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Before engaging a lawyer

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Working with your lawyer

Most people deal with lawyers on very few occasions, such as when buying a house or making a will. If you are not familiar with the law, you may be uncertain how to work with lawyers or understand what to expect from the legal process.

Our fact sheet Working with your lawyer provides tips on how you can develop and maintain a good relationship with your lawyer.

Your first appointment

Before you engage a lawyer, there are many things to consider.  Our fact sheet Meeting a lawyer – your first appointment outlines things to consider about who you engage, the questions you should ask and what your and your lawyers obligations will be.

Your rights as a client

We have several fact sheets to help you understand your rights and responsibilities when working with a lawyer.

Is your lawyer licensed?

Your lawyer must hold a current ‘Australian practising certificate’ to practice law in Victoria. This is their licence to do work for you and proof that they are covered by insurance. If a lawyer doesn’t hold this certificate, it is against the law for them to do legal work for you. This is called unqualified legal practice. You can find out if your lawyer holds a current practising certificate by checking our Victorian Legal Profession Register.

For more information about why you should only use a registered lawyer for your legal work, see our Unqualified legal practice page.


Sometimes things go wrong and you may not be not happy with something your lawyer has said or done. Most problems can be worked out easily by discussing them with your lawyer. Please see the Complaints page for information about our complaints process.

If your concerns cannot be resolved you can make a complaint to us. We can receive complaints about the legal costs you have been charged, the quality of service you received, and the behaviour of your lawyer. For information about how and when to make a complaint, please see the How to lodge a complaint page.

Regulation of conveyancers

Both lawyers and non-lawyers may do conveyancing work. While we regulate all lawyers, we have no power over non-lawyers working as conveyancers (except where they work for a lawyer or a law practice). For more information about conveyancers, see our Problems with conveyancing page.

National Redress Scheme for institutional child sexual abuse

A free government-funded service is available to assist you with applying for compensation under the National Redress Scheme for institutional child sexual abuse. Find out more here.

Migration support for people impacted by the crisis in Afghanistan

We are aware of reports of scammers seeking to take advantage of people seeking migration / visa support following the crisis in Afghanistan. There is free support available from the government and/or community legal services. Always check that the person you are dealing with is qualified and approved to do the work.
Support available

Check if your lawyer or migration agent is registered

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