Here are the top six Australian law firms based on revenue

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Here are the top six Australian law firms based on revenue
Contents
  1. Top Australian law firms in terms of revenue
  2. Bonus: top law firms from 7th to 10th place
  3. Make your choice among these top Australian law firms

Updated 03 April 2024

Aside from what has been called the Big Six, Australian law firms continue to grow, with the legal profession becoming stronger over the previous years.

According to the 2022 National Profile of Solicitors by the Law Society of NSW, there are 90,329 solicitors throughout Australia. This represents a 57% increase since 2011.

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All practice sectors have also grown since 2011. The government legal sector grew by +108%. The corporate legal sector came in second at +104%, with private practice coming in third at +40%.

The top Australian law firms have also expanded not just based on revenue, but also based on expertise and other factors. In this article, we’ll go over the top-earning law firms in Australia. It can be a useful resource for lawyers doing research on potential employers or clients looking for legal counsel.

Top Australian law firms in terms of revenue

The 2023 Global 200 Ranked by Revenue is a list of the top global law firms based on their 2022 revenue. IFLR 1000, meanwhile, ranks top Australian law firms per practice area.

Here are some of the top law firms according to revenue that made it to the list or the international law firms in Australia:

1. Dentons

Gross revenue: $3.1 billion
Offices: Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney
Key industries: banking and finance, energy and resources, financial services, health, infrastructure construction, life sciences and technology, real estate, retail, technology

Dentons is a multinational law firm whose office in Australia opened when it combined with the local law firm Gadens in 2016. Know more about Dentons Australia and its network of law firms across the globe with this video:

Read our Special Report on The Best Law Firms to Work for in Australia in 2023, which includes Dentons Australia.

Some recent cases of Dentons Australia

  • advised the Keir Family on the sale of Akubra, an Australian brand, to Tattarang, a private investment company
  • advised Newmont Corporation on its acquisition of the issued shares in Newcrest Mining Limited with a value of $26 billion
  • acted for SX Global CEO Adam Bailey on the restructure of the FIM World Supercross Championship

2. Allen & Overy

Gross revenue: $2.6 billion
Offices: Sydney and Perth
Practice areas: banking, competition, corporate and M&A, debt capital market (DCM) or securitisation, dispute resolution, equity capital market (ECM), private equity, project finance 

Allen & Overy (A&O) is a London-based multinational law firm that established its Australian operations in 2010. The firm now has 27 partners working at its Sydney and Perth offices.

A&O Australia is a top-ranking law firm for project development in the mining sector, and project finance.

Some notable deals and cases of A&O

  • acted as corporate legal advisers for EG Group’s acquisition of Woolworths Petrol Business from the Woolworths Group with a value at $1.725 billion
  • claimed damages of over $150 million in a dispute resolution case for Lanco Infratech on a sales process for Griffin Coal Mining
  • acted as corporate legal advisers for Equinix, Inc. on its acquisition of Metronode valued at $1.035 billion

3. Clifford Chance LLP

Gross revenue: $2.55 billion
Offices: Sydney and Perth
Key practice areas: antitrust and competition, banking and finance, corporate, litigation and dispute resolution

Clifford Chance LLP is a London-based multinational law firm. It set up its Australia office in 2011 by merging with two domestic law firms: Chang, Pistilli & Simmons, and Cochrane Lishman Carson Luscombe.

Globally, it’s one of the top law firms based on revenue, with offices in other parts of the world.

In Australia, it is one of the top Australian law firms for banking, capital markets, private equity, and project development.

Some notable cases of Clifford Chance

  • in 2012, defended Deloitte for claims arising from the collapse of Hastie Group Limited whose debts amounted to $1 billion
  • in 2019, represented the AMA Group in its purchase from SunCorp of Capital SMART Smash repair business and ACM Parts with a value of $440 million
  • in 2019, advised TBG AG, through its portfolio company DTN, on its purchase of a majority stake in Weatherzone from Nine Entertainment for $30 million

4. Norton Rose Fulbright

Gross revenue: $2.088 billion
Offices: Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney
Key practice areas: consumer markets, energy, infrastructure and resources, financial institutions, life sciences and healthcare, technology, transport

Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) is a multinational business law firm present in many countries and regions. NRF is one of the top Australian law firms based on revenue.

In 2009, NRF established its Australian office when it acquired Deacons Australia, a firm which had previous alliances with Graham & James and Deacons Hong Kong.

NRF Australia ranks high in most practice areas, including banking and financing, capital markets, and M&As.

Some recent cases of NRF Australia

  • in 2024, advised UniSuper, through the GPT Group, on its acquisition from Orica of a warehouse, logistics, and manufacturing development site in Deer Park, Victoria, valued at $260 million
  • in 2024, advised Squadron Energy (formerly CWP Renewables) on the development of Uungula Wind Farm near Wellington, NSW
  • in 2023, advised Fortius Hospitals on the development of Sunshine Coast Specialist Hospital in Queensland and Eastwood Private Hospital in Adelaide

5. Herbert Smith Freehills

Gross Revenue: $1.46 billion
Offices: Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney
Key practice areas: banking, capital markets, construction, energy, government & public sector, health, infrastructure, mining, oil & gas, real estate, technology

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) is another law firm that is part of the Big Six top Australian law firms. It was previously called Freehills, a Melbourne-founded law firm, before its merger with the UK-based law firm Herbert Smith in 2012.

HSF ranks high in certain practice areas, such as in banking, capital markets, project development, and mergers and acquisitions (M&As).

Check out this video to know more about HSF’s company culture:

In 2019, Australasian Lawyer named HSF an Employer of Choice for Australia. The firm was also given a Workplace Gender Equality Agency Employer of Choice for Gender Equality award that same year, its third in a row.

Some recent cases of HSF

  • advised a syndicate of international lenders on a loan for the acquisition, development, and operation by ACCIONA of the Kwinana Waste to Energy project
  • advised an affiliate of City Developments Ltd – a Singaporean developer – on its acquisition of the Sofitel Brisbane Central hotel and business, whose transaction is valued at $177.7 million
  • advised ACEN Australia on a facilities agreement with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) and Westpac Banking Corporation for ACEN’s pipeline of renewable energy projects in Australia

6. King & Wood Mallesons

Gross revenue: $1.3 billion
Offices: Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney
Key practice areas: banking and finance; capital markets; competition, antitrust, and M&A; energy, resources, and infrastructure; digital economy

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) is one of the Big Six top Australian law firms. KWM was formed after the 2012 merger of King & Wood PRC Lawyers and Mallesons Stephen Jaques.

KWM is also a top-ranking firm for numerous practice areas, which include capital markets, M&A, project development in the sector of energy, and project finance.

Some notable cases of KWM

  • in 2019, advised Sydney Airport on its Sustainability Linked Loan valued at $1.4 billion, the first and largest in Australia
  • in 2021, advised Square Inc (now Block Inc), a US-based fintech company, on its acquisition of all the issued shares of Afterpay Ltd, valued at $39 billion
  • in 2024, advised Lifestyle Communities on its entitlement offer to raise approximately $275 million to fund its strategic growth initiatives

Bonus: top law firms from 7th to 10th place

After listing the top 6 law firms in Australia, let’s round up the top 10 Australian law firms in terms of revenue.

7. Ashurst

Gross revenue: $1.087 billion
Offices: Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney
Key practice areas: banks, defense, energy, government, infrastructure, mining, private capital & funds, real estate, technology

Ashurst Australia is one of the branches of Ashurst LLP, an international law firm founded in London. It was previously named Blake Dawson before its acquisition by Ashurst LLP.

It is also one of the top Australian law firms for the practice areas of capital markets, project development in sector of transportation, and restructuring and insolvency.

Ashurst Australia is also one of Australia’s Big Six law firms.

Some notable cases of Ashurst Australia

  • advised Equinix Australia on its first long-term renewable power purchase agreement in the country
  • acted as legal and transaction advisor for the Department of Transport and Main Roads on its Queensland Train Manufacturing Program
  • advised Mirvac Group on its acquisition of Serenitas, where the sale is valued at $1.01 billion
  • acted as lead firm in the Western Harbour Tunnel project, winning an Australasian Law Award for Infrastructure & Projects Deal of the Year

8. MinterEllison

Gross revenue: $423,378,270
Offices: Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney
Key practice areas: construction, employment and safety, ESG, financing, international trade and investment, risk and insurance, restructuring and insolvency

MinterEllison, one of the Big Six top Australian law firms, topped in the practice area of restructuring and insolvency, and ranked high in other practice areas. This Australian-based multinational law firm has established offices in New Zealand, parts of Asia, Africa, Canada, US, UK, and the Middle East.

Considered the largest law firm in Australia based on the number of lawyers, MinterEllison is also one of the oldest law firms in the country.

Some notable cases of MinterEllison

  • in 2017, successfully defended Calidad Pty Ltd and others against most claims brought by Seiko Epson Corporation and Epson Australia Pty Ltd related to patent and trademark infringement, and misleading or deceptive conduct
  • in 2022, successfully defended the criminal cartel action against Citigroup executive Itay Tuchman in relation to a $2.5 billion ANZ institutional share placement that also involved Deutsche Bank AG and other senior executives
  • in 2023, advised a lenders’ syndicate on corporate, investment, and development finance for a new $1.8 billion build-to-rent fund in Queensland and Victoria

9. Clayton Utz

Gross revenue: $389,069,100
Offices: Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney
Key practice areas: banking and financial institutions, digital economy, energy, infrastructure, government, environmental, social, and governance (ESG), mining and critical minerals

Clayton Utz – one of the Big Six top Australian law firms – ranks high in the practice areas of capital markets, whether it be in debt, equity, and structured finance and securitisation.

This Sydney-based law firm is one of the oldest law firms in the country. It has now grown to around 200 partners in 6 offices around Australia.

Some notable cases of Clayton Utz

  • currently advising PAR Technology Corporation on its acquisition of TASK Group Holdings Limited approximately valued at $330 million
  • advised Conrad Asia Energy Ltd, a Singapore-based company, on its placement and security purchase plan to raise approximately valued at $16 million
  • advised on Goldman Sachs and other lenders on the syndicated refinancing of AUB Group Limited valued at $850 million

10. Allens

Gross Revenue: $316,138,500
Offices: Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney
Key practice areas: banks and financial institutions, energy, infrastructure and transport, mining, technology, media and telecommunications, government, private capital

Allens is one of the top Australian law firms for banking, along with Gilbert + Tobin, Herbert Smith Freehills, and King & Wood Mallesons.

This Sydney-based and founded law firm operates not only in Australia, but also in other regions of Asia-Pacific such as Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, and Singapore.

Allens is one of the Big Six top Australian law firms. It was previously known as Allens Arthur Robinson before its partnership with Linklaters.

Some notable cases of Allens

  • acted for ANZ for investigations and criminal prosecutions brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) which sprung from a $2.5 billion institutional share placement
  • advised the lenders of Freedom Foods (now Noumi) on the restructuring and refinancing of the group's debt facilities
  • advised numerous clients in relation to the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry

Make your choice among these top Australian law firms

As you have seen, this list of top Australian law firms features well-known names in the legal field, each known for their contributions in revenue and expertise. Aside from offering legal advice and expertise to businesses and individuals, these firms also contribute to improving legal standards in Australia.

For anyone in the legal field looking for career prospects or clients needing detailed legal guidance, this article provides a clear overview of Australia's leading legal firms.

Check out our Best in Law page that highlights Special Reports featuring the best law firms and legal practitioners in Australia.

 

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