The best business lawyers in Canberra

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Massimo Di Maio

MV Law’s special counsel Massimo Di Maio, one of Canberra’s most recommended business law experts. Photo: MV Law.

It’s no secret that running a business can be complicated, time-consuming and sometimes overwhelming. Dealing with staff, balancing the books and keeping customers happy is challenging enough when everything is running smoothly.

Introduce a legal issue, like being sued by a former employee, negotiating the sale of your company or accidentally setting up the wrong kind of business structure, and it’s easy to see why most businesses call in professional assistance.

This is exactly where a business lawyer can help. A skilled business lawyer is an expert in all facets of business law, and can ensure you’re not just operating within the confines of the law, but also thriving.

In this article, we’ll outline the qualities that make a great business lawyer and share where to find the best in Canberra.

What makes a great business lawyer?

If you’re like most business owners, your business is your livelihood. So it makes sense to choose a business lawyer that you can trust and has your best interests at heart.

We recommend considering the following when choosing a business lawyer:

  • Business law expertise. Your chosen law firm should have a dedicated business lawyer, or business law team. Specialist business lawyers have deep knowledge of the rights and obligations of business owners, as well as business law, which means they’re more likely to be thorough and get you the outcome you desire.
  • Honest and upfront attitude. Read testimonials or talk to former clients to confirm that your chosen lawyer is upfront and honest about your options. It’s better to be realistic than to be disappointed when your lawyer can’t deliver on their promises.
  • Compassion. While commercial issues aren’t always as emotionally-wrenching as other types of legal issues, the process can still be exhausting. The best business lawyers are compassionate and understand the emotional toll that any type of demanding legal situation can take.
  • Fast-acting. Some legal matters are urgent, while strict time limits apply to others. If this is the case for you, or you just want to be sure that deadlines will be met, look for an employment lawyer who is proactive and responsive.
  • Thorough. Attention to detail is a key trait in a good business lawyer. They need to know the ins and outs of your situation as well as the nuances and complexities of employment laws and employee rights.

The best business lawyers in Canberra

Riotact’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on Riotact and maintain a minimum average of 4/5 stars on both Google and Facebook reviews.

BAL Lawyers

If you appreciate clear, honest communication and a stress-free legal experience, BAL Lawyers could be the law firm for you. Working alongside your accounting and taxation advisors, its experienced business and corporate lawyers deliver commercial strategies and alternative options in business structuring and general business activities.

Whether you need assistance drafting a contract, forming a business or representing your best interests in the event of a contractual dispute, BAL Lawyers has the skills and knowledge to help.

BAL Lawyers also has a long-standing appointment on the Australian Government’s Legal Services Panel for Corporate and Commercial Law, and is identified as a qualified provider of Procurement and Tendering legal services for Commonwealth agencies.

As Nuaa Peerlink wrote on Google, "Excellent advice, timely, detailed and flexible. BAL have helped us with commercial leases, governance systems and general advice. Highly satisfied. Reasonably priced. Good work!"

Snedden Hall & Gallop

Snedden Hall & Gallop offers exemplary legal services for businesses. There are so many legal considerations to running a small-to-medium-sized business – from structuring your business, to assisting with running your business to your exit plans, they can help you get started, maintain your business and achieve success.

Emily Shoemark is an accredited Succession Plus adviser and works with business clients to help them determine the value of their business and develop a succession plan to maximise that value.

As experts in business law – and with extensive business-specific experience – Snedden Hall & Gallop’s lawyers listen to their clients’ needs and then use their vast experience to help minimise risks, solve problems and keep businesses running smoothly.

As Rob C wrote on Google, "Emily is a gun. Great practical business advice that helped a lot."

MV Law

As Canberra's largest independent law firm, MV Law works with businesses at every stage, from those just starting out to those preparing to wind down operations. With core values of trust, integrity, respect, and passion, you can rest easy knowing you are getting some of the best professional legal advice in the region.

Its business lawyers are specialists in their field and passionate about building long-term relationships that support your business goals. They know Canberra inside and out, and have years of experience dealing with legal issues relating to some of the ACT's biggest employers: Commonwealth and ACT Government, national institutions, foreign embassies, education institutions, hospitals, and property and construction. The team’s stellar qualifications speak for themselves – four of MV Law’s expert lawyers have recently been recognised amongst the best in the country, named in The Best Lawyers in Australia 2021 List.

As Greg Balding writes in their Google review, "They were very helpful especially in these days of Covid-19. Did what I done efficiently and were very helpful and friendly."

Baker Deane & Nutt

In operation for over 150 years, Baker Deane & Nutt (BDN) is the oldest law firm in the Canberra region. With so much experience, you can trust its team to help you make crucial decisions about business law in the ACT and NSW.

BDN Lawyers' commercial law practitioners can assist with all aspects of commercial and business law including leasing, buying and selling businesses, shareholder agreements, company structures and commercial litigation.

Happy client Aluform Interior Supplies shared its experience with BDN Lawyers in a website testimonial: "The service provided by Baker Deane & Nutt over the many years that we have dealt with the firm has been of an exceptional standard. We have greatly appreciated their attention to detail, timely response and personal level of commitment from Tanya Nadin."


Want to work with a law firm that does things a little differently? Chamberlains' experienced, innovative, and enthusiastic team can help. Familiar with the ins and outs of business law, you can be confident that you'll achieve your desired outcomes without the stress or headache.

Chamberlains claims that once you switch to its industry-leading services, you’ll never look back.

If you’re looking for more legal services for your business in Canberra, you might like our articles on the best law firms, the best commercial lawyers, and the best employment lawyers Canberra has to offer. If you’re seeking an alternative you might like our article on the best mediation and conflict resolution services in Canberra.

Your experience with business lawyers in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you had experience with any of the business lawyers listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do business lawyers do?

Business lawyers provide legal counsel on the operations of, and regulations impacting businesses. Generally, this guidance assists with resolving business issues and mitigating business risks as governed by the law.

What is the difference between a corporate lawyer and a business lawyer?

In general terms, the main difference between corporate lawyers and business lawyers is the area of the law in which the specialise. Corporate lawyers tend to deal with the governance and regulation of business including things like mergers or acquisitions, corporate restructuring and finance, insolvency, and litigation. Commercial lawyers on the other hand focus on transactional matters and those arising from commercial trading, such as competition and consumer law, contracts and labour law, intellectual property, or international trade.

What qualifications should a business lawyer have in Australia?

Law is an incredibly complex field, requiring years of tertiary study. Following a degree, all lawyers are required to gain formal admission to the profession by the Supreme Court of the ACT. Additionally, they require a practising certificate as issued by the Law Society.

Why would I need a business lawyer?

For many, business lawyers are an integral part of running a successful business. They can help protect your business, your rights along with those of your staff and customers, mitigate risks, and help you make better business decisions. Their counsel is often sought when starting or winding up a business, creating contracts, handling mergers or acquisitions, for compliance and risk management, and for resolving any business disputes, claims, or issues.

What hourly rates do business lawyers charge?

Whilst varied structures exist for legal charges, many include an hourly rate, that is a charge based on the amount of time spent working on a matter. A junior lawyer may charge from $200 to $350 per hour while a senior partner of principal may charge upwards of $700 per hour. Understanding how your business lawyer charges will help determine costs, so ensure you are well versed with all charges.

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