Baker & McKenzie tops law firm brand ranking

Baker & McKenzie has retained top spot in an annual ranking of law firm brands.

The firm led the Global Elite Law Firm Brand Index – published by Acritas – for the fifth year running.

The Acritas research concluded that Baker & McKenzie´s “unmatched global footprint as well as its strength in multi-jurisdictional deals and litigation, are driving exceptional brand awareness and favorability levels among in-house counsel”.

Clifford Chance was ranked in second place – the report said the strength of the firm´s brand in the US as well as its “popularity for multi-jurisdictional work as well as its prominence in Europe” had contributed to its ranking.

The other firms in the top five were Norton Rose Fulbright (third), DLA Piper (fourth), and Linklaters (fifth).

Freshfields was in sixth place, Allen & Overy was placed seventh, and Hogan Lovells was in eighth spot.

The top 10 was completed by Jones Day (ninth) and Skadden (tenth).

The remaining firms included in the rankings were: Herbert Smith Freehills (11th); White & Case (12th), Latham & Watkins (13th); King & Wood Mallesons (=14th); Eversheds (=14th); Sidley Austin (16th); Reed Smith (=17th); Dentons (=17th); Slaughter & May (19th); Amarchand & Mangaldas (20th); Simpson Thacher (20th); and CMS (20th).

Acritas’ Global Elite Brand Index 2014 is compiled from data derived from 1,185 interviews with people with “senior responsibility for buying legal services” in organizations around the world with a turnover exceeding $1 billion. All interviews were conducted by telephone in local languages across 55 countries between October 2013 and August 2014. Respondents are asked four open-ended questions which cover: the first law firms to come to mind; the firms most considered for multi-jurisdictional deals; the firms they feel most favorable towards; and the firms most considered for multi-jurisdictional litigation.

Lisa Hart Shepherd, CEO of Acritas, said: “In such a dynamic, competitive market, it is vital for firms to listen to clients and swiftly adapt to their changing needs. The firms gaining brand strength most rapidly are those which consistently invest in understanding the market and who aren’t afraid to take new approaches.

“In the face of such a sea-change in the way legal services are delivered, clear vision, strong leadership and sophisticated management of both the front and back office are fundamental to success. It is clear from the highest risers in the index that a long term investment and planning approach pays off. Despite this, some firms choose to ignore this route in favour of short term profits – at their peril.”

Shepherd added that it had never been more important for law firms to develop a “well-defined offering that meets clients’ current and anticipated needs and to communicate this point of difference clearly and consistently”.

“Successful brands engender confidence and higher levels of client satisfaction and loyalty, which in turn lead to greater market share and profits”, she said.

Ben Cook