Top 20 Legal Aid Fee Earning Law Firms in NSW

by Sydney Criminal Lawyers

Private law firms play an important role in assisting those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds to access the family law and criminal justice systems, by undertaking work for free or at a reduced rate under programs such as the Law Society’s Pro Bono Scheme and Legal Aid case assignments.

While lawyers employed by the Legal Aid Commission regularly represent clients in all levels of the criminal court hierarchy, the Commission also assigns legally aided clients to private lawyers in certain situations.

In those circumstances, the Commission pays private lawyers a reduced rate to undertake the work.

Several private lawyers also undertake ‘Legal Aid duty work’ in the criminal courts, often representing large numbers of clients who are attending their first court dates, for a set daily fee.

Many of those clients will formally apply for legal aid grants and be refused, and for many firms, this duty work represents a rich source of income – as defendants who are ultimately refused legal aid grants will often pay the firms the represent them privately.

Legal Aid funding crisis

But it’s important to recognise that the funds available to the Legal Aid Commission are extremely limited.

In fact, it has been reported that due to funding shortfalls for public legal services, at least 45,000 people per year are left to represent themselves in court after being unable to secure legal help from community legal centres, pro bono avenues and legal aid grants.

Your right to know

The Legal Aid Commission is funded by you, the taxpayer, and you have a right to know where your hard-earned dollars are going.

The distribution of Legal Aid funds is outlined in the Commission’s annual reports, which provide detailed breakdowns of both revenue and expenditure.

Here are the private law firms in our state which, according to the Commission, have earned the most money from Legal Aid in recent years.

2017 to 2018

Private law firm expenditure

Based on payments made for case and duty services during 2017–2018

Top 20 earning firms
Firm Name Case payments

$

Number of case files

on which payments

made

Duty payments

$

Number of duty

services provided

Total amount paid*

$

1 MALLINSON RAKE LAWYERS PTY LIMITED $898,407

 

203

 

$888,835

 

2 ROSS HILL & ASSOCIATES SOLICITORS $869,531

 

109

 

$862,874
3 GEORGE STEN & CO SOLICITORS $663,415 87

 

$842,357
4 NYMAN GIBSON MIRALIS (SYDNEY) $642,647

 

85

 

$697,520

 

5 O’BRIEN SOLICITORS $662,391 212

 

$54,000

 

442

 

$691,044

 

6 OXFORD LAWYERS PTY LTD $627,100

 

137

 

$666,428

 

7 ZAHR & ZAHR LAWYERS $623,514

 

43 $620,623

 

8 MATOUK JOYNER LAWYERS $542,791

 

65 $617,048

 

9 RAMSLAND LAIDLER $501,401

 

181

 

$34,163

 

339

 

$614,685

 

10 TIM MARA SOLICITOR WITH RAFTON

FAMILY LAWYERS PARRAMATTA

$577,285

 

339

 

$31,250

 

113

 

$613,465

 

11 SCOTT MACKENZIE LAWYERS $575,686

 

212

 

$42,584

 

450

 

$582,111

 

12 ARCHBOLD LEGAL SOLUTIONS $572,951

 

123 $581,748

 

13 BANNISTERS LAWYERS $543,845

 

113 $572,808

 

14 BLAIR CRIMINAL LAWYERS PTY LIMITED $562,962

 

155 $558,224

 

15 GREGORY J GOOLD $420,998

 

19 $552,270

 

16 DOUGLASS & FORD CRIMINAL LAW $513,435

 

245

 

$70,525

 

506

 

$527,558

 

17 RICE MORE & GIBSON $480,707

 

143 $15,775

 

70 $526,935

 

18 KATSOOLIS & CO $487,797

 

54 $526,815

 

19 VOROS LAWYERS $476,913

 

126 $34,713

 

247 $522,699

 

20 MORRISONS LAW GROUP $367,086

 

191 $13,925

 

139 $514,283

 

 

2016 to 2017

Expenditure across the private law firms which received the highest aggregate payments for legal aid services 2016–2017

Firm Name Case payments $ Number of case files on which payments made Duty payments $ Number of duty services provided

 

Total amount paid* $

 

1 BANNISTERS LAWYERS $898,407

 

124

 

$898,407

 

2 ARCHBOLD LEGAL SOLUTIONS $869,531

 

85

 

$869,531

 

3 TIM MARA SOLICITOR WITH RAFTON FAMILY LAWYERS PARRAMATTA

 

$663,415

 

363

 

$23,375

 

84

 

$686,790

 

4 O’BRIEN SOLICITORS $642,647

 

142

 

$31,475

 

266

 

$674,122

 

5 MATOUK JOYNER LAWYERS $662,391

 

70

 

$662,391

 

6 JEFFREYS LAWYERS $627,100

 

39 $627,100

 

7 BLAIR CRIMINAL LAWYERS PTY LIMITED $623,514

 

119

 

$623,514

 

8 SCOTT MURRELL LAWYERS $542,791

 

161

 

$43,278

 

397

 

$586,069

 

9 HAMMOND SOLICITORS $501,401

 

130

 

$79,425

 

656

 

$580,826

 

10 GEORGE STEN & CO SOLICITORS $577,285

 

94

 

$577,285

 

11 OXFORD LAWYERS PTY LTD $575,686

 

103

 

$575,686

 

12 MARK RUMORE $572,951

 

89 $975

 

13

 

$573,926

 

13 GRAEME MORRISON $543,845

 

207

 

$20,100

 

213 $563,945

 

14 NYMAN GIBSON MIRALIS (SYDNEY) $562,962

 

92 $562,962

 

15 RYAN & PAYTEN CRIMINAL LAW SPECIALISTS $420,998

 

102 $101,000

 

728

 

$521,998

 

16 ZAHR & ZAHR LAWYERS $513,435

 

44

 

$513,435

 

17 RAMSLAND LAIDLER $480,707

 

166

 

$31,288

 

339

 

$511,994

 

18 KIDMAN LEGAL $487,797

 

1 $487,797

 

19 MARK WHELAN LAWYER PTY LIMITED $476,913

 

167

 

$5,038

 

11 $481,950

 

20 O’BRIEN WINTER PARTNERS PTY LTD $367,086

 

228

 

$111,463

 

1,170

 

$478,549

 

 

2015 to 2016

Expenditure across the private law firms which received the highest aggregate payments for legal aid services 2015–2016.

Firm Name Case payments $ Number of case files on which payments made Duty payments $ Number of duty services provided

 

Total amount paid $

 

1 Archbold Legal Solutions $1,050,660 72 $1,050,660

 

2 Bannisters Lawyers $980,647

 

95 $980,647

 

3 Hadden Kemp Solicitors Pty Ltd $856,024

 

475

 

$89,231

 

608 $945,255

 

4 George Sten & Co Solicitors $801,112

 

74

 

$801,112

 

5 Blair Criminal Lawyers Pty Limited $744,765

 

174

 

$744,765

 

6 Scott Murrell Lawyers $669,550

 

224 $48,158

 

475 $717,708

 

7 Tim Mara Solicitor with Rafton Family Lawyers Parramatta $684,839

 

349 $20,688

 

72 $705,527

 

8 Matouk Joyner Lawyers $638,887

 

71

 

$638,887

 

9 Blue Water Legal $608,459

 

173 $29,288

 

242 $637,747

 

10 Sydney Criminal & Traffic Lawyers $599,721

 

62 $1,275

 

16 $600,996

 

11 Zahr & Zahr Lawyers $600,313

 

37 $600,313

 

12 O’Brien Winter Partners Pty Ltd $461,315

 

261

 

$135,638

 

1,219

 

$596,952

 

13 Oxford Lawyers Pty Ltd $580,921

 

120 $580,921

 

14 Sydney Criminal Lawyers $550,445

 

71 $300 1 $550,745

 

15 Hallak Lawyers $550,274

 

30 $550,274

 

16 O’Brien Solicitors $501,445

 

130 $47,550

 

467

 

$548,995

 

17 Verekers Wollongong Lawyers $500,340

 

184 $4,800

 

21 $505,140

 

18 Ramsland Graham Solicitors $473,243

 

108 $28,913

 

344 $502,155

 

19 Phillip Ryan $405,712

 

105 $86,088

 

765 $491,799

 

20 Randall Legal $473,808

 

111 $17,625

 

224 $491,433

 

 

Author

Sydney Criminal Lawyers

Sydney Criminal Lawyers® is Australia's Leading Criminal Defence firm, Delivering Outstanding Results in all Criminal and Driving cases. Going to Court? Call (02) 9261 8881 for a Free Consultation.

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