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Our History

A Brief History

Galbally & O’Bryan has built its success on generations of Australia’s best legal practitioners. Decades of knowledge, skill and passion for the law have made Galbally & O’Bryan what it is today.

Our firm was founded in 1935 by John Galbally, who was later joined by his brother, Frank, in 1948. John pursued a distinguished and longstanding career in state politics and was a renowned social reformer, most notably campaigning against capital punishment. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel (QC) in 1968.

In 1965, Frank Galbally went into partnership with Peter O’Bryan, a leading personal injury lawyer. Frank was regarded by many as the preeminent criminal lawyer of his time. He was one of the first solicitors to practise as a trial advocate without joining the Victorian Bar, and was famous for a remarkable acquittal rate.

Our criminal law practice is now managed by Paul Galbally and Peter Ward, criminal law specialists with over forty years experience between them. They have been involved in some of the most significant inquiries and criminal law cases in Australia.

In the 1960s Galbally & O’Bryan began doing personal injury claims on a ‘no win – no charge’ basis. This arrangement continues today, and has enabled many clients, who might not otherwise be able to afford a lawyer, to pursue compensation claims.

Since 1994 Galbally & O’Bryan has been one of the few Victorian law firms to employ a qualified medical practitioner/lawyer to provide specialised advice to assist in personal injury matters.

Over the years we have built on our proud heritage, providing ethical and expert legal services and access to justice for all our clients. We have always been committed to providing legal assistance to all persons in deserving cases, regardless of their financial means.

With our reputation for excellence, we attract the best legal minds in the country. Leading members of the legal community who have worked at our firm include a former Premier of Victoria, a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, a Chief Justice of the County Court, many current QCs and SCs and several serving Supreme Court and County Court Judges.

Read more about Galbally & O’Bryan’s people and significant cases.