The newly published 12th annual Global Elite Law Firm Brand Index 2022 shows how important client trust & maintaining key relationships are to brand success
If there is one aspect that was brought into sharp focus as the global pandemic greatly disrupted worldwide business in 2020 and 2021, it was how important a strong and clearly defined brand is when it comes to attracting clients and gaining their trust.
And within the legal industry, that proved to be especially true. As many clients sought out their most trusted legal advisors during the crisis, strong relationships, favorability, and brand awareness continued to be viewed as critically important.
Thomson Reuters’ newly published 12th annual Global Elite Law Firm Brand Index 2022 shows that those law firms that clients most strongly associate with M&A and those which were among the most favored by clients saw the most growth in this year’s Index. (You can download the full report below.)
You can read further analysis of the Global Elite Law Firm Brand Index 2022 here, and see a video about the survey here.
The Global Law Firm Brand Index score for each law firm was based on four different measures related to how legal clients choose law firms for work. Two of the measures — Top-of-mind awareness and Favorability — relate directly to a client’s perception of a law firm’s brand, and, as our research has shown, are the first steps in determining which law firms will be selected for client work. The other two measures — Consideration for multi-jurisdictional litigation and Consideration for multi-jurisdictional deals — illustrate the importance of law firms being global in scope and able to handle a wide variety of legal matters in multiple jurisdictions.
“Looking at this year’s Top 20, it is clear that brand favorability and multi-jurisdictional deals have been the most important success factors this year for global law firm brands,” says Elizabeth Duffy, Senior Director of Global Client Services at Thomson Reuters. Five of the seven fastest growing law firm brands showed above-average consideration levels for multi-jurisdictional deals, Duffy notes, and it is the strength of their brand for M&A that has truly elevated their overall Brand Index position this year. Another two of the fastest growing brands this year have above-average levels of favorability, indicating a close alignment between these firms’ client offerings and the drivers of legal service demand.
“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,” Duffy explains. “And we still see clients prioritizing specialist expertise over historical relationships or reputation.”
In this year’s index, Baker McKenzie continues to hold the top spot, marking its dominance for the 12th consecutive year ever since the Index was first launched. DLA Piper, which moved into second place in 2020, continued to hold that spot, even nudging slightly closer to Baker McKenzie in this year’s Index.
The first big movement among the top firms occurred as Clifford Chance became the third-strongest global brand, raising its Brand Index score 9 points and elevating itself from a fifth-place tie in the 2021 Index. Dentons, in fourth place, has been one of the biggest rising legal brands over the past decade, breaking into the top 10 in last year’s Index and further increasing its Index score again this year. Only one new firm joined the Global Elite Law Firm top 20 this year, Gibson Dunn.