Jones Day had the strongest brand of any law firm in the U.S. for the third year in a row, according to a new survey.
The rankings are based on feedback from hundreds of senior legal buyers in-house at organizations across the country. They are asked to rate law firms on criteria such as how often clients use the firms, whether they view the firms favorably, and if they turn to them for big ticket matters.
Right behind Jones Day in the rankings by only two index points was Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
A spokesperson for Acritas noted that the gap between first and second firms has narrowed year over year “mainly because other firms are catching up to Jones Day rather than Jones Day losing ground.”
Jones Day has more than 2,500 lawyers based on five continents.
“We work closely with our clients to learn their businesses, objectives, and needs. We then collaborate closely together to develop solutions that meet those needs,” Glen Nager, client affairs partner at Jones Day, said in an email. “We are proud that our work continues to resonate with our clients.”
Jones Day has also been noted for its connections to the Trump administration, as several firm attorneys have gone to work there. But according to Acritas, there’s nothing in the data to suggest that these connections have affected the firm’s score.
“The strongest U.S. brands tend to share some common characteristics including: full service offering, national reach, international practice. Jones Day is a great example of this,” Lizzy Duffy, vice president of Acritas US, told Bloomberg Law. “When clients explain why they favor the firm, they talk about the quality and range of services — both geographically, across the U.S. and internationally, and in terms of practice breadth. We frequently hear about the strength of institutional relationships between the client company and the firm.”
Right behind Jones Day and Skadden Arps in the rankings were Morgan Lewis, Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins, Baker McKenzie, Hogan Lovells, DLA Piper, and Sullivan & Cromwell.
There were also nine firms that came within three points of cracking the top 20, including Cravath, Swaine & Moore, Debevoise & Plimpton, Dentons, Eversheds Sutherland, Greenberg Traurig, Littler Mendelson, Ogletree Deakins, Reed Smith, and Vinson & Elkins, according to a preliminary briefing prepared for Bloomberg Law by Acritas.
The “biggest risers” include Sullivan & Cromwell, which moved up 26 index points from in the last report, and Morgan Lewis, which had a 25-point increase.
According to Acritas, many of the firms that gained the most brand traction in this edition of the survey are from the AmLaw50, mirroring the broader trend of firms in this category growing faster than those lower down on the AmLaw rankings.
The legal research group also noted that law firms with prominent M&A practices stood out in the survey. This follows along with one of Acritas’ previous forecasts—that a trend of growth in legal spend in 2018 would be driven in large part by companies engaging in more M&A work.