In-housers name Freshfields and Herbies as most popular brands

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is the most popular legal brand in London and the UK among general counsels, research by Acritas claims.

The research, based on responses of 344 senior general counsel in UK organisations with revenues over £25m reveals Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) and Freshfields as the big winners in the capital having climbed to the top spots.

Freshfields jumped to pole position for law firm brands in the UK, overtaking Eversheds, Pinsent Masons and Linklaters as well as clinging onto its top spot position as top law firm brand in London for the second year running.

Acritas said the firm’s success was due to its volume of high-value work and high scores for major M&A work. The organisation said the steady rise in deal volumes throughout 2013 helped pave the way for Freshfields’ success in snaring high-value work in the financial services sector. 

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has also made dramatic headway on the back of its merger in late 2012. The firm is now joint fourth position in the UK and jumped two places to come second in brand recognition in the City. This year the firm received twice as many mentions as its nearest competitor for top-level litigation, boosting its position in the rankings.

Hogan Lovells has also appeared in the London top ten after only making it into the UK ranking last year. Now the firm sits at tenth position in the City ranking.

However magic circle rivals Linklaters, Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy have not fared as well cross the UK, with Clifford Chance dropping in the UK listing from fifth place to eighth this year in the UK index and Linklaters slipping three to end up in sixth place. Allen & Overy last year came fifth in the City table but this year only reached eight spot. It did managed to hold on to ninth spot in the UK law firm index however.

DLA Piper received plaudits from GCs for their global footprint, scoring particularly well among GCs for high-valye and inbound UK work. The firm was heralded as a commercially-minded firm and Acritas CEO Lisa Hart Shepherd said: “Clients are much more willing to try new options, led by the need for specialist expertise and the drive for value. This is putting those firms which are clear about their market positioning at a considerable advantage.

”Time-pressed in-house teams have little opportunity to seek firms out of obscurity and naturally gravitate towards those which have established a reputation for client service excellence and sector expertise.”

For the research GCs were asked about their awareness of and favourability towards law firms, their consideration of firms for top-level litigation and major M&A as well as their use of firms for high value and inbound work. A further 120 senior in-house counsel outside the UK were asked which firms they used for their legal needs in the UK.

Acritas’ London law firm brand index 2014

Rank Firm Brand Index

1

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

100

2

Herbert Smith Freehills

96.3

3

Slaughter and May

91.8

4

Linklaters

85.6

5

Clifford Chance

78.6

6

Baker & McKenzie

54.4

7

DLA Piper

53.2

8

Allen & Overy

52.7

9

Norton Rose Fulbright

49.9

10

Hogan Lovells

46.8

Acritas’ UK law firm brand index 2014

Rank Firm Brand Index

1

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

100

2

Eversheds

97.4

3

Pinsent Masons

92.3

4

Herbert Smith Freehills

85.6

5

DLA Piper

85.6

6

Linklaters

79.8

7

Slaughter and May

78.4

8

Clifford Chance

71.1

9

Allen & Overy

69.7

10

Baker & McKenzie

56.7

11

CMS

47.9

12

Norton Rose Fulbright

40.6

13

Hogan Lovells

40.0

14

Addleshaw Goddard

32.6

15

Squire Sanders

30.9