Baker & McKenzie king of the global legal brands – but magic circle closes the gap

Baker & McKenzie has topped a table of leading international law firm brands for the third year running, but the rest of the top ten is rapidly catching up.

Gary Senior
Gary Senior

According to a table compiled by legal researcher Acritas, the gap between Baker & McKenzie, which has dominated the table of leading international law firm brands since its inception in 2009, and the rest of the top ten has closed considerably.

In a statement, Baker & McKenzie’s managing partner Gary Senior said: “As multinational companies expand their global presence, they are increasingly turning to law firms that have the global breadth and depth to provide high-quality advice and service with fluency across multiple jurisdictions. Our brand is a mark of distinction and a point of pride.”

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has overtaken Clifford Chance as the second most recognised international law firm brand, with a brand index score of 90.5, compared with Baker & McKenzie’s 100. Freshfields’ score last year was 67.3.

Trailing Freshfields in the top ten are Clifford Chance, Linklaters, Allen & Overy, Jones Day, Hogan Lovells, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, White & Case and DLA Piper.

CMS and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher are both new entrants to the top 20 this year. While Chinese firm King & Wood and Indian firm Amarchand & Mangaldas have both made considerable gains with their brands, both still remain outside the top 20.

The Sharplegal Global Elite Brand Index, compiled by Acritas, was determined by asking 963 general counsel from global elite companies (with a minimum revenue of $1bn) four questions: the first law firms that come to mind, the firms they feel most favourable towards, the firms most considered for multi-jurisdictional deals and the firms most considered for multi-jurisdictional litigation.

The Sharplegal Global Elite Brand Index

Rank Firm Score
1 Baker & McKenzie                                           100
2 Freshfields                                                        90.5
3 Clifford Chance                                                79.3
4 Linklaters                                                          67.2
5 Allen & Overy                                                       62.9
6 Jones Day                                                             47.6
7 Hogan Lovells                                                       46.7
8 Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom 43.1
9 White & Case                                                        41.1
10 DLA Piper                                                            39.7
11 Herbert Smith                                                      31.3
12 Slaughter and May                                             28.1
13 Sidley Austin                                                      24.7
14 CMS                                                                   23.6
15 Norton Rose                                                       23.3
16 Gibson Dunn & Crutcher                                   22.3
17 Latham & Watkins                                             21.6
18 Sullivan & Cromwell                                         20.5
19 Shearman & Sterling                                          19.9
20 Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton                     19.4