Germany crucial to law firm growth in Acritas’ Europe Brand Index 2019

Having been through a period of relative economic growth and stability, Europe is being battered by economic forces from without and within. Domestic growth in the powerhouse economies of Europe is being hit by US/China friction and all the uncertainty created by Brexit. Notwithstanding this, our 2019 European Brand Index shows global law firms exploiting growth opportunities in Europe – and success in Germany emerges as the crucial factor.

Domestic spend is flat in many parts of Europe, but leading law firms are able to capitalise on cross border activity.  In Germany in particular, 40% of multinationals expect their legal spend into the country to grow this year. Small wonder then that international law firms have increased their presence and that the leading independent German firms appear high up in our index overall.

Baker McKenzie has maintained its lead at the top of the European Index. The firm continues to generate favourability across Europe by leveraging its global coverage and experience to generate more cross-border consideration than any other firm. Moreover, in 2019 the firm has extended its lead at the top by increasingly being considered for clients’ top-level work, especially in Germany and the Netherlands.

Constanze Ulmer-Eilfort, EMEA Chair of Baker McKenzie, commented; “We are incredibly proud to be recognised as the leading law firm brand in continental Europe. We are very grateful to our clients and to Acritas for acknowledging the work our people do every day, which is the foundation of our brand strength.

Linklaters remains in second place despite a drop-in points.

CMS has moved up 4 places in this year’s index to 3rd overall. Amidst the uncertainty created by Brexit, the firm is popular with clients for its ability combine specialist, technical knowledge with a practical and pragmatic approach to problems. The firm has also leveraged its European network very well, increasing its consideration for multi-jurisdictional litigation and deals, and increasingly becoming a firm that clients look to for their support into Germany, France and Italy.

Pierre-Sébastien Thill, CMS Chairman, commented; “Today, clients have much higher expectations of their law firms. At CMS, we expand into new territories, innovate, develop technology and create agile expert teams to reflect client demand and the ways in which they are transforming their businesses. We are therefore especially proud to see our work recognised in the market. It shows that we are succeeding in our efforts to provide our clients with the highest quality of service and advice.”

DLA Piper has maintained 4th position this year and continues to draw favour from clients for the firm’s global connectivity and strong approach to client service.

Elsewhere in the top 10 both White & Case and Dentons have climbed 1 position, moving to 8th and 10th respectively.

Outside of the top 10 Gleiss Lutz’s focus on service and high levels of expertise appeals to German General Counsel, with the firm excelling as the most used in the country for high value work.

Norton Rose Fulbright have had a very strong year climbing 9 positions to 12th. The firm has grown its brand awareness, favourability and usage – particularly within Germany and Italy.

Jones Day moved into the top 20 on the back of increasing its favourability and consideration for top-level M&A and multi-jurisdictional deals across the continent.

Bird and Bird, Eversheds Sutherland and Herbert Smith Freehills all maintain their positions as top International firms across the continent.

Hengeler Mueller, Uría Menendez, BonelliErede and Garrigues complete the top 20 illustrating the potency of leadership in any of the biggest European economies.

Jo Summers, Acritas Director said; “An exciting year for growth and movement as firms continue to think about the impact of Brexit and invest in Europe power.  Delighted to see firms moving up through their investment in talent and more sophisticated client development and marketing.”


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

Laura Smith on +44(0) 808 178 3020 or email 


Jo Summers on +44(0) 808 178 3020 or email

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