KWM, Bakers and HSF have strongest brands in Asia, research finds

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) and Baker & McKenzie have topped a survey of Asia-Pacific general counsel aimed at identifying the firms with the strongest brands in the region.

Legal research company Acritas compiled the responses of 379 in-house counsel working in organisations with revenues of $50m or more. Those working in Australia and China in particular scored KWM highly on levels of awareness and favourability.

Baker & McKenzie had the joint strongest brand overall while Herbert Smith Freehills, created via the October 2012 merger of Herbert Smith with Australia’s Freehills (28 June 2012), ranked third.

Acritas head of Asia Pacific Sarah Chisman-Duffy said KWM had done particularly well because in-house counsel had viewed its mergers over the past two years as a success. China’s King & Wood merged with Australia’s Malleson Stephens Jacques, once touted as a possible partner for Clifford Chance (8 December 2008), in 2012 and the enlarged firm merged with the UK’s SJ Berwin in November last year (31 October 2013).

While KWM’s ranking was based on opinions in Australia and China specifically, Bakers did well due to high levels of awareness across Asia Pacific more generally. The firm was also rated for its capabilities on major M&A, multi-jurisdictional deals and litigation. Clients mentioned that the firm’s international footprint allowed it to provide a seamless service that resulted in cost and time savings.

HSF scored well on awareness and favourability but was also singled out for its expertise on top-level, multi-jurisdictional litigation.

Interviews for the survey were carried out in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, India and South East Asia.