8667.0 - Legal Services, Australia, 2007-08 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/06/2009   
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Income size range

Sources of fee income



At the end of June 2008, there were 11,244 other legal services businesses, which:

  • employed 84,921 persons
  • generated income of $15.2b during the 2007-08 financial year
  • incurred expenses of $10.6b in the same period.

These businesses included solicitor firms, patent attorney businesses, service/payroll entities and businesses providing various legal support services. Unincorporated businesses represented 65.4% (or 7,530) of total other legal services businesses, whereas incorporated businesses represented 20.1% (or 2,264). The remaining 14.5% (or 1,630) of businesses were trusts.


There were 84,921 persons employed in other legal services at the end of June 2008. Of these employed persons, 16.3% (or 13,882 persons) were working proprietors and partners of unincorporated businesses and 6.4% (or 5,424 persons) were principals/directors of incorporated businesses. Other employees accounted for the remaining 77.3% (or 65,614 persons) of total employment.

Of these 11,244 other legal services businesses, 78.2% (or 8,795) were located in capital cities. These capital city businesses accounted for 81.1% (or 68,828) of all persons employed in other legal services and 87.6% (or $12.9b) of fee income from the provision of legal and legal support services. INCOME SIZE RANGE

While those other legal services businesses which generated income of $25 million or more in the 2007-08 financial year represented only 0.5% (or 55) of all other legal services businesses, they accounted for 26.1% (or 22,164) of total employment, and generated 38.2% (or $5.8b) of total income.

Fee income from the provision of legal services constituted 83.3% ($12.7b) of the total income generated by other legal services businesses in the 2007-08 financial year. Fee income from the provision of legal support services made up 7.7% ($1.2b), and disbursements recovered 5.6% ($0.9b) of total income.

As the graph below shows, other legal services businesses derived 33.6% (or $4.3b) of their fee income from commercial law and 18.9% (or $2.4b) of their fee income from property law. Across all fields of work, mediation and arbitration generated 5.5% (or $0.7b) of fee income, and cases conducted on a no-win/no-fee basis 3.2% (or $0.4b).

Sources of fee income(a), Other legal services
Graph: Sources of fee income(a), Other legal services


The graph below shows that labour costs accounted for 43.7% (or $4.6b) of total expenses incurred by other legal services businesses. Payments for legal and legal support services accounted for 20.3% (or $2.2b).

Expenses(a), Other legal services
Graph: Expenses(a), Other legal services