Why clients and Generation Y are turning away from clever branding

It’s official. Clients are becoming oblivious to law firm branding, as they turn their focus to expertise, quality of service and relationships instead.

Evidence of this change was present in Acritas’ 2015 US law firm brand index, which showed Skadden at the top of an increasingly crowded list for the fourth time. The same trend last year saw magic circle firms losing ground in global brand rankings to Norton Rose Fulbright and DLA Piper.

But clients aren’t the only ones who have put brand influence aside. Our cover story this week shows that Generation Y law students really don’t care about branding these days. Because there is little perceived difference in working for one law firm or another, the new generation of lawyers use different criteria to make their choice, instead judging a firm by its corporate responsibility or the “vision” it is able to convey.

That vision, as our feature shows, means a focus on buzzwords like ‘clients’, ‘global’ and ‘teamwork’ – underlining that the interaction between in-house and external lawyers is what really matters these days.

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