Acritas’ UK Law Firm Brand Index 2020 Shows Impact of Brexit and Technology on Legal Market

Acritas, now part of Thomson Reuters, announces the 2020 UK Law Firm Brand Index. The Index shows a definite shift in the priorities and key markets for legal buyers as the UK exits the EU. Last year, the results showed Brexit was changing the focus of legal buying patterns in the 2019 UK Law Firm Brand Index.  

It’s not just Brexit disrupting the legal market, awareness and favorability towards Alternative Legal Service Providers have increased in the last 12 months. Clients are reacting positively to the flexible technology, talent and process support solutions being developed by providers such as Elevate and Axiom.  

David Johnson, UK Account Director at Thomson Reuters, explains; “there are definite signs that both clients and law firms are starting to embrace the technology revolution in the UK after lagging behind other global legal markets. Firms who are adopting it and embedding it as part of their offer to clients are experiencing an uplift in satisfaction and advocacy from clients.”  

As legal technology, alternative delivery models, geopolitics and a global pandemic distort and disrupt the needs and expectations of the traditional corporate legal market, buyers in the UK are demanding much more from their law firms. Acritas’ UK Law Firm Brand Index measures the law firms with the strongest brands and the different ways in which they are standing out for clients in these uncertain times. 

The Index also shows that competition has grown immensely, with fewer points separating the top 20 firms in this year’s Index than ever before. This year’s top firms:  

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang’s, rose to the top of the table, while  

Pinsent Masons ranks second once again. Eversheds Sutherland takes third position in the Index, boasting more brand awareness than any other firm in the UK market and DLA Piper maintains its position in the fourth spot.   

The rest of the top 10 is made up of heavyweight law firms that clients go to when the stakes are high. Favorability among these firms is driven by high quality and expertise, and all six dominate clients’ minds when it comes to consideration for top-level M&A and litigation.     

Outside of the top 10, we see good growth for Norton Rose Fulbright, Bird & Bird and Dentons – it is the first time Dentons has entered the UK Law Firm Brand Index top 20 since the Index began.     

Despite much uncertainty, it is true to say that UK buyers in 2020 want a safe pair of hands, with the strategic knowledge and commercial thinking to help navigate growth and uncertainty, whilst demonstrating flexibility, efficiency, value and an uncompromising approach to client service. 



For more information about Acritas and its UK Law Firm Brand Index, please contact:

David Johnson on +44(0) 808 178 3020 /


Sarah Thompson on +44(0) 808 178 3020 / 



Acritas’ UK Law Firm Brand Index 2020 is compiled from analysis of data extracted from the Sharplegal 2019 survey database. Data is derived from 253 interviews with respondents, in £25m+ revenue organisations across the UK and 175 interviews with global buyers who have needs in the UK, who have senior responsibility for buying legal services.

All interviewing was undertaken by Acritas in strict accordance with the rules governing best practice in research. No law firm or other third party had any involvement in selecting sample, analysing or influencing responses or the Index rankings.

The Acritas UK Law Firm Brand Index is determined through five open-ended questions from the full Sharplegal survey to find out from senior legal buyers:
Top of mind awareness
Consideration for top-level litigation
Consideration for major M&A
Most used overall

The Index also takes into account the views of a further 175 non-UK-based senior counsel who were asked which firms they used for their UK-based legal needs.

Incorporating over 50 questions, the full Sharplegal survey is an independent and robust market research study of the current legal market that generates data and insight on law firm brands, usage, market trends, spend, international needs and buyer behaviour, available by subscription only. Now in its 13th year, the study provides access to 12 years of benchmarking data from over 23,000 interviews.

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