Principal lawyers - Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner

Principal Lawyers

To assist lawyers aspiring to become the principal of a law practice and help them avoid the pitfalls that await the unprepared, the Board has developed a new policy governing the grant of a principal practising certificate.

The policy guides the Board’s discretion in granting principal practising certificates and states that a lawyer seeking such a grant will need to demonstrate that they possess the relevant skills and expertise necessary to manage a law practice competently, diligently and successfully.

Supporting that position is a set of Practice Management Course Guidelines which outline the areas of business management that the Board expects new principals to be proficient in, such as strategic planning, financial administration, governance and risk management, as well as staff management.

The Board’s new policy and guidelines were developed in cooperation with the Law Institute of Victoria and the Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee, and with assistance and advice from the Law Society of NSW and regulators in other jurisdictions.

How to meet the Board’s requirements

One way aspiring principal lawyers can demonstrate to the Board they have the skills and expertise required is by completing a practice management course that the Board has assessed as meeting its guidelines.

The following courses have been assessed as meeting the Board’s guidelines:

Check the course providers’ websites for availability and registration details.


The policy applies to all applications for a principal practising certificate, where a grant of (or variation to) a principal practising certificate is to be effective on or after 1 January 2019. The policy will not apply to lawyers renewing their existing principal practising certificate.

Last modified October 9, 2018.