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Acritas Survey Reveals Top 20 Law Firm Brands

Legal research company Acritas released data from a survey it conducted that found the leading law firm brands amongst in-house counsel, with the law firm of Baker & McKenzie topping out the list for the third straight year. The survey began back in 2009, according to a report from Law.com’s Corporate Counsel.

In the survey from Acritas, the following statement was made by the legal research firm that said:

“The figures reveal that [the magic circle’s] grip is weakening relative to their positions in previous years. This is perhaps due to their greater focus on the largest clients and because of increasing competition. Nevertheless, the magic circle firms compensate for lower favorability levels with their strength in multi-jurisdictional consideration for top-level work.”

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The CEO of Acritas, Lisa Hart Shepherd, said, “Our research suggests a changing future distribution of global law firm brands, leading to a structure more akin to the international accountancy market, but with a big-15 group of law firms, as opposed to a ‘big four’. In light of this, the top law firms face a fundamental strategic decision between working to secure a position as one of these dominant global players and reacting according to market forces, or choosing a more specialist role, and becoming more ‘boutique’ as a result. Certainly to achieve a dominant global position, PEP [average profit per equity partner] will have to be sacrificed and long-term investment will be crucial to the successful execution of such an ambitious strategy. For most, this will be too large a sacrifice.”

The statement from Acritas in the survey continues with the following:

“The US is a very crowded market leading to a lower awareness share to leverage into the global mix. This means that outside the domestic market, it’s harder for US firms to gain traction due to a relative lack of awareness and strong competition from long-established international players such as the magic circle and Baker & McKenzie.”

The survey revealed the following standings:

1. Baker & McKenzie

2. Freshfields

3. Linklaters

4. Clifford Chance

5. DLA Piper

6. Allen & Overy

7. Skadden

8. Hogan Lovells

9. Norton Rose Group

10. White & Case

11. Jones Day

12. Herbert Smith

13. Mayer Brown

14. Latham & Watkins

15. Gibson Dunn

16. King & Wood Mallesons

17. Sidley Austin

18. Eversheds

19. CMS

20. Morgan Lewis

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