法律服务市场研究机构Acritas近日公布了2020年亚太律师事务所品牌指数榜单,榜单中列出了亚太地区品牌价值排名前十的律师事务所。在新冠疫情的影响下,今年亚太市场出现了不少起律所退出某一市场或削减律师数量的事件,但可以看到大型本土律所纷纷展现出了极强的市场占有率及持久力。

Law Firm Brand Index 2020今年占据榜首的是金杜律师事务所,排名第二的则是贝克·麦坚时国际律师事务所。Acritas调研发现,两家律所过去一年在亚太地区的品牌指数都有所增长。

这两家律所被形容为“市场驱动者”,不断积极强化着自己在公司法务心目中的存在感和受欢迎程度。

“商业环境极具不确定性。当客户在变动的全球格局中寻找新业务机会时,他们往往会选择最信赖的律所作为合作伙伴。他们期待找到能够持续提供高质量法律意见和卓越服务的律师——本年度的榜单正反映了这一点。”金杜律师事务所全球管理合伙人阚思思律师在一份声明中说,“金杜的机遇在于持续在本土市场打造提供高质量服务的声誉,并成为涉及复杂跨境业务时,客户第一时间想到的律所,从而为服务和专业性设定新的全球标准。”

排名第三的是史密夫斐尔律师事务所,这也是该所连续第七年占据该榜单的探花位置。不久前,这家律所刚刚任命坐标中国香港特别行政区的欧智乐律师(Justin D’Agostino)为新一任行政总裁,这一举动用行动证明了该所对于亚太市场的关注,在过去几年中,该所在战略层面也不断向亚太市场倾斜。

今年的榜单也呈现出了当野心与付出调和在一起时所能产生的化学反应,在一些极具竞争性的市场,某些律所正在不断赢得新客户的认同。继2019年进入前十后,总部设立于北京的中伦律师事务所展现出了超凡实力,在2020年登上了第四名的位置。在中国,这家律所不断塑造着自己在极具影响力的诉讼及高价值工作方面的声誉。

另一家彰显实力的律所则是大成律师事务所,它攀升了13位,来到第五名的位置。Acritas调研发现,在过去18个月里,这家律所在中国的品牌受青睐度和顶尖交易承担率方面都出现了飞跃。

韩国金·张律师事务所连续第三年占据了第六名的位置。作为韩国律师人数最多的律所,该所的杰出成绩在去年的ALB韩国法律大奖上得以彰显:它捧回了六座奖杯,是当晚最大的赢家。

排名第七的是总部位于北京的君合律师事务所。安理国际律师事务所表现同样亮眼——它攀升了7位,来到了第八名的位置。

森・滨田松本法律事务所今年仍旧榜上有名,同样进入前十的日本律所还有向上攀升了3位的西村朝日律师事务所。过去几年,西村朝日在美国、欧洲及亚洲其他国家展现了极快的扩张速度。

年利达律师事务所同样表现优异:它向上迈进了5位,今年排名第九。

逆向而生

支撑今年榜单结果的最大主题或趋势之一,当然是席卷全球的新冠疫情。Acritas发现,虽然服务质量、专业度和职业性仍旧是在亚洲市场维持强有力品牌地位的驱动因素,但受疫情引发的冲击和不确定性影响,如今客户需要的能力类型正在发生变化。

伴随法律服务市场的积极迎战,“我们发现客户正在向最受信赖的品牌簇拥——职业性、服务态度、律所声誉的重要性今年都有大幅提升。”Acritas说。

因此,今年可见的最明显趋势是:那些能够在不确定时期交付客户想要的结果,并因此获得极佳声誉的律所能够脱颖而出。

另一个趋势,则是客户愈发青睐能够在它们探索国际市场时提供战略性支持的律所。

“在受调查的22个国家中,超过80%的高端法律服务购买者需要国际性法律服务支持。随着监管图景以不同方式、按不同速度变化,能够真正以国际化视角理解客户挑战的律所成为了最无价的合作伙伴。”Acritas说。

第三大趋势,则是中国在亚太地区扮演的角色不断强化。

“在过去18个月里,中国的GDP、全球2000大上市企业(Forbes 2000)总部数量、外聘法律服务平均金额都在强劲增长。从国际视角解读,中国在该地区法律服务层面的影响力和重要性都极强。”Acritas说。

**自2014年起,Acritas开始针对律所品牌指数进行深度调研,根据多元发展因素总结出不同律所的品牌价值。2019年,Acritas被汤森路透收购。


Domestic law firms stand strong in Acritas’ 2020 APAC brand index
 

Legal insights firm Acritas has unveiled its Asia-Pacific Law Firm Brand Index 2020, revealing the top 10 law firms in the region by brand value. While the pandemic has triggered retreats from some markets, or the shedding of headcount, larger domestic firms have shown their market dominance and staying power in the index.

Taking the top spot this year was Sino-Australian firm King & Wood Mallesons, and it was followed closely by Baker McKenzie, last year’s top firm. Both law firms have grown their brand equity across the region over the past year, Acritas research found.

The firms were referred to as “powerhouses,” intent on growing their presence and popularity among in-house counsel.

“These are uncertain times for business. As our clients navigate shifting global dynamics and pursue new opportunities to strengthen their business, they are turning to the firms they trust the most. They are seeking advisers who consistently deliver high-quality legal advice and exceptional service - and this is reflected in this year’s rankings,” said Sue Kench, global chief executive of KWM in a statement. “The opportunity for KWM is to continue to build on our reputation for quality in our local markets and become the go-to firm in the region for complex cross-border work, setting a new global standard for service and expertise.”

One place down was Anglo-Australian firm Herbert Smith Freehills, which held onto the third spot for the seventh consecutive year. The firm, which recently appointed an Asia-based CEO in Justin D’Agostino, has reaffirmed its commitment to the market both vocally and through strategic moves over the past few years.

This year’s rankings also show what happens when strong ambition and dedication come together, as firms in competitive markets continue to win the confidence of new clients. After breaking into the top 10 in 2019, Beijing headquartered firm Zhong Lun showed off its impressive credentials by climbing three places into the fourth position in 2020. The firm has enhanced its reputation for top-level litigation and high-value work in China.

Another impressive trade-up saw Dentons climb 13 positions to fifth place. The firm has significantly increased its brand favourability and consideration for top-level work in China in the last 18 months, according to Acritas.

South Korean law firm Kim & Chang held onto the sixth position for the third consecutive year. The largest law firm in South Korea by headcount, Kim & Chang has gained recognition for its work at the Asian Legal Business Korea Law Awards last year, taking home six trophies – the biggest haul of the night.

Following Kim & Chang was Beijing headquartered JunHe at seventh, while Allen & Overy also had a strong year, moving up seven places to eighth spot.

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto, meanwhile, maintained its top 10 presence and was joined in the list by another Japan firm – Nishimura and Asahi – which climbed up three places. Nishimura & Asahi has expanded rapidly in the U.S., Europe and other Asian countries in the past year or so.

Linklaters also showed an impressive rise, stepping up five places in the rankings this year.

RISING TO THE CHALLENGE

Among the key themes and trends that underpinned this year’s results were firms’ responses to the global COVID-19 pandemic. While quality, expertise and professionalism have always been key drivers of a strong brand proposition throughout Asia, disruption and uncertainty triggered by the pandemic created a shift in the types of qualities clients gravitated towards, Acritas said.

While legal departments have fought hard, “we have seen a definite flight towards brands that clients trust the most – professionalism, service, and reputation have all increased in importance across 2020,” the firm found

As a result, a visible trend which emerged was that firms that were able to leverage premium reputations for delivering results to clients in uncertain times, had a strong advantage.

Another trend that was valued was the ability to strategically support clients as they navigate international markets.

“Over 80 percent of senior buyers across the region need international support across an average of 22 countries. As the regulatory landscape has shifted – often in different ways and at different rates – firms who have been able to take a truly international view of client’s challenges have proved to be invaluable partners,” said Acritas.

The third significant trend impacting the 2020 results was the increasing value of China within the region.

“In the last 18 months we have seen GDP, the number of Forbes 2000 companies headquartered in the country and average levels external legal spend all grow at a very strong rate. From an international perspective - China’s influence and importance to the region from a legal perspective is huge,” said Acritas.

Since 2014, Acritas has carried out in-depth research into law firm brands, proving comprehensive information into developments around law firm brand value. In 2019, the research firm was acquired by Thomson Reuters.

 

To contact the editorial team, please email ALBEditor@thomsonreuters.com.