Emerging Leaders

Emerging Leaders

Emerging Leaders

The Centre for Legal Innovation’s (CLI) inaugural Emerging Leaders Advisory Board (ELAB) includes innovators and legalpreneurs in Australia with experience in different aspects of the business and practice of law. In 2022, the Board will be led by CLI’s Executive Director, Terri Mottershead.

Our new ELAB is an is an important and timely initiative for CLI. It’s guidance and support of our work will complement that of CLI’s Advisory Board.

ELAB’s members will provide CLI with an even more diverse, inclusive and deeper understanding of how change/transformation/innovation is impacting early to mid NewLaw practitioners (lawyers, data scientists, legal technologists, legal operations professionals and many more), and support us in ensuring we anticipate and respond with agility, so our work remains relevant to all in the legal ecosystem.

Our Emerging Leaders Advisory Board members for 2022 are:


Sam Burrett

Client Relationship Manager, Clayton Utz

Sam Burrett is a legal professional working across law, business, and technology. Sam manages key client relationships at Clayton Utz, a leading Australian law firm, where he has frontline exposure to the latest innovations in legal service delivery. Previously, Sam helped in-house legal teams navigate legal technology and agile talent models at Plexus, and began his career as a law graduate at LegalVision, Australia's largest NewLaw firm. Sam is motivated by a personal mission to accelerate the future of legal practice by advocating for new technology and legal business models that benefit lawyers and clients.

Founder and Principal Solicitor, Shakti Legal Solutions; Lead Facilitator, The Diversity Collective; Adjunct Lecturer, College of Law; Councillor 2022/23, Queensland Law Society; Management Committee Member, LGBTI Legal Service; National Community Engagement Director, Out for Australia

Sheetal is a lawyer by qualification and an advocate by choice. She is passionate about access to education and legal services. She occupies several roles which she uses to facilitate her passions and drive social impact.

When Sheetal isn’t advocating on behalf of her lawyer peers, she’s working alongside them to advocate on behalf of members from underrepresented and marginalised communities. She does this through her own private practice, Shakti Legal Solutions which she launched in February 2020. Sheetal started Shakti Legal as a means to improve access to justice and works with a network of firms to ensure her clients get the help they need within their means.

Sheetal is also the co-founder and President of Ethnic+, a not-for-profit member association for culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) LGBTIQA+ (Rainbow) community and its allies. Ethnic+ aims to bridge gaps in awareness, understanding and education between affected groups and their allies. Ethnic+ does this by providing a safe place for everyone to listen, learn and share their stories and extracting teachable moments which we can all learn from.

Sheetal is a recent appointment to the Management Committee of the LGBTI Legal Service. In this role, Sheetal will assist the service in setting their 3-year strategic plan and use her experience, connections and skills to foster stronger connections within the LGBTIQA+ and its sub-CALD community.

Sheetal also recently commenced her role as a Councillor for 2022-23 with the Queensland Law Society.

Terri Mottershead

Executive Director, Centre for Legal Innovation (Australia, New Zealand and Asia Pacific) at The College of Law (CLI); Chair CLI Emerging Leaders Advisory Board

Terri works internationally with leaders of legal businesses supporting them in identifying trends, developing strategies, and transforming their capabilities and practices to deliver legal services/products in the new legal ecosystem. She is the instigator, designer, developer and collaborator-in-chief of CLI’s global initiatives, networks and programs including the Legalpreneurs Lab and the Innovation Incubator Program. She is the host of CLI’s The Legalpreneurs Sandbox podcast and a frequent keynote speaker and author on legal ecosystem trends and their practical impact on legal practice at global, regional and local industry events.

Terri is the Chair of the Queensland Law Society Innovation Committee, serves as the representative for Australia on the Asia-Pacific Legal Innovation and Technology Association (ALITA) Advisory Board, is a Bilgi Law Labs Advisory Board member for the Istanbul Bilgi University Law School and is a member of the global, inaugural CLOC Education Advisory Council. She was profiled as a legal industry thought leader by McCulloch Robertson in 2019 for its Year 101: Women in Law initiative and was a finalist in the Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Innovator of the Year Award (Individual) 2021.

Phoebe Pitt

Special Counsel (Commercial Disputes & Insolvency), Mills Oakley

Phoebe is a Special Counsel in Mills Oakley’s Commercial Disputes & Insolvency team.

With over a decade of legal experience, Phoebe regularly acts in significant, complex pieces of multi-party litigation, primarily in superior courts across numerous jurisdictions including for SMEs, ASX-listed corporations, directors, insolvency practitioners, and international litigants. Phoebe is well-regarded for her strong client-focussed approach and adoption of suitable technologies. Clients value Phoebe’s ability to manage large-scale and multi-faceted litigation whilst remaining intimately acquainted with the minutiae of a case, integrating modern and cutting-edge technological processes where suitable, to maximise efficiencies and best advance her clients’ cases.

Phoebe is particularly passionate about the advancement of women in law, and the identification and adoption of innovative processes and technologies in our field.

Jennifer Priestley

Manager- Advanced Delivery Services, Ashurst Advance, Ashurst

Jennifer works in Ashurst's NewLaw Division to solve client's business problems through optimal efficiency, cost effectiveness and digitally innovative legal service delivery. She works in close collaboration with lawyers in the Strategic Advisory division of Ashurst as well as other Ashurst Advance teams and contributes to the operation and successful delivery of projects and managed services by involvement in commercial legal work and providing a practical and commercial approach to solutions.

Jennifer studied law in Aberdeen in Scotland before beginning her career as a Legal Analyst in Ashurst's Glasgow office. She moved to Brisbane in 2019 where she took up a role as Manager and as part of her role, now manages a team of Legal Analysts and Senior Legal Analysts within the ever growing Ashurst Advance team in Australia.

Mel Scott

Senior Legal Counsel, Megaport Limited; Host & Producer, The Counsel Podcast

Mel is the Senior Legal Counsel at Megaport Limited, a global technology company founded in Brisbane, Australia, listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2015 and now is in the ASX 200. She has worked in house for seven years across multiple industries such as aviation, infrastructure, financial services and now, cloud computing.

Mel has previously been awarded the Lawyers Weekly Corporate Counsel 30 Under 30 Award. She is a passionate advocate for all things in-house and shares career insights for law students and graduates on Instagram @theinhouselawyer. She has served as a Member of the Queensland Law Society's In-House Committee and as the In-House Advisor to the Women Lawyers Association Queensland.

Mel is a "recovering perfectionist" who believes that done is better than perfect. She launched Counsel, a self-made podcast about in-house lawyer life, during COVID-19 Lockdown. It has been downloaded over 24,000 times and reaches an audience in 16 countries.

Melanie Smith

Legal Counsel - Litigation, Lake Macquarie City Council

Melanie is an inhouse lawyer for the Council of the City of Lake Macquarie. She advises on local government projects, governance, property and regulatory matters, and represents Council in litigation and prosecution proceedings.

Melanie is a facilitator of business improvement, both within her own organisation and the wider legal community.  Her expertise in this arena is founded on her interest in client-centred design, technology and innovation within the legal industry.

Christine Zhong

Co-Founder and Director, BotL

Christine is one of the Co-Founders and Directors of legal tech-ed start-up BotL, where she oversees the unique Law Tech Clinic programs in partnership with Monash University and firms such as Lander & Rogers and Maddocks. She is passionate about developing hands-on initiatives that equip law students with not only tangible tech skills, but also the innovative mindset to become the next generation of change-makers in the industry. After realising how difficult it can be for students to gain experience in the legal tech space, Christine and the BotL team decided to create programs for students to develop practical expertise in no-code app building and design thinking.

Christine is a fifth year Bachelor of Laws / Arts (Honours) student at Monash University, with commercial experience at Clayton Utz, Moray & Agnew and Unfair Dismissal Experts. She was also the Assistant Director of Consulting at Impetus, where she developed a keen interest in developing strategies to assist social enterprises in achieving their goals. Beyond her work, Christine is a major foodie, avid podcast listener, and coffee drinker. She is also a proud first-generation Chinese-Australian and a strong advocate for diversity in the legal profession.