Make The Move: Working as a Lawyer in Melbourne

Written By:
Cecilya Amorim
Marketing Executive

As the second largest city in Australia, Melbourne’s population is the biggest, with more Australians and ex-pats moving there to discover the various luxuries that the city has to offer.    

If you’re a lawyer looking for a fresh opportunity with the lifestyle benefits to match, here’s why Melbourne should be on your radar...  


Melbourne offers a unique and exciting blend of urban sophistication and laid-back charm. Known for its diverse and vibrant culture, food scene, and outdoor living.

Melbourne has a quirky side too. Many of the city’s most fabulous boutiques, markets, and street art paintings are hidden down narrow, winding laneways, ready for you to explore. Both in the city and throughout rural Victoria, markets sell everything from fresh produce to art and craft to second-hand goods.  

Melbourne held the top spot on the Economists Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Rankings for seven years until Vienna took first place in 2018. Nevertheless, in 2022, Melbourne was ranked as the tenth-best city in the world to live in, remaining Australia’s highest-ranked city.    

A 2018 study by Time Out magazine revealed that 92% of citizens enjoy living in Melbourne. With over 50% of the city’s residents born overseas, the city is a melting pot of cultures and very welcoming to ex-pats.  

Read here to discover what Melbourne’s ex-pats have to say:  

Sporting Capital

Melbourne is often referred to the “Sporting Capital of the World”. The city has a rich sporting heritage and offers a wide range of sporting activities and events for both participants and spectators throughout the year. Some major sports and events include, Australian Football League (AFL), Cricket, Australian Open, Melbourne Cup, Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, rugby and soccer.  

Source: Australia Open

Coffee Culture

Discussing the Melbourne lifestyle would only be complete by dedicating a section to the Melbourne coffee culture.  

Melbourne is known for being home to some of the best coffee in the world, and its roasters and baristas are among the most skilled and creative.    

Melbourne’s coffee culture pays tribute to the traditional bean while introducing new coffee preparation methods, such as pour-over and siphon to cold-drip coffee.    

Some of the best coffee shops in the city are ST ALi, Seven Seeds, and Market Lane.  


Melbourne’s climate can generally be described as a temperate oceanic climate with mild to cool winters and warm to hot summers.  

Melbourne is known for, at times, experiencing all four seasons in one day due to its temperature fluctuations, so it is recommended to check the forecast regularly.  

During warm summers, Melbourne’s beaches and parks are known to entertain locals looking for a swim, picnic, and sports such as beach tennis, volleyball and cricket.    

While during the winter, the Victorian Snowfields are the place to go for those looking to hit the slopes and watch the breathtaking Victorian High-Country sunset.    

Cost of Living

While Melbourne is known for being one of the most liveable cities in the world, the cost of living in the city can vary depending on one’s circumstances and desire to live in particular areas. However, as a lawyer, you will be able to enjoy the best of what Melbourne has to offer.  

Melbourne’s cost of living is 10% cheaper than Sydney, 28% more affordable than London, and 42% less expensive than New York’s.    

Location & Transport

Melbourne has a well-connected and efficient transportation system that includes various modes of transport.    

Trams run throughout the city centre, providing easy access to many popular attractions. In 2013 the Art Trams project was launched as a collaboration between the Melbourne International Arts Festival and local artists.    

Other popular transportation methods include train services, which have an extensive network, with frequent services connecting the city with its suburbs and regional areas.    

Overall, Melbourne’s transportation system offers a range of options to suit different needs and budgets, making it easy to explore the city and its surroundings.  

Source: Visit Melbourne

Legal Market Intel

The legal market in Melbourne is highly competitive, with many firms vying for work across a range of practice areas. Some of the most active practice areas of legal work in Melbourne include Energy, Projects, Employment, Competition and Commercial Litigation.  

The market is also influenced by the city’s status as a financial and commercial hub, with many firms specialising in banking and finance law, mergers and acquisitions, and capital markets. In recent years, there has been a trend towards specialisation and differentiation among law firms in Melbourne, with some firms choosing to focus on niche practice areas in order to stand out from the competition.  

Some of the top law firms in Melbourne included:  

  1. Allens  
  1. Clayton Utz  
  1. Herbert Smith Freehills  
  1. King & Wood Mallesons  
  1. MinterEllison  

In addition to these large international firms, there were also a number of mid-sized and boutique firms that focused on specific areas of law, such as intellectual property or employment law.  

In terms of practice areas, the Melbourne legal market is diverse, with firms specialising in a wide range of fields such as banking and finance, commercial law, construction law, dispute resolution, employment law, family law, intellectual property, and property law.  

There was also significant activity in the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) space, with many firms advising on transactions in various industries, including healthcare, technology, and resources.  

Overall, the Melbourne legal market is dynamic and competitive, with firms focused on delivering high-quality legal services to clients in a range of industries and practice areas.  

With many prominent companies listed on the ASX including, BHP group, CSL, ANZ banking group, and Telstra to name a few, lawyers here have access to both exciting and challenging work. In 2021 international law firms, HSF, Baker McKenzie and Ashurst, established new office spaces in the city as a result of demand. This year, despite a slower market, firms continue to be on the lookout for talent to service prominent and emerging practice areas.  
Work aside, Melbourne is also renowned for the emphasis it places on work/life balance and there are many ways you can unwind after a long day in office. From beaches, to shopping, restaurants and sporting events, there is always something new to be explored.’ - Matt Mayes (Melbourne Consultant)  

Are you interested to learn more about working as a lawyer in Melbourne?  

Talented Australian and New Zealand lawyers can enjoy great success in Melbourne. If you are a foreign-qualified lawyer interested in exploring this market get in touch to discuss your visa options. We have helped multiple overseas lawyers to make the move to Melbourne.

For a no-obligation discussion about the next steps in your legal career and to see what opportunities we have available in Melbourne, get in touch with one of our expert consultants at