The Top Law Firms in Sydney
Sydney, the vibrant capital of New South Wales, is not only Australia’s most populous city but also a central hub for commerce, finance, and, of course, law. As a bustling metropolis with a rich tapestry of businesses, institutions, and individuals, the demand for top-tier legal expertise is perennially high. Whether you’re an international corporation, a local start-up, or an individual seeking legal counsel, Sydney’s legal landscape offers a diverse array of law firms, each with its unique strengths, specialties, and reputations. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the top law firms in Sydney, shedding light on their histories, areas of expertise, and the reasons they stand out in the crowded Sydney legal arena.
Wills & Estates Lawyers Sydney
Empower Wills & Estate Lawyers – Oliver Morrisey
In Sydney’s competitive legal landscape, Empower Wills & Estate Lawyers have carved a niche for themselves, specialising in will and estate disputes. Having evolved from a general practice firm, they now harness over a decade of expertise from their Founder and Director, focusing on achieving outstanding results for clients. Whether it’s contesting a will, challenging its validity, or navigating inheritance disputes, Empower Wills & Estate Lawyers is recognised as a leading choice. Their blend of expert legal advice, representation, and strategic planning has made them a preferred choice, with most new clients coming through referrals.
Criminal Defence Lawyers Sydney
Sydney Criminal Lawyers – Ugur Nedim
Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, headed by the acclaimed Ugur Nedim, is Australia’s foremost Criminal Defence & Traffic Law Firm with a legacy of awards, including several “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year” titles. Mr. Nedim, recognised as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005, boasts a stellar career, representing clients in high-profile cases, achieving exceptional success rates, and advocating in complex criminal matters. Renowned for his mastery in formulating winning strategies, he ensures unparalleled defence across diverse criminal and traffic law cases.
National Criminal Lawyers – Michael Moussa
National Criminal Lawyers™ (NCL), founded by Michael Moussa in Sydney, stands out for its unwavering commitment to defending clients’ rights and achieving justice. With over 25 years of combined experience, the NCL team skillfully navigates the intricacies of criminal law, ensuring every case is handled with precision and diligence. Michael Moussa, the principal lawyer, is celebrated for his courtroom prowess, advocacy against police misconduct, and dedication to those accused of criminal offences.
Blair Criminal Lawyers – Michael Blair
Blair Criminal Lawyers is a premier boutique firm specialising in criminal law defence and cases against Police rights infringements, dedicated to safeguarding clients’ rights throughout various legal proceedings. Michael Blair, an Accredited Specialist in Criminal Law since 2009, has broad experience representing defendants in a vast array of offences, from murder to serious traffic matters. Renowned for his robust defence preparation, Michael stands out for his client-centric approach and frequent appearances across different court levels and investigative bodies.
Banking & Finance Lawyers Sydney
King & Wood Mallesons – Ken Astridge
King & Wood Mallesons’ esteemed banking and finance team pioneers innovative finance solutions and seamlessly navigates regulatory changes in the ever-evolving industry, boasting a significant presence in Australia that surpasses competitors. Advising major domestic, international banks, private entities, and regulatory bodies like RBA, ASX, ASIC, and more, the firm offers counsel on a wide range of banking and finance matters, from acquisition & leveraged finance to trade finance. Ken Astridge, a notable specialist in the sector, focuses on property finance, securitisation, and debt capital markets, having led significant cross-border financing projects during his tenure in the firm’s London office, and has been instrumental in advising on major transactions such as Arrium Group’s $2.9bn exposure and Sydney Airport Corporation’s debt issuance programme.
Allens – Tom Highnam
Allens is a preeminent international law firm rooted in Sydney with a rich heritage spanning over 170 years. Recognised for shaping legislative and regulatory landscapes, Allens has been at the forefront of pivotal legal advancements. Today, through a global alliance with Linklaters, they offer clients an expansive network across 41 offices in 26 countries. Their innovative approaches attract both established giants and dynamic startups, ensuring clients receive forward-thinking legal solutions. Tom Highnam, a distinguished figure at Allens, excels in fund finance, leveraged finance, and derivatives. Highly regarded for his expertise, he has numerous accolades in Corporate Finance and Acquisition Finance realms.
Gilbert + Tobin – John Schembri
Gilbert + Tobin, founded in 1988, is one of Australia’s leading transactions, regulatory, and disputes law firms. Committed to providing legal expertise on complex matters, the firm is known for handling some of Australia’s most intricate transactions. With a focus on outstanding citizenship, they champion causes like marriage equality and reconciliation, and have the highest proportion of women partners among major Australian law firms. John Schembri is a partner and head of Gilbert + Tobin’s Banking + Projects group. Specialising in acquisition finance, infrastructure projects, and corporate finance, he has contributed to Australia’s largest deals.
Property & Real Estate Lawyers Sydney
MinterEllison – Virginia Briggs
MinterEllison, one of Australia’s largest law firms with nearly 200 years of history, is renowned for its legal and consulting expertise. Emphasising an inclusive culture and authentic character, the firm specialises in complex business problem-solving. Its interdisciplinary teams align work with purpose, amplifying impact through pro bono and community investment. Clients rely on MinterEllison’s commercial approach in managing risk and seizing opportunities. Virginia Briggs, CEO and Managing Partner of MinterEllison, focuses on purpose-led strategy and client value. A market-leading property lawyer, she embodies integrity, commercial acumen, and strong social responsibility.
Allens – Victoria Holthouse
Allens is an international law firm with over 200 years of heritage. Through a global alliance with Linklaters, it operates 41 offices in 26 countries. Committed to innovation, Allens services established companies and startups and has played a key role in shaping laws and industry developments. Their long-standing client relationships showcase their dedication to solving problems and helping clients thrive. Victoria Holthouse is an expert in real estate development and investment, known for her commercial approach and project management skills. She specialises in leasing, property trusts, due diligence, and other commercial agreements.
King & Wood Mallesons – Chris Mitchell
King & Wood Mallesons is an Asia-born law firm with global reach. With 3,000+ lawyers in 32 locations, they offer dynamic, tailored counsel by integrating Western and Eastern perspectives. They are committed to understanding and solving their client’s unique needs and unearthing opportunities for growth, whether expanding globally or strengthening locally. Chris Mitchell is renowned for his legal expertise in Australia’s high-profile real estate, construction, and infrastructure transactions, with a focus on property, urban redevelopment, and government development agreements.
Employment Lawyers Sydney
Hall Payne – Luke Forsyth
Hall Payne is an award-winning Australian law firm with over 30 years of experience. With a focus on fairness and equality, they offer expert legal services in personal compensation, family law, employment, and industrial relations. Their approach combines in-depth legal expertise with a transparent, friendly, and personalised service, ensuring the best possible outcomes for clients ranging from everyday Australians to senior executives. Luke Forsyth is a Principal at Hall Payne, recognised as one of Australia’s leading employment lawyers. With 21 years of experience, he specialises in industrial relations and employment law, maintaining a reputation-centric approach.
McNally Jones Staff – Nathan Keats
McNally Jones Staff is a leader in litigation and dispute resolution based in Sydney, specialising in employment and personal injury law. Founded in 1977 and expanded through a merger in 2006, the firm prides itself on client-focused service. Known for proactive legal solutions, they represent various trade unions, with expertise in areas including industrial law, motor vehicle law, and insurance law. Nathan Keats, Principal Lawyer at McNally’s, is an Accredited Specialist in Industrial and Employment Law with over 20 years of experience representing unions and members across multiple Australian industries.
Maurice Blackburn – Alexandra Grayson
Maurice Blackburn is Australia’s leading plaintiff law firm with over 100 years of experience. Employing over 1,000 professionals, they offer local expertise and a national network. Passionate about justice, they’ve influenced critical legal decisions and have helped over 500,000 Australians with legal complexities. From equal pay to landmark class action settlements, they are committed to treating clients with empathy and kindness. Alexandra Grayson is a principal at Maurice Blackburn with over 25 years of experience in employment law. Renowned for professionalism and empathy, she’s appointed deputy president of the Fair Work Commission.
Corporate Lawyers Sydney
Allens – Guy Alexander
Allens is a premier international law firm headquartered in Sydney, operating in 26 countries through 41 offices. With a heritage spanning over 170 years, they specialise in legislation development, industry innovation, and legal solutions. Committed to excellence, Allens fosters long-term client relationships and offers tailored services to both established companies and fast-paced startups. Their global alliance with Linklaters enhances their reach. Guy Alexander, head of Allens’ public M&A practice, is recognised as one of Australia’s leading M&A lawyers. With significant achievements in 2021, he’s a market leader in various legal rankings.
Gilbert + Tobin – Rachael Bassil
Founded in 1988 by Danny Gilbert and Tony Tobin, Gilbert + Tobin is a leading Australian law firm. Specialising in transactions, regulatory, and disputes, they are known for handling complex transactions and providing exceptional legal advice. Committed to social causes like marriage equality and reconciliation, they also offer pro bono legal services, maintaining a strong corporate citizenship ethos. Rachael Bassil is a partner in Gilbert + Tobin’s Corporate Advisory group, specialising in mergers, acquisitions, and equity capital market transactions. Recognised as a top legal talent, she has extensive experience in major Australian IPOs.
Ashurst – Phil Breden
Ashurst Sydney is a global law firm dedicated to Outpacing Change. With a 200-year history, the firm goes beyond traditional legal services, integrating technology and innovation. Ashurst delivers holistic solutions that align with clients’ strategy and commercial goals, creating new ways of working for enhanced efficiency and performance. The team’s collaboration and passion set them apart, achieving success for clients and communities. Phil Breden is a leading Australian M&A lawyer, specialising in public and private M&A, corporate advisory, and capital markets, with expertise in sectors like energy, utilities, construction, manufacturing, and gaming.
Insolvency Lawyers Sydney
Clayton Utz – Jennifer Ball
Clayton Utz is a prominent Australian law firm with over 180 years of global experience. Known for flexibility and strong relationships, it offers customised legal services for domestic and international clients. With a global legal network, Clayton Utz ensures future readiness and simplifies cross-border work. Its commitment to pro bono work reflects the firm’s dedication to justice, solidifying its reputation as a leading Australian law firm. Jennifer Ball is an expert in Restructuring & Insolvency and Commercial Litigation, known for her leadership in financial restructuring and legal reform. She’s also a recognised contributor and legal influencer in her field.
Henry William Lawyers – Mark Faraday
Founded in 2016, Henry William Lawyers is a full-service commercial law firm in Sydney, Australia. Specialising in litigation, employment law, corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, insolvency, property, and international law, the firm offers tailored legal solutions with a dedication to client success. At Henry William Lawyers, they are committed to helping clients achieve their goals through strategic guidance and expert legal support. Mark Faraday, Director & Partner at Henry William Lawyers, approaches disputes with decisive action, prioritising favourable settlement. His expertise includes commercial disputes, corporate governance, and applying a director’s commercial mindset.
William James – Michael Forrest
William James Sydney is a prestigious law firm specialising in commercial litigation, insolvency, and restructuring. Known for high-performance and top-class lawyers, the firm delivers market-leading services. Recognised for excellence in insolvency and restructuring in the Doyles Guide, it has been a finalist in the Australian Law Awards for three consecutive years. Independence and commitment define their practice, providing outstanding results for clients Australia-wide. Michael Forrest is an expert in commercial litigation, restructuring, and corporate insolvency. Recognised in the Doyles Guide, he has vast experience with large financiers, corporates, and complex litigious matters.