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Our Firm

Russell Kennedy Lawyers is a leading Australian law firm with offices in Melbourne and Sydney. We provide our clients with market-leading expertise, outstanding service and exceptional legal solutions.

In early 2019, Russell Kennedy (Melbourne) and Aitken Lawyers (Sydney) merged to create a 270-strong practice. This merger brings together two firms with complementary capabilities across practice areas including corporate and commercial, dispute resolution, property and development, government, aged care and retirement living, workplace relations and employment, estate planning, family law, rural services and renewable energy.

The merger strengthens our client offering, allowing us to deliver a greater depth of expertise. We build long-standing relationships with our clients and work hard to attract and retain the best people. Our two firms share similar cultures and values, and both are committed to making a difference through our work across industry sectors that matter to communities.

The two firms have long histories, both dating back more than 120 years. Russell Kennedy’s origins date back to 1857, while holding the Russell Kennedy name since 1926. Andrew Aitken is a 5th generation lawyer and firms holding the Aitken name date back more than 120 years.

For details of our board and practice group leaders visit our leadership team page.

Our Firm Introduction

our-expertise

Our Expertise

We have significant experience across our sectors of focus. We have advised clients in these sectors for many years, with our lawyers helping shape th ...

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Teamwork

Pro Bono

Our Pro Bono team primarily focuses on not-for-profit law, refugee and migration law, wills and estates, administrative law, property and development ...

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International

Russell Kennedy is an Australian-based law firm that offers a variety of commercial legal services to clients from a range of industries across many c ...

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People

Russell Kennedy's experienced team consists of lawyers that know your sector. Many of our lawyers are Accredited Specialists, and have also been acknowledged by Best Lawyers lists as the best in their field.

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Leadership Team

Russell Kennedy has 40 Principals (Partners) and more than 270 employees across our Melbourne and Sy ...

Our Team

Russell Kennedy's experienced team consists of lawyers that know your sector. Many of our lawyers a ...

Awards

Russell Kennedy AFR Client Choice Awards

Russell Kennedy has been shortlisted as a finalist for the 2020 AFR Client Choice Awards for the categories of Best Law and Related Services Firm ($0 - $50 million revenue) and Most Improved Net Promoter ScoreClient Choice Awards recognise best practice in the professional services industry and are based on clients’ votes for professional services firms in Australia and New Zealand.

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Russell Kennedy was shortlisted as one of three finalist firms nationally for the 2019 AFR Client Choice Awards in the category of Law & Related Services firm (less than $50 million turnover). 

Client Choice awards

 

Best Lawyers Australia

Russell Kennedy featured prominently in the 2020 Best Lawyers in Australia awards and rankings.

Australian Law Firm of the Year

Russell Kennedy Lawyers has been named the 2020 ‘Law Firm of the Year’ for expertise in the practice area of Retirement Villages and Senior Living Law by Best Lawyers.

Individual Listings

Property & Development Principal John Corcoran AM has been named ‘2020 Lawyer of the Year’ for Retirement Villages and Senior Living Law. This is the third consecutive year in a row that a Russell Kennedy Principal has taken out this honour, with Rosemary Southgate and Donna Rayner having done so in the previous two years.

Sixteen Russell Kennedy lawyers were ranked in sixteen areas of law – many of them for multiple areas. The list of our winners is provided below.

Andrew Chalet Biotechnology Law (since 2014), Commercial Law (since 2013)
Andrew Sherman Planning & Environmental Law (since 2017), Water Law (since 2012), Land Use & Zoning Law (2020)
Anita Courtney Health & Aged Care (2020) 
Anthony Massaro Occupational Health & Safety Law (since 2014)
Donna Rayner Retirement Villages & Senior Living Law (since 2013)
Ian Pridgeon  Land Use & Zoning Law (2020) 
John Corcoran AM Real Property Law (since 2016), Retirement Villages & Senior Living Law (since 2012), Commercial Law (since 2018)
Jos Mulcahy  Alternative Dispute Resolution (since 2019), Construction/Infrastructure Law (since 2014), Energy Law (since 2018), Government Practice (2020), Litigation (since 2011), Real Property Law (since 2017) 
Kathryn Elleman Retirement Villages & Senior Living Law (since 2014), Real Property Law (2020)
Libby Pallot Employee Benefits Law (since 2014), Occupational Health & Safety Law (since 2014)
Matthew Beazley Planning and Environmental Law (since 2014)
Michael Gorton AM Corporate/Governance Practice (since 2014), Health & Aged Care (since 2011)
Rosemary Southgate Retirement Villages & Senior Living Law (since 2012)
Sarah Manly  Government Practice (2020) 
Stefan Fiedler Land Use and Zoning Law (since 2014)
Victor Harcourt Government Practice (since 2014), Health & Aged Care (since 2012), Retirement Villages & Senior Living Law (since 2017)

All of these lawyers have been ranked in Best Lawyers before, and many of them have been now been ranked for several consecutive years.

To view the 2020 rankings and awards, click here.

Global Law Experts

  • Named 2017 Global Law Experts Annual Awards Winner

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  • Named 2017 Global Law Experts Annual Awards Winner – Aged Care Law Firm of the Year Australia

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  • Named 2017 Global Law Experts Client Choice – Local Government Law Firm of the Year Australia

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Doyles

Our featured lawyers

The full Doyle’s Guide rankings can be viewed here.

Direct Selling Australia

direct-selling-ausRussell Kennedy Lawyers has been named Partnership winner of the inaugural Direct Selling Association (DSA) Industry Awards 2017, designed to identify and promote innovations, helping companies and their teams improve operations.

Other accolades

  • Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) citation

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  • Michael Gorton AM a finalist in Lawyers Weekly 2016 Partner of the Year Awards for Health

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  • Best Provider to the Government and Community Sector

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  • Best Law Firm (revenue less than $50 million)

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  • Best Victorian Firm and Best Provider as rated by the C – Suite categories.

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  • Aged Care Law Firm of the Year in Australia

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Community

We create positive change for our community.

At Russell Kennedy, we strive to make a positive impact on the community, through our work with clients and our pro bono and charity work. Our commitment to the community and the wider good goes beyond a generic “tick the box” approach to corporate social responsibility.

It is a part of our DNA as a firm. And it is one of the main reasons people choose to work with us.

Diversity & Inclusion

We aim to create an environment at Russell Kennedy that is characterised by equal access and respected participation of all groups and individuals. This is regardless of all differences, including of culture, ethnicity, race, sex, gender identity, age, religion, personal circumstances, physical features, abilities and disabilities, socioeconomics and sexual orientation.

Russell Kennedy has a culture that embraces our people’s differences and fosters diversity and inclusion. We aim to support a culture where individuals of all backgrounds feel included and confident in bringing their whole selves to work, and where their talents are fostered, empowering them to contribute to the success of the firm.

Key initiatives

We have implemented a number of initiatives focused on accessibility for people with disabilities, LGBTIQ inclusion, and cultural diversity and inclusion. For example:

Our Diversity Committee

The Russell Kennedy Diversity Committee sets the firm's diversity and inclusion strategy and sponsors initiatives to promote diversity in the workplace. The D&I Committee is chaired by Paul Gleeson, Managing Director.
The current areas of focus for the D&I Committee:
  • LGBTIQ
  • Cultural diversity (including a Reconciliation Action Plan)
  • Accessibility for people with disability

Access RK - Access and Inclusion

We aim to create and inclusive experience for employees and customers/clients. We have a detailed access and inclusion strategy that encompasses our people, clients, community and organisations to address all aspects off access and inclusion.

Access RK Clerkship

We have established a program to ensure that we offer at least one seasonal clerkship position to a student with disability. The program provides the successful applicants the opportunity to showcase their skills and gain experience in a legal environment whilst enjoying all the benefits of the Seasonal Clerkship Program.

RK Access 

Gender Equality

Russell Kennedy recognises the importance of having a gender diverse workforce. Our Gender Equality policy links to the Gender Equality Strategy and details our commitment to ensuring our workplace policies support and enable gender diversity throughout the career life cycle of our employees.

Managing Director, Paul Gleeson was formally appointed as a WGEA Pay Equity Ambassador in 2017 and our People and Culture team manage the annual remuneration review process with pay equity at the forefront of their minds. 

Russell Kennedy Lawyers is pleased to be publically recognised as an organisation committed to gender equality by the granting of an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) citation for the third straight year.

It recognises market-leading employers who have shown an active commitment in achieving gender equality in Australian workplaces.

Russell Kennedy Women's Network (RKWN)

The RKWN creates opportunities to empower women through connection and development. We take a proactive role in promoting the growth, advancement and retention of women working in law and the wider business community.

Male Advocates for Gender Equality (MAGE)

The MAGE Committee works in partnership with the RKWN to support the firm’s gender equality initiatives, with a particular focus on what men in the workplace can do to promote equality and remove barriers for women.

Kaleidoscope - Cultural Diversity

Kaleidoscope, the Russell Kennedy Cultural Diversity Working Group, has been established to focus on cultural diversity at RK by implementing initiatives to improve opportunities for people of diverse cultural backgrounds to work at Russell Kennedy and contribute to our ever growing workplace.

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LGBTIQ inclusion

Russell Kennedy has committed to LGBTIQ inclusion through a number of initiatives. We have established Pride@RK, a network for LGBTIQ staff, allies and supporters, which arranges social events as well as more significant activities such as the firm’s participation in the Midsumma Pride March.

We participate in the Executive Ally Forum established by Pride in Diversity and pwc, to keep track of developments in best practice. We have also introduced a number of key polices (for example a Gender Affirmation or Transition policy) and contributed to amendments to existing policies (such as a gender neutral dress code, and parental leave policies which extend to a broader range of family structures).

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Partnerships

Pro Bono

Pro Bono

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Workplace Gender Equality Agency

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Working Flexibly

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Russell Kennedy Women’s Network

The Russell Kennedy Women's Network (RKWN) creates opportunities to empower women through connection and development. Our committee promotes the growth, advancement and retention of women working in l ...

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