How to Establish a Law Firm in Australia

Are you looking to start your law firm in Australia? If you are, we understand that establishing a law firm in Australia can be a complex and time-consuming process. There are various hurdles to overcome, such as registering your business name and finding the right office space. This blog post will provide you with a systematic guide on how to set up your law firm in Australia. So if you are thinking of starting your own legal business, read on!

Step 1: Choose The Right Structure For Your Law Firm

The first step is to choose the right structure for your business. There are four main types of law firms in Australia: sole proprietorships, partnerships, companies and trusts. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, so you need to choose the right one for your business.

Sole Proprietorship

Sole proprietorships are the simplest and most common type of law firm in Australia. Law firms in Melbourne under this type of structure have a single lawyer who owns and operates the firm and is responsible for all aspects of the business. The main advantage of a sole proprietorship is that they are easy to set up and run. However, they also have some disadvantages, such as limited liability protection and higher taxes.


Partnerships are similar to sole proprietorships, but they involve two or more lawyers. These have some advantages over sole proprietorships, such as increased liability protection and the ability to pool resources. Nevertheless, they also have some disadvantages, including the potential for disagreements between partners and the need to file partnership agreements with the government.


Companies are more complex types of law firms. They are owned by shareholders and operated by a board of directors. The advantages of a company over other types of law firms include the limited liability protection and the ability to raise capital through equity funding. However, they have higher taxes, and they need to comply with corporate governance rules.


Trusts are a special type of law firm that’s often used for estate planning. Trusts are created by a settlor, who transfers assets to a trustee. The trustee manages the assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries. 

Trusts are advantageous in their ability to protect assets from creditors and manage complex financial arrangements. However, they also have some disadvantages, such as the need to comply with trust law and the potential for disputes between trustees and beneficiaries.

No matter which type of law firm you choose, whether you want to specialise in commercial law or criminal law, make sure you are familiar with the legal landscape in Australia. Understand the different types of legal services that are available, the licensing requirements for each type of service and the different regulations that apply to law firms. By familiarising yourself with the legal landscape, you will be better prepared to start and run your law firm successfully.

Step 2: Register Your Firm With ASIC and Get An ABN

After you have chosen the right structure for your law firm, the next step is to register your business with ASIC and get an Australian Business Number (ABN). You can apply for an ABN online or through a paper application. Once you have your ABN, you need to register your law firm with your state or territory’s legal services board.

The licensing requirements for law firms vary from state to state, but all firms must be registered with their state or territory’s legal services board. In most states, you need to pass a professional standards exam and meet other requirements before you can be licensed to practise law.

Step 3: Find An Office Space and Hire Staff

After you have registered your law firm and obtained your license to practise law, the next step is to find an office space. You can either lease or buy an office, depending on your budget and needs. However, you will want to be in an area with a high concentration of potential clients at the same time, so make sure you have the right office space for your needs.

Once you have an office, you need to hire staff, including lawyers, support staff and administrative staff. Consider hiring people who are qualified and experienced in Australian law.

Step 4: Market Your Law Firm

The next step in establishing a law firm in Australia is marketing your business. Among the  many ways to market a law firm include online marketing, print advertising, and word-of-mouth referrals. The most important thing is to make sure potential clients can find you and learn about your law firm, at the same time, build a reputation for excellence.

Step 5: Get The Right Insurance

Finally, as a law firm, you need to get the right insurance. Get the right coverage in place to protect your business from the cost of defending against claims of negligence, as well as the cost of paying damages if you are found liable.

For example, as a law firm, you need professional indemnity insurance to protect your business from claims of negligence. You may also need to get other types of insurance, such as public liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

This type of insurance protects your business from claims of negligence. If a client alleges that you have provided them with faulty advice or services, professional indemnity insurance will cover the cost of defending yourself in court. It will also cover any damages that are awarded to the claimant.

Public Liability Insurance

Public liability insurance is another type of insurance that you should get if you want to start your law firm. This type of insurance protects your business from claims arising from injuries or damage caused by you or your employees. For example, if a client slips and falls in your office, public liability insurance will cover the cost of their medical treatment.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Lastly, workers’ compensation insurance protects your business from claims arising from injuries or illnesses suffered by your employees. If an employee is injured while working for your firm, workers’ compensation insurance will cover their medical expenses and lost wages.


The process of establishing a law firm in Australia can be complex, but it is important to take the time to understand the legal landscape and choose the right structure for your business. By following these steps, you’ll be on your way to setting up a successful law firm in Australia.

Nevertheless, remember that when you are running your law firm, you need to keep up with the latest developments in the legal industry. This includes changes to the law, new court decisions and new technology. When you stay up to date, you will be able to provide better service to your clients and stay ahead of your competitors. If you are well-organised and have a strong work ethic, you can be successful in running your law firm.


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