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In conversation with Hilary Scott 

8 March 2024

Who is Hilary Scott? In short – she’s a powerhouse. Hilary is Group Counsel for InfraBuild and more broadly, GFG Australia. Under her leadership, the Legal team help facilitate all major business decisions and strategic plays… often unnoticed. We sit down with Hilary to learn a little more about who she is and how she juggles it all.  

What are the top three ways the legal team contributes to the success of the business?  

Firstly, at its heart, this business exists because it manufactures and sells products to customers. Legal assists with the many contracts that the business enters into in order to manufacture and distribute products and then also assists with all of the sales contracts. Secondly, large businesses such as ours have many important legal touch points beyond our customers and suppliers.

Legal contributes to the success of this business by giving advice so that these legal touch points do not compromise the business’s ability to focus on its core activity (see point 1). Thirdly, we have a lot of stakeholders both internally and externally. This includes our owner, our directors, officers, employees, contractors, government, our lenders, insurers, other GFG entities and the list goes on —   Legal assists with advice and support in all these spaces.  

What does a day in the life of a General Counsel look like? 

Most All days start with a coffee. I’m exceptionally grateful that one is often made for me. A quick look at my emails to ensure nothing super urgent or critical has occurred while I’ve slept. I’m a bit of a news addict so I skim through most of the headlines. If I’m really nailing it, I fit in a run or a walk with my husband and our five year old choccie groodle, Lexie. Kid wrangling continues as we all try to get out the door to be at school/work on time. My exceptional memory for the location of misplaced domestic items i.e. pencil cases/shoes/keys is most helpful during this part of the day. Either a work from home (WFH) or office day, lots of emails. I try to block out some time for thinking and planning work so that the important doesn’t get overwhelmed by the noisy.

There are lots of Team meetings and calls amongst the random requests for top ups of tuck shop funds, clarification of after school plans. I also try to keep up with my Whatsapp friend chats for a quick break, I have a brilliant group of friends who have full time jobs too… all lawyers and we met in the early 2000s. Four out of five weeknights I try to be home with the family, if not, I may be out at a Melbourne Theatre Company production or an exhibition opening for CRAFT Victoria (I’m on their Boards), a book club dinner where reading the book has become optional now that it’s been going for 20 years or dinner out. Sometimes some late night or early morning calls because Australia is the chump of international time zones. Rinse. Repeat.  

Everyone we have spoken to has mentioned you’re nailing the mum/work life impressively – what kind of foundations and support do you have around you to make this possible?  

Thank you. I am very humbled and proud of that. I do have great support – my husband and I both have demanding jobs, and we genuinely try to see our family as an enterprise that we contribute to equally, our kids see us work and now they are a bit older are very supportive too. On the domestic front, we have a weekly cleaner, we avail ourselves of some excellent meal delivery options and I rarely iron anything.

From a parenting/family perspective I don’t try to keep a rigid wall up between work and home. COVID (whilst terrible) changed the visibility of all of our personal lives. Regardless of our status, married, divorced, single, a couple, kids, furry kids… whatever that looks like, I believe that being authentic is the key. We all have more than one version of ourselves. I do my job better when I make choices about what is most important in that moment for that person or issue. There’s no balance, there are choices and consequences. I just try to make the right choices and trust that is what other people are trying to do too.  

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