Here are the top law firm brands in Canada

One of the Seven Sisters still reigns supreme

Here are the top law firm brands in Canada

One of Canada’s Seven Sisters still reigns supreme as the country’s top law firm brand.

Blake, Cassels & Graydon has retained its perfect score for the third year to yet again top Acritas’ “Canadian Law Firm Brand Index” for 2018.

The index, which is now on its seventh year in Canada, measures law firm brand strength by analysing top-of-mind awareness, favourability, consideration for top-level deals and for litigation, overall usage among Canadian organizations, and usage among multinational firms with interests in Canada.

Blakes leads in this year’s index by being the most considered firm for major M&A and continuing to rise in consideration for top-level litigation across the country. McCarthy Tétrault, which dropped a point, still retained the second spot. Stikeman Elliott, Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF), Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG), and Torys all increase their brand strength, Acritas revealed.

Here are this year’s top 10:

Source: Acritas

Last year’s top 10 were:

  1. Blakes – 100

  2. McCarthy Tétrault – 85

  3. Stikeman Elliot – 76

  4. Fasken Martineau  – 74

  1. Norton Rose Fulbright – 74

  1. Osler Hoskin & Harcourt – 64

  2. Borden Ladner Gervais – 59

  3. Torys – 58

  4. Dentons – 43

  5. Gowling WLG – 41

The biggest drop was experienced by 700-lawyer firm Fasken, which rebranded from Fasken Martineau in December.

“While the firms making up the top ten have been consistent since the Index was first published in 2012, we see a lot of change further down the list, which reflects clients’ evolving needs,” said Lizzy Duffy, Acritas vice president. “Three major market forces that are shaping the way clients work with law firms are reflected in our research findings. These are globalization, a continued drive for value and a shift to lawyers who bring a business perspective.”

Alternative legal brand
Acritas has also released its “Canadian Alternative Legal Brand Index,” crowning Axiom. It is followed by Thomson Reuters and Deloitte Legal.

Source: Acritas

Axiom stood out to clients because of its flexible model, a willingness to co-locate with clients, and for its effective use of technology, Acritas said.

“Competition in the near future will include non-traditional legal advisors or businesses and firms’ strategies needs to start addressing this now,” Duffy said.

Data gathered by Acritas showed that alternative legal service providers are achieving half the brand strength of Canadian law firms. The company expects these providers’ brand positioning to most likely change over time as they gain credibility.

Globalisation and dropping the ball on innovation
This year’s index reflects the impact of globalisation on the legal landscape in Canada, Acritas said.

“In 2012, Canadian firms together held 85% of total brand equity available in the market and global firms just 3%. Now the Canadian firm share has dropped to 69% in this year’s Index while global firm share has increased eight-fold to 25%,” the legal market intelligence firm wrote.

Clients are also now taking the lead on innovation as law firms are not changing quickly enough to enhance efficiency and value, as reflected in client satisfaction benchmarks conducted by Acritas, Duffy said.

“Four in 10 departments are innovating and three in 10 work with innovative legal service suppliers,” she said. “Clients are moving to hire lawyers who bring a business perspective. In Canada, being practical and pragmatic is the most differentiating quality of exceptional lawyers from the client’s perspective and business understanding is an area that clients think outside counsel need to improve.”

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