Baker & McKenzie heads law firm brand index for sixth consecutive year

Baker & McKenzie has topped the Global Elite Law Firm Brand Index for the sixth year running.

The index – published by Acritas – is based on interviews with more than 1,000 professionals responsible for buying legal services at organisations across the world with revenue of more than $1 billion.

Significant climbers in the 2015 rankings included DLA Piper (which was ranked second, up from fourth last year), Hogan Lovells (ranked fifth this year, up from eighth in 2014), and Jones Day (which was placed sixth this year, up from ninth last year).

Of the rest of the firms in the top ten of the rankings, Clifford Chance dropped from second to third, Norton Rose Fulbright fell from third to fourth, and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer slipped from sixth to seventh.

Linklaters dropped from fifth to eighth and Allen & Overy fell from seventh to ninth. The top ten was completed by White & Case, which was ranked tenth, up from 12th in 2014.

Lisa Hart Shepherd, CEO of Acritas, said: “When looking across each of the individual measures that generate the index – top of mind awareness, favorability and consideration for multi-jurisdictional litigation and deals – Baker & McKenzie ranks first on each metric. Global coverage and local knowledge are central to this firm’s brand which provides them with the most differentiated brand in the global legal market. However, others are starting to catch up so this firm cannot be complacent.”

Commenting on the fact that Clifford Chance is the only ‘Magic Circle’ firm ranked in the top five, Shepherd said that such firms had a “historic brand profile that far outweighed their size”. She added: “Now, other firms have raised their games and invested in long-term brand building strategies. Secondly, they [the Magic Circle] have lost international reach as a core differentiator, as the premium US firms and particularly the vereins push this strategy hard. And thirdly, the search for value means clients can’t justify paying premium prices for all of their work anymore.”

In reference to DLA Piper’s move into second place in the rankings, the report concluded that the firm had made significant gains in the UK and China “particularly for favourability”.

The Global Elite Law Firm Brand Index 2015

1. Baker & McKenzie


2. DLA Piper


3. Clifford Chance


4. Norton Rose Fulbright


5. Hogan Lovells


6. Jones Day


7. Freshfields


8. Linklaters


9. Allen & Overy


10. White & Case


11. Skadden


=12. King & Wood Mallesons


=12. Herbert Smith Freehills


14. Dentons


15. Latham & Watkins


16. Sidley Austin


=17. Kirkland & Ellis


=17. CMS


=19. Morgan Lewis


=19. Eversheds

Ben Cook