Queensland Law Society

Use of the word ‘principal’ in a law practice

Earlier this year, Queensland Law Society sought feedback from the profession to consider which practitioners in incorporated law practices may be held out as principals and the use of that word in extended titles such as ‘principal solicitor’ or ‘principal lawyer’.

The Society Council considered a number of submissions on the use of the word ‘principal’ to describe the position or status of practitioners in law practices. Council has determined the Society will not issue any guidance on that matter. Practitioners should use their own judgment in this regard.

Council also resolved to seek an amendment to the Legal Profession Act 2007 (the Act) to allow firms to use terms such as ‘principal lawyer’ or ‘principal solicitor’ in the description of their staff.

However, the Society will not issue principal certificates to practitioners who are employed in an incorporated legal practice but are not directors of that practice.

The Society urges practitioners considering using the word ‘principal’ as a position description to take into account the provisions of s7(4) of the Act and consider the statement issued by the Uniform Legal Services Commissioner.