Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

Jones Day is Top Law Firm Brand in US

If you want some pointers on how to brand your law firm, look no further than Jones Day.

The BigLaw behemoth is the strongest law firm brand in the U.S., according to an industry survey.

“Jones Day hit all the high marks in the areas that matter most,” writes Lizzy Duffy of Acritas US, which conducted the survey. “They can offer clients breadth and international reach alongside a consistent performance in terms of quality and service. Their efforts really resonate with clients and others in the industry.”

The survey was conducted by the legal industry research firm Acritas, which has been compiling its U.S. Law Firm Brand Index since 2012.

Data for the 2018 survey came from 601 interviews with respondents with senior responsibility for buying legal services for $1 billion+ revenue organizations across the US, as well as 176 non-US-based senior counsel who were asked which firms they used for their US-based legal needs.

The Index uses five metrics to gauge brand strength: top of mind awareness, favorability, consideration for top-level deals and litigation, overall usage among U.S.-based clients and inbound usage among international clients. Firms receive points in each of these categories and are assigned a total score. The firm with the most points sets the Index at 100. All other scores are calculated from this.

Read the 2018 US Law Firm Brand Index here.

Tops Brands Getting Stronger

Jones Day - with 2,500 lawyers in 44 offices on five continents worldwide – reprised its number one performance in 2018 after placing second in previous years. Number two is Skadden, which preceded Jones Day in the top spot.

Competition among the contending firms is intense, as each tries to refine and expand its brand.

“Almost all of the Top 10 have strengthened overall or on individual metrics,” according to Acritas. “Firms with both a strong US presence and an international network are reaping rewards in terms of brand equity. However, those with market-leading ambitions will need to ensure they develop their proposition to resonate with clients evolving needs to succeed”

The survey identified 15 firms within five index points of making the Top 20 that are predicted to rise in brand strength in coming years. They are Baker Botts, BakerHostetler, Cravath, Davis Polk, Eversheds Sutherland, Gibson Dunn, Greenberg Traurig, Littler Mendelson, Orrick, Perkins Coie, Reed Smith, Seyfarth Shaw, Simpson Thacher, Vinson & Elkins, White & Case.

Competition From ASPs

In 2018, Acritas included for the first time data on alternative legal service brands. While no ASP cracked the Top 20, they pose a rising threat – most notably Axiom, which has tripled in size in four years – and are driving innovation in law firms.

“As clients look for ways to drive value in managing their legal work, the threat from alternatives will continue to rise,” writes Duffy. “For now law firms still have a richer brand profile. They are seen as authorities in so many more areas of expertise. The current advantage the alternatives have is centered around technology and process efficiency.”

Top 20 Law Firm Brands

Here are the Top 20 US law firm brands, along with their 2018 Brand Index Score:

  1. Jones Day (Brand Index 100)
  2. Skadden (85)
  3. Latham & Watkins (78)
  4. Sidley (70)
  5. Baker McKenzie (64)
  6. DLA Piper (61)
  7. Kirkland & Ellis (60)
  8. Morgan Lewis (59)
  9. Hogan Lovells (54)
  10. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz (48)
  11. K&L Gates (46)
  12. Norton Rose Fulbright (41)
  13. McDermott Will & Emery (38)
  14. Ropes & Gray (38)
  15. Weil (35)
  16. Sullivan & Cromwell (32)
  17. Mayer + Brown (30)
  18. King & Spalding (29)
  19. Dentons (28)
  20. Ogletree Deakins (28)


What about your brand? What steps can you take right now to strengthen it?


About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

Read More by Jay >

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