Baker McKenzie named strongest global legal brand for 12th year in a row

DLA Piper and Clifford Chance complete top three of Thomas Reuters’ elite firm brand index

Baker McKenzie topped Thomson Reuters’ Global Elite Law Firm Brand Index for the 12th consecutive year, underscoring the strong brand recognition it has among buyers of legal services.

Bakers clocked up a brand index score of 100 – 56 points more than second placed DLA Piper, holding on to its runners-up spot for the third year in a row. Clifford Chance rose two places to finish third, boosting its brand index score by nine points. Last year’s third strongest brand Dentons slipped to fourth, while Norton Rose Fulbright climbed two places to finish fifth.

Milton Cheng, global chair of Bakers, said: “We are truly grateful for the trust our clients place in us to help manage their most high profile, complex and sensitive legal matters. One of the keys to retaining this trust is to remain highly relevant to our clients, continually exploring where there is the most acute client need for cross-practice legal solutions, and ensuring we are able to field best in class teams to provide support in these areas.”

The index is based on four different factors that general counsel use to choose the law firms they work with – top-of-mind awareness, favourability, consideration for multi-jurisdictional litigation and consideration for multi-jurisdictional deals. This year’s index – which surveyed the views of roughly 1,700 GCs in companies globally – showed that firms that were strong on M&A and scored high on favourability were more likely to rise up the rankings.

Rank (last year) Firm Score
1 (1) Baker McKenzie 100
2 (2) DLA Piper 44
3 (5) Clifford Chance 40
4 (3) Dentons  37
5 (7) Norton Rose Fulbright 32

Elizabeth Duffy, senior director of global client services at Thomson Reuters, said: “As businesses emerged from the crisis, legal service buying patterns focus on forward-facing factors like understanding the client’s business and knowledge of their sector. And we still see clients prioritising specialist expertise over historical relationships or reputation.”

Allen & Overy, Hogan Lovells and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom all finished joint sixth, while King & Wood Mallesons, Latham & Watkins and Linklaters all finished joint ninth. Gibson Dunn was the only new firm to enter the top 20 this year, replacing Morgan Lewis.

CMS, meantime, saw the biggest percentage change in its brand index score, a 63% increase – lifting it to joint 13th from 20th in the 2021 index. Latham & Watkins, Skadden and Gibson Dunn all saw above-30% increases in their brand index scores. Linklaters saw the biggest drop, sliding five places from fourth in 2021.

Duffy said: “Firms which can connect their expertise deep into clients’ industry sectors and translate the regulatory complexities of multiple jurisdictions for a client’s business will be in high demand. And for the brave, innovation remains the biggest white space for a firm that wants to create a truly differentiated brand that answers to clients’ most pressing unmet needs.”


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