Expanded Methodology

Our Best Law Firms rankings in Australia are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and professional reference evaluations, peer review from leading lawyers, industry leader interviews and review of additional firm highlights provided by law firms as part of the formal research cycle.


Firms with at least one lawyer recognized in the current edition of The Best Lawyers in Australia in a practice area ranked by Best Law Firms are eligible to receive a firm ranking in that practice area in Australia. For more information on Best Lawyers® awards, please visit www.bestlawyers.com.

Practice Areas

Practice area rankings are produced across regions and nationally across Australia. Some practice areas are highly specialized, with limited firms participating, preventing sufficient data collection for proper evaluation informing the rankings. National practice areas are specialties that have a preeminent national presence within a specified legal practice and inform the Law Firm Leader survey.

Submission Process

As part of our research process, eligible firms were sent submission packets in November. This packet includes information about a firm’s eligibility as well as access to their law firm survey and the portal to provide clients and professional references. Law firms are asked to provide us with firm composition data, practicing lawyer demographics, client and professional references and other data that speaks to the strengths of a law firm’s practice areas.

Additional Feedback Analysed

Clients and professional references are asked to provide feedback on firm performance addressing six criteria: expertise, responsiveness, understanding of a business and its needs, cost-effectiveness, integrity and recommendability. References also have the option to add names of additional law firms they have worked with on other matters and within practice areas beyond those they were asked to comment on by the referring firm. Some clients choose to write a comment about their experience with the law firm. These comments are for reference only and are not used as data points in the formal evaluation process.
Additionally, as part of the foundational Best Lawyers research process, lawyers are asked to provide feedback individually and organisationally on competitors in their specific fields. Voting lawyers are asked to consider expertise, responsiveness, whether they would refer a matter to a firm and whether they consider a firm a worthy competitor.
A Law Firm Leaders Survey provides personal insight into the legal landscape surrounding the nationally ranked practice areas. We ask this group to vote on law firms that have a preeminent national presence within specified legal practice areas they know well.

Rankings by Tiers

The quantitative and qualitative data collected is combined into an overall Best Law Firms score for each firm in Australia. This data is then compared to other firms within the same geographic region and at the national level. Because firms are often separated by small differences in overall score, we use a tier system rather than ranking law firms sequentially. The first tier includes those firms that score within a certain percentage of the highest-scoring firms; the second tier those firms that score within a certain percentage of the next highest-scoring firms, and so on. National rankings are based on regional awards, the number of offices each firm has, the level of legal activity in each jurisdiction, and the direct feedback from “Law Firm Leader” interviews. The number of tiers included in each practice area ranking varies, and some specialties may not be ranked in areas where there is not enough data to provide rankings in a particular specialty.

"Law Firm of the Year"

A singular “Law Firm of the Year” recognition will be awarded in the 20 nationally ranked practice areas. Law firms receiving the “Law Firm of the Year” designation have an outstanding overall performance in that specialty. The same factors for determining national rankings also apply to these awards. Reference reviews, peer-lawyer feedback, and industry leader interviews determine the top firm in a practice area. Additionally, a firm can only win in two practice areas in a particular edition.

Award Announcement and Public Release

For more information, contact bestlawfirms@bestlawyers.com.
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