Baker McKenzie topped Thomson Reuters’ Global Elite Law Firm Brand Index for the 12th consecutive year, besting DLA Piper who have been runners-up for the third year in a row.
Clifford Chance, fifth last year, rose to third while Dentons fell to fourth, slipping a notch. Norton Rose Fulbright finished fifth, climbing up two places.
“As the global pandemic that greatly disrupted worldwide business in 2020 continued to reverberate throughout 2021, the crisis brought into sharp focus how important a strong and clearly defined brand is when it comes to attracting clients and gaining their trust,” said the eight-page global legal brand report. “As many clients sought out their most trusted legal advisors during this time, strong relationships, favourability, and brand awareness indeed remained critically important.”
The index ranked law firms based on four different measures, including top-of-mind, awareness, favourability, consideration for multi-jurisdictional litigation and consideration for multi-jurisdictional deals.
“In 2021, as businesses emerged from the crisis, legal service buying patterns focus on forward facing factors like understanding the client’s business and knowledge of their sector,” noted Elizabeth Duffy, Senior Director of Global Client Services at Thomson Reuters.
Based on clients’ legal spending, two key practice areas are emerging, M&A and regulatory work. According to research by Thomson Reuters, M&A saw the biggest shift in terms of predicted growth over the last 12 months. “We expect this area to continue to provide a brand boost for those law firms that can demonstrate their strength in M&A,” projects the report.
Regulatory work too is expected to keep law firms busy. But the Thomson Reuters report warns that it is a very fragmented practice, “because the work type is so specific to each client, depending on their business, industry sector, and geographic footprint as international companies have to comply with local regulators in multiple markets, not all of which have a consistent approach.”