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Mainland Europe Law Firm Brand Index: Firms with a global network, tech prowess flourished

· 5 minute read

· 5 minute read

The new "Mainland Europe Law Firm Brand Index" shows corporate clients are re-evaluating their relationships with their outside law firms and reassessing how they want their legal services delivered.

Similar to other key legal markets, corporate clients in Mainland Europe have begun to place less emphasis on traditional, historic relationships and the long-standing reputations of individual lawyers. Instead, European clients are gravitating toward those law firms that they see as best-in-class partners that can demonstrate the knowledge and technical application clients now are seeking. In fact, European corporate clients surveyed cited both of those attributes, along with localized legal knowledge across multiple jurisdictions, as the main characteristics they are seeking most in their outside counsel.

More specifically, those European clients surveyed in Thomson Reuters’ Mainland Europe Law Firm Brand Index 2022, said they are seeking to work with outside law firms that have unrivalled technical acumen, deep-subject matter expertise, and an understanding of how these attributes can be applied to address clients’ strategic challenges. More specifically, European GCs stressed how important it was for their law departments to come to grips with the challenges of digitalization.

You can download the full Mainland Europe Law Firm Brand Index 2022 here.

In the minds of many clients, their outside law firms should be leveraging all their skills towards solving not just today’s legal challenges, but those that clients may not yet have anticipated. Indeed, clients are depending on their legal partners to identify and solve these yet-unseen problems. Those outside law firms — the ones that are truly proactive in their advice and innovative in their delivery — will continue to find themselves most favored by European corporate clients, the Index shows.

Clients looking for global reach

European GCs, also like those in other regions, are anticipating strong increases in their legal spend across the continent, with three times as many GCs saying they’re increasing their legal spend this year than said it last year. And fueling these spending increases in part is the steady growth in cross-border legal work, with portion of the market anticipating international legal spending to increase at its highest level in the last five years. And like in the United Kingdom and the Asia Pacific legal markets, managing cross-border regulatory changes are expected to be a heady challenge for clients in Mainland Europe.

This year’s top 10 in the Mainland Europe Index is dominated by the largest global law firms that can boast a meaningful presence in key European markets. Clients also cited these firms’ ability to combine that meaningful global network with a reputation for technical specialty and high-quality legal service delivery. Indeed, we have to move into the firms ranked 11th to 20th before we can see more of the region’s premium firms whose strength is anchored in their local market.

Atop the Index for Mainland Europe, Baker McKenzie takes the top spot for the fourth consecutive year as clients cited the firm’s strength across the region and its ability to connect them with the rest of the world.

Among other firms, Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy have stood out in this year’s Index for Mainland Europe. Both firms have grown their favorability in the eyes of their clients by leveraging their specialist expertise and ability to deliver on the high-stakes work consistently across the European continent, especially across the key markets of Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. Also, Paris-based CMS moved up to their highest position in the last three years, breaking into the Top 5 with a different proposition: offering high quality work through an investment in understanding clients’ business and a focus on creating cost efficiencies.

Thomson Reuters’ Regional Law Firm Brand Index 2022 illustrated how those law firms in Mainland Europe and around the world that saw the most growth in this year’s Index were the ones that were able to establish themselves in the minds of clients in areas of brand awareness and client favorability. The Regional Index covers the legal markets in five separate countries or regions — the United States, the United Kingdom, Mainland Europe, Canada, and the Asia-Pacific region. Each Index is based on data compiled in 2021 from Thomson Reuters Sharplegal study.

As the Index demonstrates, corporate clients and legal service buyers in Europe and elsewhere are seeking out those legal partners that can demonstrate a deeper focus on factors that will best position their clients to take advantage of coming opportunities and face future challenges.

You can watch Jennifer Dezso, Director of Client Relations at Thomson Reuters, breakdown not just the legal market in Mainland Europe, but also the markets in the US, UK, Canada, and the Asia-Pacific region.

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