Baker McKenzie has retained its position at the top of the Acritas Global Elite Brand Index for the 11th year in a row, underscoring its reputation as the go-to firm for cross-border legal work.
The firm held on to the number one spot, with DLA Piper also maintaining its place in second. Dentons, however, climbed eight places to rank third, while Linklaters climbed four places to fourth. Clifford Chance and Hogan Lovells ranked joint fifth.
The survey measures which firms are most top of mind and most favoured by senior in-house legal counsel around the world, and which firms are most in-demand for high-profile multi-jurisdictional deals and litigation.
Milton Cheng, global chair of Bakers, said: “Market disruption is an accepted reality for business, as new competition and technologies drive the pace of change faster than ever before. Our clients want lawyers who are prepared to lead, differentiate and adapt in a constantly changing world.”
He added: “We are unquestionably the leading cross-border law firm that large, global clients trust for complex transactional and other matters involving multiple jurisdictions. That's why we are top of mind across so many countries and areas of law.”
Dentons, meanwhile, was celebrating being 'the biggest riser ever' in the well-regarded index.
Global chairman Joe Andrew said: "As the youngest of the global firms, competing with some who have been around for decades or centuries, we see improving our global brand as first among our goals not because it is the most important goal, but because the strength of our brand is a result of the strength of our people, of our commitment to diversity and to our continued effort to provide the best service for our clients.”
The survey is based on interviews with 1,565 in-house lawyers across 55 countries from organisations with at least $1bn of annual revenue.
Lisa Hart Shepherd, vice president of research and advisory services at Thomson Reuters, said: “For firms, choosing an overarching focus and sticking with it is essential to developing a differentiated brand. Baker McKenzie has shown that commitment to a long-term strategy that is in line with evolving client needs will deliver financial success. This strategic focus on global reach makes for a clear purpose that its people can get behind and that its clients can easily understand.“
The top 10 rankings were completed by Allen & Overy and Norton Rose Fulbright (joint seventh) and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Jones Day (joint ninth).
Elizabeth Duffy, senior director of global client services at Thomson Reuters Acritas, said: “The pressures of the pandemic in 2020 have accentuated clients’ needs for their law firms to provide fast, business-ready advice. More than ever, a law firm’s investment in client relationships is a long-term commitment and requires multi-faceted support for lawyers in terms of tools, training, and support.”