Amid a growing demand for law firms with strong international capabilities, Baker McKenzie took the number one slot on the Acritas 2017 Asia Pacific Law Firm Brand Index, with the firm receiving top scores for its multi-jurisdictional work.
Asia Pacific legal buyers spend nearly half their budget on resources outside their home country, and the pace of spending is expected to accelerate with growth in the region, according to Acritas.
The annual Acritas Asia Pacific Law Firm Brand Index was first launched in 2014, and uses multiple metrics to reveal the strongest law firm brands in the minds of clients. The 2017 Index is based on 491 interviews with senior in-house counsel at organizations in 11 countries that collectively spend about $1.8 billion on legal services annually.
“Compared to other parts of the world, the Asia Pacific region has the highest potential to increase its legal spending,” said David Johnson, head of Acritas’ London office. “The challenge for global firms is to figure out how to compete: lower local rates mean that firms must deliver quality service efficiently, and adjust rates and revenue expectations to align with what the local market can bear.”
The Top 10 Asia Pacific Law Firm Brands
Baker McKenzie earned its top spot for its international work in multiple jurisdictions, with 84% of legal buyers in this region having international needs, Baker McKenzie is the top firm considered for work that covers three or more jurisdictions. The firm also received high marks for major M&A work.
Check out the Acritas Asia Pacific Law Firm Brand Index 2017
Last year’s top firm, King & Wood Mallesons, slipped to second but remains the most popular legal brand among the region’s chief legal buyers. The law firm is also considered for high-value work more than any other firm in the Asia Pacific region.
Innovation, Consistency & Clear Strategy are Must-Haves
This year, more Asia Pacific businesses expect an increase in their overall and international legal spend than other parts of the world, Acritas research shows. Law firms seeking to capitalize on this may need to shift away from high hourly partner rates and use innovative alternative delivery structures in order to be profitable.
Asia Pacific clients also place a premium on consistency, since many of their legal needs span multiple geographic borders. Law firms do best when their team serves the client as one unit, and builds multi-tiered firm-client relationships.
Acritas research also shows that law firms have a variety of pathways to success in the Asia Pacific region. Some firms are winning clients and repeat business with a guarantee of top premium quality, whereas others are proving themselves to be worthy cross-border partners. Local independent firms are gaining credibility and size, and are emerging as strong competitors in an evolving market. Whatever strategy a firm chooses, the key is to articulate it clearly and stick with it.
“The Asia Pacific region is incredibly diverse, and accordingly, service expectations differ widely among clients,” said Acritas’ Johnson. “Law firms that succeed in this part of the world understand and account for these nuances.”