The Best Boutique Law Firms in Australia

Expert advocates

Being masters of their domain is the calling card of Australasian Lawyer’s Top Boutique Firms 2024.

They have structured their ways of working and internal hierarchy in order to be the most potent partners possible for their clients.

They also have a desire to make a difference and have followed a clear motivation to become the respected specialists they are today.

Advantage Legal

Boutique Law Practice Area: Personal Injury
State: New South Wales

Led by principals Leigh Davidson and Ana Jaglic, accredited specialists in NSW personal injury law, deep expertise lies at the firm’s heart.

“Our ethos has always been to help injured people. We’re not nurses or doctors, but there’s always been this missing link from my perspective in the service offering that law firms give to injured people, and it’s that they only focus on compensation,” explains Davidson.

Advantage Legal uses its boutique skillset within NSW personal injury statutory compensation schemes to redefine the compensation landscape.

“Our aim is to help the injured person recover and not make their injuries worse. We try to avoid litigation and protect injured people,” says Davidson. “We have built this firm on the back of that.” 

Advantage Legal’s reputation has seen it attract a wide clientele, such as:

  • local politicians

  • board members of large trauma hospitals

  • high-profile CEOs

  • injured cyclists

  • everyday people aggrieved by the treatment of insurance companies

The firm’s recognition is a product of thinking outside the box.

Davidson says, “I’ve never been the lawyer who followed traditional conventions; a lot of people don’t know which angle I’m going to come at it from. I don’t like being predictable.”

Another strength is both principals have worked for plaintiff and defendant firms, along with internal insurance roles. This enables them to understand all points of view and to guide people through the claim process with certainty.

“There are plenty of law firms that say to clients, ‘Do whatever your doctor says’ and that’s the end of their involvement,” says Davidson. “But what if the doctor doesn’t want to do compensation cases or the insurance paperwork? They might not get the treatment they need because the physio doesn’t do motor vehicle accidents or workers’ compensation claims. That’s common because NSW personal injury schemes are highly regulated; there’s a lot of paperwork, and not everyone wants to do it.” 


Leigh Davidson, Advantage Legal
“I never want to see my clients again because it means they’ve had another accident. We’re here if they need us, but they’ve already had one bad incident, we don’t want that to happen again”
Leigh DavidsonAdvantage Legal


That’s where Advantage Legal comes into its own. It helps clients source medical teams willing to take on the responsibility while simultaneously working in tandem with the firm and insurance company.

Davidson adds, “We insert ourselves to be the conduit and make everything run smoothly.”

Advantage Legal empowers its team to show this dedication by carrying fewer files to ensure each client is cared for. The firm contacts the rehabilitation partner appointed by the insurance company and requests all documentation.

“We want to know in real time what’s going on, and they are just blown away. They cannot believe that a law firm actually wants to know anything about treatment,” says Davidson.

Advocacy is also a priority for Advantage Legal as the exclusive compensation partner of Bicycle NSW, a not-for-profit organisation representing bike riders since 1976.

Davidson also donates considerable time as deputy chair of the NSW Law Society Injury Compensation Committee and regularly discusses legislative reform and improvements in statutory compensation schemes with parliament and government officials.

He says, “For us, it’s about changing the dynamic of the way things are currently done in New South Wales. We want to be known as the firm that stands up and does things differently.”

Construction Legal

Boutique Law Practice Area: Construction and Infrastructure
State: New South Wales

The innovative firm’s point of difference is the combination of tier-one legal expertise with unparalleled ‘on-the-ground’ construction experience. This twin offering comprises Jessica Rippon, who leads the legal division, supported by co-director husband Shawn, a major projects specialist with 30 years of experience as an engineer and commercial director on multi-billion-dollar government projects.

This twin discipline gives Construction Legal an embedded understanding of how large-scale projects are tendered, managed and delivered, enabling them to understand the legal and the technical scope of construction contracts.

It’s been a stunning rise for the business, which began in Rippon’s dining room. An example of Construction Legal’s rapid rise is running two large arbitrations for a major engineering firm.

Rippon says, “Often what happens is our client will be in a dispute with another party whose representation is a big-name law firm. Whereas we can offer our clients that double-barrelled service in-house – basically, highly technical engineering expertise and top-tier solicitors who work together and understand each other’s language. Nothing gets lost in translation.”

Rippon’s passion for the sector and desire to educate and improve the lives of residents are evident, as best shown in her The Solution to the Strata Living Crisis paper. It’s why the firm is part of the NSW Building Commission’s key reforms following a spate of incidents, including high-rise building fires, evacuations and sinking controversies.

“The paper outlined strategies on how to prevent bad actors in construction from operating and flagged how our laws to protect consumers have yet to progress like the rest of the world,” says Rippon.

One of Rippon’s main clients is global consumer credit agency Equifax, which was tasked by the Building Commission to create the Independent Construction Industry Rating Tool (iCIRT). As a result, whenever builders or developers ask Equifax how they can earn the coveted five-star rating, they are referred to Construction Legal.

This is part of Construction Legal’s dedication to being a thought leader, which includes:

  • monthly lunch and learn sessions for the firm’s staff (e.g. one such topic was how to prepare for ligation delivered by a barrister)

  • education talks for the senior team to present to junior colleagues

  • energy sessions for members of the public with legal questions

“It’s for the customers who can’t afford to spend $10,000 to commence proceedings. They don’t have much money, but I tell them to book one of the energy sessions. I’ll listen and then give my advice on what to do,” says Rippon. “It’s brand awareness too; I do it for 46 working weeks, and word spreads. We’ve got strategies that other law firms don’t.” 

Jessica Rippon, Construction Legal
“We were the underdog at one stage; I can confidently say we’re now a market disrupter. The right people know who we are”
Jessica RipponConstruction Legal


Construction Legal has also used its boutique status to its advantage and created a Firm Alliance, a network of boutiques that call on each other to deliver expertise in certain niches. “It’s akin to having a large practice with multiple divisions but somehow even more collegial,” shares Rippon.

After having such widespread success, Construction Legal is no longer an unknown quantity. The focus now is for Rippon and the team to maintain that.

“You have to keep your finger on the pulse because it’s so competitive. Industry doesn’t have big legal budgets anymore, so firms are cutting their prices. It’s tough, but we keep finding and creating opportunities every day.”

And she adds, “It all comes back to our special dual offering, giving us that competitive edge and our clients a real advantage.”

Vincent Young 

Boutique Law Practice Area: Construction
State: New South Wales

Describing itself as not “the average law firm,” Vincent Young takes pride in being “smaller, faster and smarter,” but it took two decades of hard graft to be where it is now.

Principal Brett Vincent has shaped the firm in his image following an unorthodox journey as a builder for 10 years, specialising in commercial fit-outs.

He says, “I wasn’t the leader; I think I should have been at that point in time. I could see I wasn’t going to become successful in construction and that I was going to need to do something else.”

Vincent developed a natural interest in reading files on complex construction matters and did legal qualifications at night. However, after qualifying as a lawyer, he still wasn’t where he wanted to be.

“It took 10 years for me to be able to crystallise my legal skills to the point where the construction knowledge actually assisted the law,” he explains.

Vincent Young’s caseload speaks to a combination of those two worlds:

  • negotiating highly favourable terms for the head contractor on a $500 million project at Woolooware Bay

  • handling an innovative design and construct $100 million contract for a project in Cronulla

  • successfully managing numerous SOPA claims, maximising payments to clients

  • representing clients in numerous Supreme Court and Court of Appeal matters, e.g. Re Linmas Holdings Pty Ltd [2023] NSWSC 791

  • handling a dispute exceeding $50 million for a key subcontractor on the M4/M5 tunnel (ongoing)

Another example is being involved in a $70 million dispute in relation to the Sydney Fishmarket piling/cofferdam, a wall around an area of sea where water will be pumped out.

“I’ve got a really deep understanding of construction issues and how piling is done. I don’t sit there and say, ‘I have no idea’,” adds Vincent.

Brett Vincent, Vincent Young Lawyers
“Our singular greatest strength is the love of clients, and it’s not superficial. It’s absolute passion towards their goals and interests; their problem is our problem”
Brett VincentVincent Young 


This expertise is embedded throughout the firm, bringing valuable insight to its clients, who tend to be business owners and whose cases have a significant impact on livelihoods.

“The difference between our boutique practice and a top-tier firm is that our clients die if we don’t win,” explains Vincent. “Our advice has to be far more clinical and definitive. The people running the contracting and developing firms we represent need to hear what’s going to happen and how we’re going to take them there.”

Vincent contrasts this with larger firms, which are led by the client’s decision-making, whereas Vincent Young takes ownership.

“As a firm, we own the problem and are going to manage it for them as if I were their internal in-house lawyer,” says Vincent. “They want me to manage it through to the end because the survival of the entity depends on it. Our honesty is what they appreciate the most.”

The firm has an industrial psychologist who helps structure ways of working and team orientation. This also plays into how Vincent Young selects new members of staff.

Vincent says, “We have a tremendous system of bringing young people through and sorting out the wheat from the chaff, and these really strong paralegals come through and make great lawyers.”

Additional feedback initiatives also help drive success, including:

  • ESG committee, which presents ideas to the board about improvements and refining operations

  • Board of Advisors made up of CEOs of major project management companies, an ex-KPMG chairman and director of large infrastructure firms who review Vincent Young’s senior team and offer recommendations


Velocity Legal

Boutique Law Practice Area: Commercial
State: Victoria

Progressive is the adjective Velocity Legal uses to describe itself. The firm believes the key to its success as a boutique firm rests on a handful of building blocks:

  • delivering genuine top-tier quality with a nimble boutique level of service

  • removing distractions and unnecessary red tape

  • a total headcount of 41 enables complex matters that other boutique firms are unable to take on

  • clients, referrers and service providers comment that the culture is vibrant and has a ‘buzz’

  • its people are a priority for the leadership; for example, there is an annual firm retreat where everyone’s input is sought. In 2024, it is in Singapore, and previous trips have been to Japan, Thailand and South Korea

“We are fresh, energetic and modern,” says managing director Andrew Henshaw. “We put our employees at the heart of everything we do. It sounds cliché, but it’s genuine. We invest a lot into a generous suite of benefits and perks, as well as ensuring that our team members feel valued. Essentially, creating an environment that allows our team to thrive and, in turn, results in them doing great work for clients.”

A pair of recent victorious cases underline Velocity’s prowess:

  • a private ruling where the client occupied two adjoining residential premises as their main residence over a 20+ year period. The issue was whether the main residence exemption could apply to both sides, even though the purchasing parties were not the same despite the properties being marketed together

  • application for termination of a deed of company arrangement on the basis that creditors were misled; it was originally unsuccessful in the Federal Court but successful on appeal

Henshaw explains, “These ‘wins’ come down to our obsession with being excellent lawyers who have a genuine sense of pragmatism. We don’t fence, and we unwaveringly pursue our clients’ goals. Our teams have strong specialisation focus – e.g. our family law team only does family law, our tax team only does tax law – which means that no one is dabbling, and if there are issues that arise, we are well placed to tackle them rather than guess.” 

Andrew Henshaw, Velocity Legal
“In the last 12 months, we have welcomed a range of new team members, from directors and special counsel to new law graduates. As we grow in numbers, we further expand and strengthen our practice areas”
Andrew HenshawVelocity Legal


The firm maintains its level of performance by listening to and acting upon the advice of its people. There is a strategic focus on optimising operations and a determined adherence to standards aligned with Velocity’s core values:

  • excellence

  • connection

  • trust

“We continue to seek feedback from our team about what is working and what we can do better. By doing this, our lawyers are able to thrive in an environment that promotes being their best selves, both professionally and personally,” adds Henshaw. “This translates to providing high-quality service to our clients. We have clearly outlined service standards such as turnaround times, communication, transparency and fee updates in order to ensure that we are on track.”


The Best Boutique Law Firms in Australia

Banking and Finance Law
  • D2 Legal Technology
Commercial Law
  • Argon Law
  • BDC Law
  • Bespoke Law
Commercial Litigation/Dispute Resolution
  • AMK Law
  • Aptum Legal
  • Banton Group
  • Bennett - Litigation and Commercial Law
  • Pragma Lawyers
  • Quantum Law Group
Construction and Infrastructure Law
  • Construct Law Group
  • Keighran Legal + Advisory
  • Level Playing Field Lawyers
Corporate Law
  • Aspect Legal
  • Becketts Lawyers
  • Stirling & Rose
Employment Law
  • Aitken Legal
  • Harmers Workplace Lawyers
  • Jewell Hancock Employment Lawyers
  • Workdynamic Australia
Energy and Resource Law
  • Grondal Bruining
Entertainment Law
  • Blue Space Legal
Family Law
  • KF Lawyers Australia
  • Parker Coles Curtis
  • Southern Waters Legal
  • Unified Lawyers
Health Law/Personal Injury Law
  • DBH Lawyers
  • Kinny Legal
Immigration Law
  • Carina Ford Immigration Lawyers
  • Roam Migration Law
  • Work Visa Lawyers
Insurance Law
  • Denning Insurance Law
Intellectual Property Law
  • Pearce IP
Litigation Law
  • Phi Finney McDonald
Property Law
  • Auslaw Partners
  • Massons
  • MPS Law
Tax Law
  • Waterhouse Lawyers


From 19 February to 15 March, Australasian Lawyer accepted nominations for the Top Boutique Firms 2024 list. The team was on the lookout for firms that derived at least 50% of their revenue from one practice area. Firms were invited to nominate candidates via an online entry form. Entrants were asked to name their area of specialisation, describe their achievements over the past 12 months and explain why they stood apart from their competitors.

The nominations were evaluated based on the strength of the matters handled by the firms, their longevity in the profession, their client service delivery approach and noteworthy achievements in meeting clients’ needs.

At the end of the review process, 47 firms emerged as the cream of the crop and earned the right to be recognised as the Top Boutique Firms in Australia this year.