Acritas Asia Pacific Brand Index Revealed

Acritas Asia Pacific Brand Index ranks King & Wood Mallesons and Baker & McKenzie as strongest in region 

Survey also reveals legal spend to grow at double the global average.

Acritas’ Asia Pacific Law Firm Brand Index, released today, reveals King & Wood Mallesons and Baker & McKenzie are the firms best positioned to take advantage of fast rising legal spend in the region. Findings show that success in the region is built on local office presence combined with international capabilities to take advantage of growing domestic and international legal spend.

This year King & Wood Mallesons have gained 18 points to take the number one spot in Acritas’ third annual Asia Pacific Law Firm Brand Index, leaving last year’s leader Baker & McKenzie just one point behind. There is then a huge 33-point gap to Herbert Smith Freehills who take third place and lead the rest of the competitive group.

Legal spend in the Asia Pacific markets is booming, as legal departments from the region’s largest organizations confirm overall spend is set to rise at more than double the global average. Lisa Hart Shepherd, CEO, Acritas, said: “With this tremendous opportunity ready for the taking, Acritas has been investigating which firms, both inside and outside the region, are perceived to be best aligned and therefore placed to seize this opportunity, according to the region’s most valuable clients.”

Acritas’ Asia Pacific Law Firm Brand Index is an independent brand strength audit based on interviews with 375 chief legal buyers in the Asia Pacific region and 255 buyers from outside the region with international legal needs within key Asia Pacific jurisdictions. The resulting Acritas Asia Pacific Law Firm Brand Index highlights the market-leading brands, as well as trends in spend and usage that are driving this year’s Index.

Market leaders

King & Wood Mallesons top the Index, with legal buyers particularly drawn to the firm for its top-level litigation and M&A credentials but last year’s leader Baker & McKenzie aren’t ceding their share of this lucrative market. Although they have lost first position in 2016 by one point, the firm continues to dominate consideration for multi-jurisdictional litigation and deals in the region as well as inbound usage from the rest of the world. It is also the most used firm for high value work.

Herbert Smith Freehills take third place, closing in on the dominant market leaders, propelled by high levels of consideration by clients for top-level litigation capabilities. 

The Top 10

The Acritas Sharplegal survey, conducted annually amongst 2,300 senior buyers of legal services from across the globe, tracks how legal buyers select law firms and highlights those law firms winning, and losing, brand equity.

The Acritas Asia Pacific Law Firm Brand Index draws on eight measures – top of mind awareness, favorability, consideration for top-level litigation, consideration for top-level M&A, consideration for multi-jurisdictional litigation, consideration for multi-jurisdictional M&A, most used for high value work by Asia Pacific buyers, and most used for high value Asia Pacific work by overseas buyers.  Firms are awarded between one and five points on each measure, with the highest ranked firm setting the Index at 100 points.  All other firms are measured against that benchmark.

Rising brands

Nine firms, of the 11 firms ranked, have improved on their position in the Index since last year. The most impressive gains have been achieved by Linklaters and MinterEllison, who have increased their ranks by 12 and 11 places respectively. According to the data used to compile the Index, Linklaters have improved their awareness levels among clients in the region as well as consideration for multi-jurisdictional deals. MinterEllison have improved their favorability among clients, along with consideration for top-level litigation work and usage for high value work.

Beyond the Index ranks

Firms with impressive brands across such a complex and competitive market are the ones making smart strategic moves and offering a proposition that resonates more clearly with client demand.

Lisa revealed that according to the latest data from the Acritas Sharplegal study: “Our data shows that not only is overall legal spend set to increase at double the rate of the global average, international legal spend by clients based in this region is set to grow faster than in the rest of the world. This means international firms that have had the strategic foresight to build footprint in the Asia Pacific region have a higher chance of securing that growth opportunity.”

The Index also reveals the importance of a global and local strategy for successful growth and the benefits of brand equity of firms making a commitment to build strength in depth with local offices across the region. In fact nine of the top 11 firms published in this year’s Index have offices on the ground in more than four key jurisdictions across Asia Pacific.

Commenting on the results overall, Lisa added: “As predicted last year, it is the firms we have continued to see firms who can offer an international proposition to clients rise up the brand ranks, seize competitive advantage and win market share.”

To access the Acritas Asia Pacific Law Firm Brand Index: 'Beyond the Index Results'  webcast and discover the market trends driving change, as well as to hear from the leadership of the fastest growing brands in the past, please register to receive your link here

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