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5 The Best Criminal Lawyers in Melbourne You Should Get in Touch With

When it comes to finding a solicitor to defend you in the courtroom, you want to ensure that you have the best criminal lawyer in Melbourne. Now, it’s no secret that hiring a solicitor can be a costly endeavour; however, if it’s the difference between you being convicted of a serious crime or remaining a free citizen, then odds are you’ll choose the latter. So, the real question is “what makes a great solicitor?” What attributes do you need to be looking for? How important is a solicitor’s win/loss record? How competitive is their pricing policy? Can I get effective representation from a cheaper option offering the same services? Naturally, there is a lot you need to be thinking about when it comes to assessing the best criminal lawyers in Melbourne.

best crmininal laweyrs in Melbourne

The best thing you can do is research. Get educated about the legal system, what your prospective solicitor can do for you and the specifics of the crime you have been charged with. The most important thing is to not lose hope and always stay positive. So, if you need one of the best criminal lawyers in Melbourne, read on to find out who the big players are in the industry and why you need them in your corner.

Who are the Best Criminal Law Firms in Melbourne?

Here are the top 5 criminal solicitors you should get in touch:

No.: Law Firm: Lawyer: Website:
1 MK Law Michael Kuzilny
2 Papa Hughes Lawyers Andrew Papadimitropoulos
3 Pica Criminal Lawyers Stephen Pica
4 Galbally Rolfe Galbally Rolfe
5 Bayside Solicitors James Dracopoulos

The top and leading criminal law firms in Melbourne in 2019 are:

1. MK Law – top lawyer: Michael Kuzilny

Michael Kuzilny
Michael Kuzilny

Michael Kuzilny is the director of MK LAW Australia. Michael is a Barrister & Solicitor and has achieved a Bachelor of Laws with Honours.  Max Markson recently described Michael as “Australia’s favourite Legal Eagle”. With more than 30 years of solid court experience,  hundreds of 5 star reviews,  and multiple legal  awards  MK LAW have successfully progressed to be the “go to Lawyers” when you or a loved one are charged with a Traffic or Criminal Charge.

2. Papa Hughes Lawyers – top lawyer: Andrew Papadimitropoulos

Papa Hughes Lawyers as Best Criminal Lawyers in Melbourne
Andrew Papadimitropoulos

Papa Hughes is a legal firm that specialises in criminal law. They focus on their clients and provide defences for all types of offences. The company’s principal lawyer, Andrew Papadimitropoulous is one of the best criminal lawyers in Melbourne, with over 20 years of experience in this area. The Papa Hughes team are incredibly adept at handling complex trials in the Supreme Court of Victoria, including plea bargains, bail applications and contested hearings.

3. Pica Criminal Lawyers – top lawyer: Stephen Pica

Pica Criminal Lawyers is a highly experienced firm that features some of the best criminal lawyers in Melbourne. Stephen Pica, the firm’s founder, has been practising as both a solicitor and barrister in Victoria since 1983 and has appeared in some interstate cases as well. He has acted in all courts, from the Children’s court all the way to the High Court of Australia. Pica Criminal Lawyers offers 24 hour emergency legal services, and is on the Victoria Legal Aid Panel.

4. Galbally Rolfe – Galbally Rolfe

Galbally Rolfe best criminal law firm from Melbourne
Galbally Rolfe

Galbally Rolfe is the oldest firm of criminal lawyers in Melbourne. Having been founded in 1976, the firm has over 50 years of experience, while placing a lot of emphasis on adapting to the changing demands and trends of the market (social, technological and legal change). Not only that, the firm has worked in a number of prominent legal matters, including the recent “Lawyer X” scandal that has rocked the nation. The firm is driven by its mission to fight for individual freedoms, protect individuals against unfair prosecutions and ensure that the legal system operates fairly.

5. Bayside Solicitors

One of the most dynamic legal firms in Victoria, Bayside Solicitors has over 20 years of experience in various legal areas. Founded in 1996 by James Dracopoulos and Tim Xenos. Bayside Solicitors is committed to offering clients the best and most effective legal representation in the state, reflected in their government-approved scale fees. Not only are they committed to cost-effectiveness, but the firm recognises that most individuals just want down-to-earth, transparent solicitors assisting with their matter.

6. Smith & Tapper

Madeleine Smith best criminal solicitor
Madeleine Smith

One of the state’s most trusted solicitor firms, Smith & Tapper boast an unparalleled record of success across several key legal areas, including criminal law, intervention orders, infringement matters and traffic law. With fixed, transparent fees, clients know exactly what they are getting when they call up the best criminal lawyers in Melbourne at Smith & Tapper. You’ll benefit from a well-rounded and balanced legal defence, along with a better overall experience, largely because of their commitment to your case.

Questions you should consider when assessing the best criminal law firm in Melbourne

one of the best criminal lawyers from Melbourne

Naturally, you want to get the best defence possible when contesting your criminal charge in the Victorian courts. Now that we’ve listed the five best criminal lawyers in Melbourne, you’re confronted with the difficult task of having to pick one. Which one will you choose? Well, the best thing you can do is organise a meeting with several of the best criminal lawyers in Melbourne. During this meeting, ask them questions about the specifics of their services, noting down any differences between your options (experience, cost, specialities etc.).

Does experience matter when it comes to the best criminal lawyers in Melbourne, or are other factors just as important?

Experience is obviously quite important when hiring a new solicitor; however, it certainly isn’t the most significant facet of hiring a new solicitor for your case. Having said this, the most reliable and highly-regarded solicitors often have a lot of experience to back up their credentials. Often, they’ve worked on very public and crucial legal cases, which could be very important for you, especially if you want someone experienced in high-pressure, public cases in the highest courts in the state.

Having said this, a solicitor’s level of experience shouldn’t be the sole reason you hire them. Indeed, you want to be looking at a wide range of qualities. For example, what they specialise in is a good indicator of relevant skills and expertise. Clearly, criminal law is vastly different to family law, both in terms of relevant legislation, processes and procedures. As a result, hiring a solicitor that specialises in divorce and separation proceedings may not have the same capacity to handle an assault or murder case. Either way, the best way to work your way around these issues is to do your research. Check out their websites, testimonials, news archives and other current information. The last thing you want to be doing is hiring a solicitor that is currently embroiled in some type of scandal or professional misconduct hearing.

Naturally, when picking one of the best criminal lawyers in Melbourne, you need to consider both experience and specialities. How you assess these factors, in terms of importance, is completely up to you. However, another factor you obviously need to consider is cost. Solicitor fees can be quite expensive, especially if you are hiring one of the more established and reliable firms, which have room to charge more for premium services. If you have a budget you need to stick by, make sure you ask your solicitor if there is a chance to nab some flexible payment options. Some solicitors will offer a “no win, no fee” policy or pro-bono services, meaning you won’t have to pay whether you win or lose. Flexible payment options could help you reduce your financial strain in the long-run.

How do I know if I am receiving high-quality service from the best criminal lawyers in Melbourne?

You are never obligated to see out your case with a solicitor you are unhappy with. In fact, you can gauge a lot from your first meeting with them. If you are extremely dissatisfied with his/her services, then you can and should terminate your professional relationship with them as soon as possible. There is no point wasting time with someone who is continually letting you down, especially when your freedom, livelihood and life is on the line in this case. So, what are the signs that may need to consider the best criminal lawyers in Melbourne because an average solicitor is letting you down?

Firstly, it’s probably a sure-fire sign that your solicitor isn’t giving you their best if they are constantly missing your calls or you’re finding it very hard to get in touch with them about important matters. It could be something to do with specific court documentation, court etiquette or general queries regarding a recent invoice. Whatever your query may be regarding, your solicitor should always be available to speak with you. What is even worse is if you finally manage to get in touch with them and they seem disinterested or distracted.

Imagine they arrive at a sit-down meeting, only to leave mid-way through to take a phone call and don’t comeback. Not only is this disrespectful, but it’s a sign that your barrister is failing you in their duties. The best criminal lawyers in Melbourne are bound by an ethical code, ensuring that all clients (including you) receive the best legal representation. This includes the efficacy of their service; how clear they are when communicating with you (including how frequently) and the transparency of their invoices. If you are confused with your solicitor’s payment scheme and they are unable to cater it to suit your financial needs, then they clearly are not one of the best criminal lawyers in Melbourne. Consider switching to one of the above listed firms!

What kind of clients do the best criminal solicitors in Melbourne cater to?

Naturally, the best solicitors and barristers in Victoria often attract some of the more high-profile clients. This could include high-profile criminals, celebrities or incredibly affluent families and households, well known to the Australian public. However, don’t indulge in all the hearsay or rumours; if you want to know what type of clients a prospective barrister generally caters to, just ask. So, why is it important that you know what type of clients a specific solicitor works with?

Well, you might find that their current client base is vastly different to yourself (for whatever reason) and this might make you somewhat uncomfortable or hesitant to hire them. If this does make you somewhat uncomfortable, consider moving to a solicitor who handles legal matters with clients that resemble your situation. Put it this way, if they already work with clients that are quite like you, what are the chances that they’ll have more knowledge on how to provide services that are best suited to your legal predicament? Probably a lot higher. For example, if you decide that you want to pick one of the firms listed in the top five in this article, you probably want to pick the barrister that can best deal with your situation. If you have a young family and partner, you want a barrister that can be both a person of technical and emotional support. Knowing that your solicitor has experience in what you are feeling and can help you through this process is vital to you making it through your case.

What are my honest chances if I choose one of the best criminal law firms?

criminal law firm Melbourne

Before hiring a solicitor, you obviously want to know what your honest chances are of succeeding in your case. If you go to a firm like Papa Hughes, you want them to be honest and upfront with you. As a side note, it is a massive red flag if your solicitor is feeding you exaggerated promises, vague statements and outlandish outcomes. If you’re facing a very serious charge, like first-degree murder or manslaughter, you don’t want to hear the phrase “You’ll certainly be found innocent, I guarantee it”

As a result, you want a solicitor who is practical, honest and understanding. The last thing you need is false hope and optimism. Regardless of whether you are innocent or guilty, sometimes your best bet is to take a plea bargain. If you have one of the best criminal lawyers in Melbourne, they’ll always fight for you and strive to get the best outcome for your matter. However, you may have to be a realist, and taking an early plea bargain could be your best, long-term option. Negotiating a settlement will also save you money as well, as you can work through your case outside of the court room and get it over and done with without racking up an expensive legal bill. The obvious disadvantage of taking a plea bargain is the fact that if you are innocent, you could end up facing prison time or some lesser sentence for a criminal offence you never committed. At the end of the day, it is your decision to make, and should be weighted in accordance to your solicitor’s advice and how serious the punishment could be (i.e. fine, imprisonment, suspended sentence, house arrest).

If I choose one of the best criminal lawyers in Melbourne, what steps will be involved in solving my legal problem?

This is obviously quite a broad and vague question, but as a client, you’ll want to know the step-by-step process as to how your legal matter will progress through the courts. Keep note to see if your solicitor is clear and concise – any ambiguity will only worsen your anxiousness as the outcome looms. Thankfully, hiring a team like Papa Hughes, Bayside Solicitors or Dwyer Harris will ensure that you are always in the loop with regards to where your legal matter is progressing.

However, it’s important for you to recognise that there is no universal answer to this question. Every charge requires a different process and approach, which likely differs from firm to firm. Criminal law has changed extensively throughout history, so you obviously want a solicitor who is up to date with recent changes to the dominant legislation. At the end of the day, you just want clarity as a client, and if you’re not getting that from your current solicitor, get in touch with the best criminal lawyers in Melbourne (listed in this article).

When querying the steps taken to resolve your legal matter, it’s important that you clarify which principal solicitors will be handling your case. Many legal firms consist of several qualified barristers and solicitors, so you’ll want to make sure you know who specifically will be handling your matter. Make sure you have their personal contact details, so they are always just a phone call away. You don’t want to waste time calling their secretary every time, especially if you need to get in touch about something very important.

At the same time, you can always offer to help with your legal defence or case, which could help reduce your end bill. Preparing an accurate and clear chronology of the events of the crime in question is always a good start. Don’t skip out on any details either – everything and anything could be of great significance to your legal team. There’s always information available online to help you through the process, like podcasts on specific ongoing cases.


So, it’s clear that there is a lot to consider when hiring one of the best criminal lawyers in Melbourne. Indeed, Pape Hughes, Dwyer Harris, Galbally Rolfe, Bayside Solicitors and Smith & Tapper are certainly five of the best solicitors operating in Victoria, all of which can handle your legal matter with the utmost level of professionalism and integrity. If you’re struggling to decide, just remember to think clearly and revisit this guide for any advice.

Remember, while things like experience and specialties are very important, such factors shouldn’t entirely determine your choice. You want a professional solicitor who is going to be upfront and transparent with you about things like your chances, their cost structure and an overarching strategy. If you have been charged with an offence that is incredibly serious, then the last thing you need is false hope and optimism. The best criminal lawyers in Melbourne will be pragmatic, honest and understanding, continuing to fight in your best interests.