Acritas Asia Pacific Law Firm Brand Index: Amid the pandemic, 2 law firms dominate

Topics: Acritas, Asia Pacific, Global Market, Law Firm Profitability, Law Firms, Leadership, Legal Demand, Thomson Reuters


Despite the disruption around the world caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, two powerhouse large law firms — King & Wood Mallesons and Baker McKenzie — dominate the top of the just-released Asia Pacific Law Firm Brand Index 2020 report, with just two points separating these firms.

Both firms were able to draw on their own unique propositions and strategies to gain legal buyer trust, whether that’s through service quality, professional delivery, or firm reputation, according to Thomson Reuters Acritas, which published the Index.

Indeed, this is Acritas’ first Index to be published which includes opinions gathered since COVID-19 took hold across the world — and its impact on the results is clear. In what has been a tumultuous year for law firms, those who adapted by leveraging their key offerings for clients have been able to better weather the storm.

While King & Wood Mallesons reigns supreme in this year’s Index, with strong growth in top-level work consideration and overall usage, the Index also demonstrated the importance of navigating international markets. “As countries have had to close their borders and international travel ground to a stand-still, firms have really had to collaborate in new and innovative ways to provide a consistent service to clients — and the benefits are clear,” says David Johnson, U.K. Account Director at Thomson Reuters.

You can download a full copy of the Acritas Asia Pacific Law Firm Brand Index 2020 here.

Firms who collaborate across five or more offices to serve a single client can expect to receive on average 33% more of the client’s legal spend, according to Acritas’ most recent Sharplegal findings. Looking at the rest of the Index, Herbert Smith Freehills holds third position for the seventh consecutive year. Buyers are drawn to a combination of the firm’s high quality, technical excellence, and its commitment to understanding clients’ business needs and pressures.

While COVID-19 has been hugely disruptive to operations, early signs are that the need for legal support within China is stronger than ever and set to increase. It is unsurprising then that China also plays a crucial role in shaping this year’s Index. Zhong Lun — one of the largest full-service law firms in China — has improved on last year’s incredible growth and now sits in fourth position. The biggest mover in this year’s Index, Dentons, has climbed 13 positions to fifth place, a move driven by significant increases in brand favorability and consideration for its top-level work in China over the last 18 months.

Elsewhere, Kim & Chang holds the sixth position for the third consecutive year, with JunHe, sitting in seventh. Allen & Overy have had a very strong year, moving up to eighth overall, after seeing its growth underpinned by Hong Kong’s financial institutions. Mori Hamada places ninth, while the only other Magic Circle firm to sit in the top 10, Linklaters, has also seen good growth, and sits tied in the 10th position along with Japan’s Nishimura & Asahi.