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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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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 Valerie Hodgins, Director Legal and Governance, Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority who has recently stepped down from the WA Committee after 10 years. 

In her 10 plus years on the WA ACC Committee, Valerie has made a great contribution to our membership and ACC Australia. With a number of significant family and personal health challenges in her two year presidency, she provided a brilliant example of true resilience and leadership and left us with the legacy of a brilliant committee.

Tell us about your current role.
My current role is as the Director Legal and Governance with the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority which is a state government statutory corporation responsible for providing for the planning and redevelopment of certain land within the metropolitan region. I have day to day responsibility for the legal team and the governance for the MRA Board and its committees.

Tell us about your top three best ACC Australia moments…

  1. Working with the WA Committee and subsequently with the National Board.
  2. Attending the WA annual conferences and networking with other in-house counsel.
  3. Attending a number of national conferences, meeting in-house lawyers from across the country within many industries and understanding that in-house lawyers face many similar challenges regardless of the industry they work within.  

Having been a committee member for over 10 years shows you have loved being part of our association. Can you share what you have enjoyed the most about being on a committee and part of our extended community?
Being a member of the committee was initially, a way to meet other in-house counsel as I was the sole in-house counsel in the company I worked with at that time. As I grew in experience and confidence, being part of the Committee became a means of assisting ACLA as we were then, to grow and develop as part of ACC globally. I have thoroughly enjoyed the friendships I have made through ACC and the opportunities it gave to me to grow and learn as  lawyer and as a person. I would strongly recommend all ACC members at some stage of their in-house career to get involved in their local committee. 

What are the biggest changes you’ve witnessed across the legal sector since you joined the profession?
The growth of the role of in-house counsel and the increasing appreciation of the contribution the in-house lawyer can make to a  business.

What do you believe is the most important skill an in-house lawyer needs? 
The ability to listen and be a team player contributing as part of that team to the business outcome.

What advice would you offer to in-house counsel in building relationships with their organisations?
Get out and about and talk to people, encourage your colleagues to drop by and chat through issues and assist them in finding sound solutions.

What is the one thing a law degree doesn’t teach you about being an in-house lawyer?
That you need to understand the business you are working in and its key imperatives otherwise your advice may be of no assistance at all.

Finish this sentence… If I wasn’t a lawyer I’d be a ‘runner’ for the West Coast Eagles footy team. (Photo above) at the 2018 grand final with my daughter Sophie – winners are grinners.


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