Local Knowlege and International Reach

How the Biggest Brands Are Winning the Battle for Asia Pacific’s Lucrative Workflows

Acritas' Asia Pacific Law Firm Brand Index 2014 

Rank

Firm

Brand Index

=1

King & Wood Mallesons

100

=1

Baker & McKenzie

100

3

Herbert Smith Freehills

70

4

Amarchand & Mangaldas

58

5

Linklaters

36

6

Kim & Chang

34

=7

Ashurst

32

=7

Norton Rose Fulbright

32

=9

Mori Hamada

30

=9

Allens

30

=9

DLA Piper

30

12

Allen & Overy

29

13

Jun He

28

14

AZB & Partners

27

=15

Jones Day

26

=15

Minter Ellison

26

=17

Clayton Utz

24

=17

Nishimura & Asahi

24

19

Clifford Chance

23

20

Allen & Gledhill

22

King & Wood Mallesons and Baker & McKenzie are the firms with the strongest brands in Acritas’ first Asia Pacific Law Firm Brand Index. The rankings are compiled from the views of senior general counsel in $50m+ revenue organizations based in or with needs in Asia Pacific.

King & Wood Mallesons’ top ranking has been secured on the back of high scores in all but two of the categories that make up the Index (see methodology below) with particularly high levels of awareness and favorability recorded in Australia and China. This result is testament to the success of its ground-breaking mergers over the past two years.

Baker & McKenzie’s position is founded on high levels of awareness across Asia Pacific more generally and its top consideration among in-house counsel for major M&A, multi-jurisdictional deals and litigation. The firm’s enviable international footprint allows it to provide seamless service across many borders simultaneously – representing important cost and time savings for clients.

Taking third place, Herbert Smith Freehills has benefited from strong awareness and favorability ratings in the Australian market as well as its elevated consideration scores among clients for top-level and multi-jurisdictional litigation. It has also reaped the rewards of the successful consolidation of its 2012 merger which has resulted in high levels of positive brand exposure over the last 18 months.

The sheer diversity and rapid globalisation of the Asia-Pacific legal market helps to explain the fascinating dynamic that exists between the powerful domestic firms and big international players trying to win, and in some cases hold on to their share of the immense opportunities that the world’s fastest growing legal market presents.

A prime example of this comes to light when we look beyond the top three within the overall rankings. Amarchand & Mangaldas has succeeded in building a brand in its home market of such strength that it ranks fourth in the overall Brand Index. (See table below for brand leaders in individual countries and regions of Asia Pacific). There is further good news for the Indian firm. Acritas’ Sharplegal data reveals that 50% of in-house counsel based in India anticipate an increase in their overall spend in the next 12 months. The portion of this spend allocated to external counsel is likely to remain within the country’s borders as the exclusion of foreign firms from practising in India is widely predicted to continue.

A further example of local dominance is Korean powerhouse Kim & Chang in sixth place. The firm which has built a reputation for service excellence and innovation is the primary player in a market where the third and final stage of liberalisation will not come into force until 2016 for European firms and 2017 for US firms.

Across the rest of the Asia Pacific region, it is clear from Sharplegal data that firms which are able to offer detailed local knowledge and full service international capabilities are in prime position to meet the complex needs of rapidly globalizing clients.

For many firms, achieving this position is a two-stage process of merger followed by cultural change to ensure that partners in the legacy domestic firm very quickly begin to operate with a new, internationally focused mind-set.

Strong leadership and detailed global key account programs are the secrets to success in creating a wide-ranging and streamlined service offering across the firm’s network. The challenge lies in remaining true to the brand while still providing the types of advice and levels of service expected by clients in individual countries.

The following Index ranks the strongest international law firm brands in Asia Pacific according to general counsel in $50m+ revenue companies with legal needs in the region.

Asia Pacific International Law Firm Brand Index 2014

Rank

Firm

Brand Index

=1

King & Wood Mallesons

100

=1

Baker & McKenzie

100

3

Herbert Smith Freehills

70

4

Linklaters

36

=5

Ashurst

32

=5

Norton Rose Fulbright

32

7

DLA Piper

30

8

Allen & Overy

29

9

Jones Day

26

10

Clifford Chance

23

The full Index results, when analyzed by country and region, look quite different to the overall and international firm Indexes. Nevertheless, with 83% of Sharplegal respondents saying that they have a need for international legal advice, global capability combined with domestic expertise and unstinting focus on client service continue to be the overriding factors in the success of the top players in these sub-Indexes.

Acritas’ Asia Pacific Law Firm Brand Index 2014 By Country/Region

 

China

Australia

India

Japan

Singapore

King & Wood Mallesons

Herbert Smith Freehills

Amarchand & Mangaldas

Mori Hamada

Allen & Gledhill

Commenting on the results, Sarah Chisman-Duffy, Director and Head of Asia Pacific at Acritas, said: “As in many other areas of the world, clients’ needs are becoming ever-more sophisticated through specialization, internationalization and the pressure to operate as business entities. As a result, clients in Asia Pacific are looking for firms which offer a mix of international and domestic expertise combined with the ability to manage costs, operate efficiently and provide innovative solutions. Attaining this exalted position is rewarded with some of the highest levels of client loyalty recorded across the world.”

 

Methodology: The Asia Pacific Law Firm Brand Index of domestic and international firms was compiled from the unprompted responses of 379 in-house counsel in organisations in Asia-Pacific with revenues over $50m US. In respect of domestic work, respondents were asked about their awareness of and favorability towards law firms; their consideration of firms for top-level litigation, major M&A, multi-jurisdictional deals and litigation; as well as their use of firms for high value work. Over 200 senior in-house counsel were asked which firms they used for their international legal needs within Asia Pacific i.e. work between countries within the region as well as incoming work from outside Asia Pacific.

To qualify for inclusion in the Asia Pacific International Law Firm Brand Index firms had to receive no more than 75% of their mentions from only one market.

Asia Pacific interviews were conducted in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, India and South East Asia – further in-depth country and region-specific data is available.

All Indexes are composed using data from Acritas’ annual Sharplegal study of the global legal market comprising 2,073 in-house counsel interviews worldwide.

For further information please contact:

Michelle Nesbitt-Burrell, Head of Brand Experience on +44(0) 808 178 3020 or

Jo Aitken, Director on +44(0) 808 178 3020 

 

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