or corporate environment, understanding the commercial and financial impact of a decision is an important factor in being able to confidently weigh up the risks and deliver appropriate advice.  

What are the biggest changes you’ve witnessed across the legal sector since you joined the profession?
The influence of technology! After I joined the profession, the emergence of the Blackberry and rudimentary automated precedents started the ball rolling. While technology has undoubtedly increased the pace and availability of legal support, it’s also created many efficiencies. Interestingly, COVID-19 has been the catalyst for the wholesale adoption of technology more rapidly than any other event I’ve experienced - we’re even seeing antiquated processes like the execution of contracts finally keep pace with the realities of modern deal making. It’s exciting to see the legal profession start to truly embrace the innovations in legal tech.

Finish this sentence… If I wasn’t a lawyer I’d be…
A Rockstar ! It’s never too late.

I like being a part of the ACC Australia community because...
As corporate counsels we have unique needs and challenges, and so being able to draw on the tailored resources of ACC Australia, and the opportunity to share with, and learn from, its supportive community, is invaluable.


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