Current legal discourse puts forward socio-legal collaborations, integrated social work and legal practice and medical/legal partnerships as innovations from the legal sector aimed at resolving clients’ intertwined legal and social issues. In doing so it has generalised and diminished the specific contribution in these programmes of highly skilled social work staff. This article sets out a study of Australian socio-legal collaborations to re-establish the significant contribution made by social workers in this sector. It argues that social workers are the dominant social service profession and provide integral practice and leadership contributions. It argues that further research in Australia and internationally is required to support social work to stand in leadership alongside lawyers, not only in these programmes but also in the discourse and sector that surrounds them.