What are the APAC’s top law firm brands?

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Asia Pacific’s strongest law firm brands have been identified, with Baker McKenzie taking this year’s top spot.

The firm, which dropped its ampersand late last year, scored a perfect 100 on the “Acritas Asia Pacific Law Firm Brand Index 2017” to move up to first place, which King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) held last year with the same score. KWM moved to second place with a score of 98.

Baker McKenzie topped key measures in the index, including consideration for international needs, which 84% of legal buyers in the region said they had. It also topped metrics for major mergers and acquisitions.

Meanwhile, KWM remained the most popular legal brand among Asia Pacific’s chief legal buyers. It is also the most considered for high-value work.

Herbert Smith Freehills, which was also named the fastest-growing legal brand in the region, took the third spot by improving its score to 79 this year from 66 in 2016.

In fourth is South Korean behemoth Kim & Chang, which retained its ranking despite a lower score of 38 compared to last year’s 43.

In fifth are Ashurst and Dentons, which both scored 34. Last year, Ashurst also placed fifth with a score of 39, while Dentons was not even in the top 10.

Junhe retained the seventh spot with a score of 32, down from 35 last year. Moving up to eighth is MinterEllison with a score of 30, up from the ninth spot in 2016 with the same score.

DLA Piper also improved its ranking by coming in at ninth with a score of 29, up from last year’s tenth place with a score of 28.

Completing the top 10 are Allen & Overy and Allens> <Linklaters, both scoring 27. Linklaters was eighth last year with a score of 34. Nishimura & Asahi exited the top 10.

The index is based from unprompted responses of 491 senior general counsel in Asia Pacific organisations that have more than US$50m in yearly revenues.

They were asked about their awareness of and favourability towards the firms they named, consideration for top-level litigation and major M&A, cross-border litigation and deals, and use of the firms for high-value work. The index also included responses from a further 378 senior legal counsel from “elite” organisations.

“Compared to other parts of the world, the Asia Pacific region has the highest potential to increase its legal spending,” said David Johnson, account manager and Acritas’ London head. “The challenge for global firms is to figure out how to compete: lower local rates mean that firms must deliver quality service efficiently, and adjust rates and revenue expectations to align with what the local market can bear.”


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