Baker McKenzie still Asia Pacific’s strongest law brand

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Baker McKenzie has been named Asia Pacific’s strongest law firm brand for the second consecutive year.

Acritas’ index is compiled from Sharplegal survey data derived from 441 client interviews across 11 countries. Those surveyed have a combined legal spend of U$2.1 billion annually.

King & Wood Mallesons is gaining on Baker McKenzie’s crown and has increased its lead with third placed Herbert Smith Freehills.

Asia Pacific firms accounted for approximately half of the firms mentioned and half of all brand equity in the market. A smaller number of global and multi-national firms (13% of firms named) achieve a more substantial brand strength, taking up 36% of the brand index points.

The index shows a struggle for US firms who face the most competition; despite accounting for 26% of mentioned, they accounted for just 10% of brand equity in the Asia Pacific market.

“While the firms making up the top three have been consistent since the Index was first published in 2014, we see a lot of change further down the list which reflects the complexity of operating across this vast region and clients’ evolving needs,” said Acritas’ David Johnson.

Clifford Chance (4), JunHe (5), Kim & Chang (6), MinterEllison (=7), Nishimura & Asahi (=7), Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. (9), DLA Piper (=10) and Mori Hamada & Matsumoto (=10) complete the top 10.

"Asia Pacific legal buyers spend 40% of their budget on resources outside their home country, and the pace of spending is expected to accelerate with growth in the region," added Johnson. "The challenge for global firms is to figure out how they can develop strong local client relationships based on expertise and a deep understanding of their businesses and markets to maintain this service promise across the firm as the international need of their clients grow.”

SA firm expands with new Adelaide office
Johnston Withers has acquired the Adelaide office of Slater and Gordon.

Six former Slaters lawyers and support staff will continue to work from their South Terrace office.

The acquisition means that South Australian firm Johnston Withers now has almost 60 staff including those that joined as part of its acquisition of Marshall Conveyancing Group in 2017.

“We’ve had a pretty good story to tell and the benefit of bringing in Slaters – being strong in personal injury work – is that it really bolsters a traditional area for us and boosts our footprint with a lot of continuity,” commented managing director Andrew Mitchard.

“A lot of bigger commercial firms are national affiliations and I think with this one it’s going the other way – it’s certainly going against the trend,” he added.

Revenue up 12% at Simmons & Simmons
Global firm Simmons & Simmons has increased annual revenue by 12% to £354m.

The UK-headquartered firm reported net profit of £110m and PEP of £686K.

More than three quarters of the firm’s income is from its core areas of Asset Management & Investment Funds, Financial Institutions, Healthcare & Life Sciences, TMT – with dispute resolution, technology, and regulatory practices showing particularly strong activity.

Simmons & Simmons added a Dublin office to its footprint in March this year and hired 25 lateral partners and made nine internal promotions last year.