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.

We have 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.

We build long-standing relationships with our clients and work hard to attract and retain the best people. We are committed to making a difference through our work across industry sectors that matter to communities.

Russell Kennedy’s origins date back to 1857, while holding the Russell Kennedy name since 1926.

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

Our Firm Introduction


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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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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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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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.


Leadership Team

Russell Kennedy has 50 Principals (Partners) and more than 300 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 ...


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 congratulates Michael Gorton AM, Rosemary Southgate and Amy Jenkins, who have been awarded ‘Lawyer of the Year’ in the 2024 edition of Best Lawyers in Australia.

Michael and Rosemary, recipients for a third time, have been recognised in Melbourne for Health and Aged Care and Retirement Villages and Senior Living Law respectively, while Amy has been acknowledged for her expertise in Family Law in Sydney.

In addition to ‘Lawyer of the Year’ accolades, 23 lawyers have been ranked in 20 areas of law – with nine listed across multiple specialities. Of particular note, seven are listed in Real Property Law, signalling the firm’s property and development practice as a genuine industry leader.

The list of our winners is provided below.

Amy Jenkins Family Law (since 2022)
Andrew Sherman Planning & Environmental Law (since 2017), Water Law (since 2012), Land Use & Zoning Law (since 2020)
Anita Courtney Health & Aged Care Law (since 2020), Retirement Villages and Senior Living Law (since 2023)
Ben Lloyd Government Practice (since 2021)
Darren Seidl Insurance Law ( since 2022)
Donna Rayner Retirement Villages & Senior Living Law (since 2013)
Ian Pridgeon  Land Use & Zoning Law (since 2020)
John Corcoran AM Real Property Law (since 2016), Retirement Villages & Senior Living Law (since 2012), Commercial Law (since 2018)
Kathryn Elleman Retirement Villages & Senior Living Law (since 2014), Real Property Law (since 2020)
Libby Pallot Employee Benefits Law (since 2014), Occupational Health & Safety Law (since 2014)
Mark McKinley Real Property Law (2023)
Matthew Beazley Planning and Environmental Law (since 2014)
Michael Dowling Real Property Law (since 2021)
Michael Gorton AM Corporate/Governance Practice (since 2014), Health & Aged Care (since 2011), Non-Profit / Charities Law (since 2021)
Rohan Harris Corporate Law (since 2022)
Rory Maguire Mergers & Acquisitions Law (since 2022), Corporate Law (2023)
Rosemary Southgate Retirement Villages & Senior Living Law (since 2012)
Samantha Taylor Real Property Law (since 2022)
Sarah Manly  Government Practice (since 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)

View the complete Best Lawyers 2024 list here

Global Law Experts

  • Named 2017 Global Law Experts Annual Awards Winner

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

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



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

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

  • Best Provider to the Government and Community Sector

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

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

  • Aged Care Law Firm of the Year in Australia



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:
  • 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 of access and inclusion.

We are proud partners of Australian Network on Disability and in December 2019 we made our first submission to its Access and Inclusion index and are working hard to ensure we consider the needs of people with disability in all areas of our operations. This means responding to the individual needs of existing and potential employees to enable equal access to employment, training and development and the products and services we deliver to our clients and community.

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.

Workplace adjustments

Russell Kennedy has a formal Workplace Adjustment policy, to ensure that all of our people are able to use their skills and experience to contribute to the success of the firm. This includes the opportunity to participate, without discrimination in both work-related and other activities conducted within a work context.

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.

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 fifth straight year.

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

Russell Kennedy’s commitment to addressing the Gender Pay Gap

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.

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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.

RK Kaleidoscope 

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 is committed to supporting LGBTIQ inclusion measures and raising awareness at a firm and community level. Pride@RK also arranges social events as well as more significant activities such as the firm’s participation in the 2020 and 2023 Midsumma Pride March and celebration of the 2021 Mardi Gras festival.

In May 2022, Russell Kennedy was awarded gold in the small employer category of the Australian Workplace Equality Index, which is a measure of best practice in LGBTIQ inclusion measures.

The Executive Sponsor of the Pride@RK Leadership team participates in the Executive Ally Forum established by Pride in Diversity and PwC, to keep track of developments in best practice. We regularly review our policies and practices to advance and support LGBTIQ inclusion at the firm.

We have introduced a Gender Affirmation or Transition policy, including access to paid leave and guidelines for our leaders, managers and colleagues to support individuals with their gender affirmation or transition.

We have made amendments to existing policies to adopt inclusive language, which include a gender-neutral dress code and extension of parental leave policies to a broader range of family structures.

In addition, Pride@RK supports the firm to roll out initiatives such as unconscious bias training, LGBTIQ Awareness, LGBTIQ Awareness training for HR, and Ally training.

If you require any further information or would like to have a confidential conversation about Russell Kennedy’s LGBTIQ initiatives or recruitment support for transgender and gender diverse candidates please contact Leanda Nissen, Director, People and Culture on (03) 9609 1523 or via email to lnissen@rk.com.au.

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Pro Bono


Pro Bono

Russell Kennedy’s Pro Bono Practice is substantial and well established. We provide free legal services to address unmet legal need and ensure access to justice for disadvantaged people. We also strive to build capacity in the pro bono and community legal sector, providing community legal educ ...

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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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