Our-Firm-Banner-1900-x-500 

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-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 ...

View more
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 ...

View more
Map

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 ...

View more

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.

team-bg

Leadership Team

Russell Kennedy has 50 Principals (Partners) and more than 300 employees across our Melbourne and Sy ...

View more

Our Team

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

View more

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.

CCA20 Finalist_Horizontal 1

 

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 Lawyers continues to increase its recognition year on year, with 24 lawyers across 20 areas of law being acknowledged in the 2025 edition of Best Lawyers in Australia.

Anita Courtney has been recognised as Lawyer of the Year, Melbourne Retirement Villages and Senior Living Law. Anita Courtney has been consistently recognised in Melbourne for Health and Aged Care Law, Retirement Villages and Senior Living Law since 2020.

Principal, Kyle Gillan a first-time recipient, has been acknowledged in Melbourne for Government Practice, with four members of our team also being recognised for their expertise in Government Practice.

Among the 24 lawyers recognised, nine are listed across multiple specialties. Notably, six are listed in Retirement Villages and Senior Living Law, with a Russell Kennedy team member been recognised as Lawyer of the Year in 7 out of the past 8 years, highlighting the firm’s leadership in this area.

The future looks bright, with both Jack Davis and Elyn Lucas recognised as Ones to Watch.

Best Lawyers lists are compiled through thorough peer-review surveys, where tens of thousands of top lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers.

 
 Matthew Beazley (Recognized in Best Lawyers since 2014) Land Use and Zoning Law, Planning and Environmental Law
 John Corcoran AM (Recognized in Best Lawyers since 2012) Commercial Law Health and Aged Care Law Real Property Law, Retirement Villages and Senior Living Law
 Anita Courtney (Recognized in Best Lawyers since 2020) Health and Aged Care Law, Retirement Villages and Senior Living Law
 Michael Dowling (Recognized in Best Lawyers since 2021) Real Property Law
 Kathryn Elleman (Recognized in Best Lawyers since 2014) Real Property Law, Retirement Villages and Senior Living Law
 Stefan Fiedler (Recognized in Best Lawyers since 2014) Land Use and Zoning Law
 Kyle Gillan (Recognized in Best Lawyers since 2025) Government Practice
 Michael Gorton AM (Recognized in Best Lawyers since 2011) Corporate / Governance Practice, Health and Aged Care Law Non-Profit / Charities Law
 Victor Harcourt (Recognized in Best Lawyers since 2012) Government Practice, Health and Aged Care Law, Retirement Villages and Senior Living Law
 Ben Lloyd (Recognized in Best Lawyers since 2021) Government Practice
 Rory Maguire (Recognized in Best Lawyers since 2022) Commercial Law, Mergers and Acquisitions Law
 Sarah Manly (Recognized in Best Lawyers since 2020) Government Practice
 Mark McKinley (Recognized in Best Lawyers since 2023) Real Property Law
 Libby Pallot (Recognized in Best Lawyers since 2014) Employee Benefits Law
 Ian Pridgeon (Recognized in Best Lawyers since 2020) Land Use and Zoning Law
 Donna Rayner (Recognized in Best Lawyers since 2013) Retirement Villages and Senior Living Law
 Darren Seidl (Recognized in Best Lawyers since 2022) Insurance Law
 Andrew Sherman (Recognized in Best Lawyers since 2012) Land Use and Zoning Law, Planning and Environmental Law and Water Law
 Rosemary Southgate (Recognized in Best Lawyers since 2012) Real Property Law, Retirement Villages and Senior Living Law
 Samantha Taylor (Recognized in Best Lawyers since 2022) Real Property Law
 Rohan Harris (Recognized in Best Lawyers since 2022) Corporate Law
 Amy Jenkins (Recognized in Best Lawyers since 2022) Family Law
 Jack Davis (Recognized in Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Australia since 2023) Litigation
 Elyn Lucas  (Recognized in Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Australia since 2025) Insolvency and Reorganization Law

View the complete Best Lawyers 2025 list here

Global Law Experts

  • Named 2017 Global Law Experts Annual Awards Winner

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

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

    global-law-2017

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

    WGEA-logo-360-x-240
  • Michael Gorton AM a finalist in Lawyers Weekly 2016 Partner of the Year Awards for Health

    Michael-Gorton-Partner
  • Best Provider to the Government and Community Sector

    brw-client-choice-2014
  • Best Law Firm (revenue less than $50 million)

    brw-client-choice-2014
  • Best Victorian Firm and Best Provider as rated by the C – Suite categories.

    brw-client-choice-2014
  • Aged Care Law Firm of the Year in Australia

    brw-client-choice-2014

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 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.

Russell Kennedy is recognised by Australian Disability Network as a Disability Confident Recruiter employer. This status is an annual achievement and valid for 12 months from the date of issue.

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 AccessDisability Confident Recruiter 2024 Colour_DropShadow_DarkRed

Access RK and 2024 Disability Confident Recruiter logos

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.

Logo - Signatory to the Charter for the Advancement of Women VIC  Logo - Signatory to the Charter for the Advancement of Women NSW 003

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.

SPARKLE is Russell Kennedy’s network for LGBTQIA+ employees and allies. The Network promotes LGBTQIA+ inclusion measures and raises awareness at a firm and community level. SPARKLE arranges social events and activities such as the firm’s annual participation in the Melbourne Midsumma Pride March and celebration of Mardi Gras in Sydney.

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 SPARKLE Network 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 LGBTQIA+ inclusion at the firm.

The firm has a Gender Affirmation or Transition policy, which includes access to paid leave and guidelines for our leaders, managers and colleagues to support individuals with their gender affirmation or transition or that of a family member.

The firm’s workplace policies use inclusive language, and include a gender-neutral dress code and extension of parental leave policies to a range of family structures.

Russell Kennedy recognises that visible inclusion is important to creating a safe and inclusive space for LGBTQIA+ people. Rainbow lanyards and pride flag stickers are available for our staff, and we encourage the use of pronouns in email signature blocks. SPARKLE also marks LGBTQIA+ days of significance through firm-wide communications.

In addition, SPARKLE supports the firm to deliver LGBTQIA+ education and training which is available to all employees, including LGBTQIA+ Awareness Induction Training, LGBTQIA+ Awareness for People Leaders, Empowering Allies, and Unconscious Bias 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.

 

RK Lawyers Pride Sticker 60mm x 36mm FA 

 

Partnerships

Pro Bono

Pro Bono

Providing free legal services to address unmet legal need, and to ensure access to justice for disadvantaged people.

Learn more

Workplace Gender Equality Agency

We are pleased to be publicly recognised as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE). Our Gender Equality Strategy details our commitment to ensure our workplace policies support and enable gender diversity throughout the career life cycle of our employees.

Learn more

Working Flexibly

We appreciate that people’s lives are busy. To support our employees, we take an ‘all roles are flexible’ approach wherever possible.

Learn more

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 ...

Learn more