In our latest podcast, we look at the recent Regional Law Firm Brand Indexes and what they are showing us about the changing relationships between corporate clients and their outside law firms.
From a law firm brand perspective, a clear shift is going on across the globe. Traditional law firm differentiators like historic reputations or relationships with individual lawyers have given way to other factors, such as clients’ need to have fast, trustworthy advice from their external counsel.
To shed more light on this, the Thomson Reuters Institute recently released a series of Regional Law Firm Brand Indexes — covering the legal markets in the US, the UK, the Asia-Pacific region, Canada, and Mainland Europe — that explore which law firms corporate clients are choosing for work, for what types of work, and why. Each Index is based on data compiled in 2021 from Thomson Reuters Sharplegal study.
The indexes look at factors such as which law firms come to the top of clients’ minds, which firms are mentioned first by clients, which firms clients consider using for top-level litigation and M&A work, and which firms they use for other high-value work. The indexes also explore which law firms clients are most likely to use for cross-border legal matters.
Understandably, there are a number of factors at play in these indexes, and the methodology is complex, even as the lessons illustrated within each index can contain powerful insight for law firms in those regions.
In the latest podcast available on the Thomson Reuters Institute Market Insights channel, Bill Josten, manager of legal industry and law firm content at Thomson Reuters Institute, sat down with Becky Halat, a senior manager with the Market Insights Client Services team at Thomson Reuters, to help bring greater understanding to the significance of the lessons these indexes offer. In the podcast, Halat breaks down how these regional brand indexes come to be and what lesson law firms can learn from them, regardless of whether the firm appears on the index or not.
You can listen to the full podcast here.
Chief among the lessons from these indexes is that a strong law firm brand takes a tremendous amount of effort to build and maintain. Even among firms that simply maintained their position in a particular index year-over-year, an incredible amount of work had to be done by the firms to increase their overall awareness ranking in the eyes of clients, which improved among these firms by 11%. Firms that actually improved their rankings in the index increased their awareness ranking by 24%, demonstrating a high degree of dedication to the process of building recognition among clients.
While many of the firms listed on the various indexes were able to maintain their positions, the podcast gives the example of how one firm — Clifford Chance — made a large jump in the UK Index, moving up eight spots compared to last year. To accomplish this, the firm not only improved its awareness ranking, but also its ranking in terms of clients’ likelihood to select it for top-level work, deftly converting its client awareness to client favorability which in turn resulted in additional paying work.
In that example lies a lesson for any law firm leader about how important interaction with clients is to the firm’s bottom line, ultimately. “Interacting with clients regularly, even when you’re not working with them directly, will help ensure that when they pick up the phone, it’s you that they’re reaching out to first,” Halat says.