It may come as a surprise to learn that the biggest NSW law firm is Legal Aid NSW. With a headcount of 1,163 (as at 30 June 2017 including lawyers and other staff), there would be no other NSW organisation with more people providing legal services.

Even more surprising is that the combination of all the independent Legal Aid organisations in each state would make Legal Aid the largest national “law firm” entity in Australia by headcount. HWL Ebsworth is 1,000+ people in Australia. Minter Ellison has around 1,800 people including overseas.

2016/17 was a bumper year of expenditure for Legal Aid in NSW and Victoria. Legal Aid NSW’s expenditure was $306.4 million and Victoria Legal Aid $191.3 million. 

Legal Aid NSW spent $107.9 million in 2016/17 on external legal services which includes private practice law firms and barristers providing legal services to Legal Aid clients. The list of top 20 firms is below. 

The equivalent expenditure by Victoria Legal Aid is much more concentrated on a fewer number of firms. 33% of all such expenditure is received by 20 firms with a number receiving more than $1m during 2016/17.

Victoria Legal Aid points to the increased specialisation of these firms, some merger and acquisition activity, their metropolitan locations and their additional contributions towards improving the overall legal aid system. 

The list of Victoria top 20 for 2016/17 is below: 

 

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