Global giant widens lead as Asia-Pacific’s top legal brand

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Baker McKenzie has widened its lead as it was named the leading legal brand in the Asia-Pacific region for the third straight year.

The global giant achieved a brand index of 100 to lead the Acritas Asia Pacific Brand Index 2019, which features a top six unchanged from 2018.

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) placed second with a brand index of 76, followed by Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) with 56, Clifford Chance with 30, JunHe with 29 and Kim & Chang with 27.

Tied at seventh are Ashurst, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto, and Zhong Lun with 25 points, with Ashurst making a major move up by five placed, Acritas noted. MinterEllison completes this year’s top 10 with a score of 24.

The top 10 firms last year absent from the 2019 list are Nishimura & Asahi, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co, and DLA Piper.

Acritas said that while Baker McKenzie’s growing awareness and favourability in China and Hong Kong were crucial for the top performance, it scored high in all key markets in the region.

“In addition to industry leading legal expertise, the legal services buyer of today expects commerciality, responsiveness, an ability to meet key procurement requirements, and overall a partner that helps to advance their business interests and capture key opportunities when they arise,” said Ai Ai Wong, Baker McKenzie’s Asia-Pacific chair. “It is gratifying to see our strength in high-value work, particularly transactional work, being recognised so clearly this year; on average we lead and close three major transactions somewhere in the world every day, and we are using that global expertize to help leading companies grow and succeed across the region’s diverse and fast changing markets.”

KWM stood out for its ability to deliver high-value work for clients and has increased its cross-border consideration, the market researcher said, while HSF is still known for its leading litigation and contentious work.

Acritas said this year that breadth of support is key to clients in the region, which it said is expected to increase its legal spend in contrast to other markets.