The best employment lawyers in Canberra

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Emily Shoemark, Snedden Hall & Gallop

Emily Shoemark is a Director specialising in business services and employment law at Snedden Hall & Gallop. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

If you’re like most Canberrans, it’s probably safe to assume you’d like your workplace to be supportive, safe, and compliant with all relevant aspects of employment law. Given you are here, you may know all too well that there is good reason for employment law to exist.

Perhaps you are a business owner seeking to dissolve a partnership, or an employee of a multinational frustrated by the grounds of your termination. Regardless of your circumstance, you may be finding the path of resolution more cumbersome than anticipated. After all, employment law is as vast as it is complex.

Dealing with many facets of the workplace, it spans both employers and their employees and their relationship therein. It addresses equal opportunity and discrimination; entitlements and claims; along with health and safety. Furthermore, it covers performance and practise along with entry contracts and exit agreements.

Understanding each of these facets can be a complete minefield. With plenty of reasons to seek legal advice a great employment lawyer can help. An employment lawyer specialises in employment law, managing workplace related disputes that affect the employer-employee relationship.

Engaging an employment law firm can be a daunting task, even for the initiated! So what qualities should you look for in an employment lawyer, and where can you find the best in Canberra? Read on to find out.

What makes a great employment lawyer?

The best employment lawyers promote healthy workplace relationships. In doing so they reduce risks and mitigate legal issues for both employees and organisations. Finding the right employment lawyer can be challenging so here are out tips on what to look out for:

  • Qualified & experienced. 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. That said, qualifications are paper thin without some hard-earned experience. The best employment lawyers have years of experience and the case history to prove it.
  • Specialised expertise. In the case of employment law, the needs of employers tend to be vastly different to those of employees. As such, finding an employment lawyer that specialises in your area of need is important. It will ensure they have the depth of knowledge to understand the legal frameworks – and the breadth of experience to advise accordingly.
  • Reputable. While being hard to earn, a good reputation does spread quickly. Reputable lawyers are known for being leaders in their field, ensuring you will receive considered advice. Moreover, the best employment lawyers often come recommended. As such, seek out those employment lawyers with reputable backing. Speak to colleagues, friends and family, other lawyers, even do some research and soon enough you will find a list of the most reputable lawyers in town.
  • Compassionate. The best employment lawyers are emotionally intelligent, empathetic, and are deeply compassionate. Being able to step into another’s metaphorical shoe allows a lawyer to perceive a client’s problem authentically. Thus in doing so presenting a genuine desire to resolve it. With this in mind seek a lawyer that understands your position and is prepared to give their all to support it.
  • Assertive. Assertive employment lawyers can state their position and ensure they are heard – all whilst remaining respectful of others. This quality is an effective yet diplomatic communication style as it helps to develop mutual respect between parties. With this comes the ability to work more efficiently towards the best possible outcome.

The best employment 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.

Snedden Hall & Gallop

As one of Canberra’s oldest law firms Snedden Hall & Gallop have built an enviable reputation that spans almost sixty years. Their experience, personal, and dependable team are exemplary practitioners who are there for their clients in the best - and the worst of times.

Snedden Hall & Gallop boasts an experienced and specialist employment law team. Headed by Emily Shoemark, this team manages individual and organisational clients with their workplace relations needs.

As a local independent business, Snedden Hall & Gallop understand what it takes to manage an organisation in today’s climate. Many local Canberra businesses have sought their counsel over years, and even decades.

For businesses, they adopt a partnership approach, effectively fostering bilateral relations throughout the business life cycle. They assist business owners with the development, implementation, and maintenance of workplace employment structures. Ultimately, leaving them free to focus on running their businesses.

Employment law services for businesses include the engagement of employees, management of the workforce, succession planning, and resolution of disputes or complaints. Additionally, they approved auditors who can assist with the certification process for Secure Local Jobs.

Snedden Hall & Gallop understand the importance of establishing the right workplace relations framework and evolving it over time. They also understand industry specific requirements; and can navigate across these to minimise the risk of workplace disputes arising.

For employees; their legal offering services complaints regarding contracts, misconduct, and termination, as well as numerous workplace disputes. They are well versed with the complexities of employment law and are ready to provide advice on rights and entitlements.

Donna Cringle wrote on Google, “My family has worked with Snedden Hall & Gallop 3 times over the last 10 years for different family members. Each time they were very professional and looked after each of us.

BAL Lawyers

BAL Lawyers have built a formidable reputation founded on the dedication and experience of their preeminent lawyers. They have a depth and breadth of expertise which specialisations spanning numerous facets of the legal landscape and of course employment law.

Their legal teams are comprised of some of the best lawyers in the region who are dedicated to serving their clients with efficiency and integrity, delivering the highest standards of performance.

BAL’s employment law and investigations team believe that people are an organisation's greatest asset. They offer services which ensure workplace relations are established correctly – and kept that way to ensure that both individuals and businesses thrive.

Whether it’s the development of proactive solutions, investigations into workplace matters, or dispute resolution, you can rest assured knowing you have some of the best employment lawyers by your side.

David Bibo shared his positive experience on Google, “Outstanding, professional, empathetic advice culminating in a successful outcome.”

MV Law

With over forty-years of service; MV Law operate with the experience of a top tier national firm - but with insight of the unique legal landscape of Canberra. They know the local region inside out; and have amassed years of experience dealing with employment issues from some of the ACT’s largest employers. Moreover, they are proud to have advised government at commonwealth, state, and territory levels.

Their team of talented legal practitioners provide personal and commercial advice going well above legal guidance, doing whatever it takes to deliver breakthrough results for every client. MV Law’s employment lawyers are specialists in their field and are passionate about helping people safeguard their rights. They frequently represent clients in the Fair Work Commission, Human Rights Commission, and Federal Courts across all manner of employment law disputes and claims.

MV Law are well versed in individual aspects of employment law. Whether it be termination including adverse action, unfair dismissal or redundancy; award or contract entitlements; discrimination or harassment; their team are able to advise throughout and protect your interests. Additional aspects include performance management, investigations, and commencing or exiting a working relationship.

The team’s stellar qualifications speak for themselves, with four of MV Law’s staff being recognised amongst the best in the country as named in The Best Lawyers in Australia 2021 list. With a reputation founded on exceptional people delivering exceptional services you are sure to be in safe hands with MV Law.

As Michelle Chou writes in her Google review, "Reliable law firm, very professional and efficient. Saved lots of my time."

BDN Lawyers

Having accumulated a wealth of experience over their 150-year heritage; full-service law firm BDN Lawyers are well placed to assist with employment law needs across ACT and NSW jurisdictions.

The team at BDN Lawyers draw their success to the expertise of their lawyers, as well as their enduring client relationships. They pride themselves on being accessible, responsive, and innovative, with a strong results orientation. This ensures their clientele receive swift and efficient legal services enabling them to make crucial decisions about employment and workplace law.

BDN Lawyers appreciates that employment law is incredibly complex. The also understand the inherent power imbalance between employer and employee; and how daunting it can be for an employee to experience a dispute with their employer.

Working with BDN Lawyers sees the benefits of years of experience, a trusted reputation, and a commitment to achieving the best outcome.

Ben Day shared this glowing review on Google, Absolutely hands down the best lawyers in the business. Compassion, empathy and understanding. Professionals to the highest degree. I will never use anyone but Baker Dean and Nutt again. Shout out to my solicitor Claire. You’re the best !!!!”


Chamberlains adopt a fresh approach to law, with an ethos that attracts creative, highly specialised, problem solvers and deal makers who also happen to be exemplary lawyers.

They understand that workplace matters can consume both time and energy, making it costly and unpleasant for employees and employers alike. They strive to limit the escalation of issues and forge agreeable solutions which allow all parties to move forward quickly. That said, they are also ready to pursue litigation where necessary ensuring your best interests.

Anne O’Connor had this to say about Chamberlains on Facebook, “It’s a wonderful, honest, fair Law Firm”.

If you’re looking for more information on legal services in Canberra, you might like our article on the best law firms, or perhaps this article on the best commercial lawyers Canberra has to offer.

Your experience with employment 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 employment lawyers listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an employment lawyer?

An employment lawyer offers specialist legal guidance on workplace law, matters pertaining to the workplace, and relationships between employers and employees. Employment law is a complex area that is as vast as it is varied, and employment lawyers are best placed to advise on legal rights and the way in which to ensure these are addressed.

What hourly rates do employment lawyers charge?

Generally, the hourly rate for an employment lawyer can range from approximately $300 to $700 and upwards per hour. That said, not all employment lawyers bill on an hourly rate. Always review the payment structure for your employment lawyer to understand how they charge, and any additional billable components therein.

What does the Fair Work Act address?

The Fair Work Act 2009 is a core legislative piece that regulates employment and workplace relations. It states terms and conditions of employment, along with the rights and responsibilities of employers, employees, and employee organisations in relation to employment.

What is the Fair Work Ombudsman?

The Fair Work Ombudsman is an independent government agency which was set up enforce compliance with the Fair Work Act 2009, related legislation, awards, and agreements. The Fair Work Ombudsman also provides educative services around fair work practices, rights, and obligations. Similarly, it can provide additional information about the workplace relations system.

What is the Fair Work Commission?

The Fair Work Commission is an independent body that acts as Australia’s national workplace tribunal. It performs a range of functions from the setting of minimum conditions, making workplace determinations, to mediating and resolving individual or collective workplace disputes.

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