A new firm tops the U.S. Law Firm Brand Index this year: Latham & Watkins. Compiled annually by Thomson Reuters, the 2022 index saw considerable reshuffling among the top 10 brands.

Kirkland & Ellis sits in the second spot, and Skadden rose to the third spot. Ranking fourth is Baker McKenzie, which rose five spots from its 2021 position. Ranking fifth is Sidley Austin, which rose two spots from last year.

Rounding out the top 10 are Jones Day, DLA Piper, Gibson Dunn, Morgan Lewis, and Alston & Bird. Gibson Dunn is the only firm in the top 10 to maintain its position – eighth – from last year’s index.

The top 20 saw several ties as well as the biggest riser in the index, Winston & Strawn, which soared to tie for the 16th spot with Norton Rose Fulbright. Two other firms – Sullivan & Cromwell and Ropes & Gray – made significant jumps to place in the top 15.

From a brand perspective, the factor gaining most in importance in the 2022 index was clients’ need for fast, trustworthy advice from their external counsel.

“The rapid-response aspect of legal work was increasingly important to clients, especially as in-house lawyer workloads continue to increase,” explained Jen Dezso, director, Research and Client Relations, Thomson Reuters. “Lawyers’ availability has become a significant brand differentiator; 65% of U.S. general counsel surveyed said they expect to be able to reach their external lawyers at all times — even if there’s not an emergency.”

The U.S. Law Firm Brand Index reflects which firms are upper-most in clients’ minds. It’s based on data compiled from a Sharplegal market research study of the global legal market across 55 countries with more than 2,000 senior in-house counsel, as well as 692 interviews that were conducted with senior legal buyers in the United States. It also takes into account the views of an additional 160 non-U.S.-based senior legal buyers who were asked which firms they used for their U.S.-based legal needs.

Check out the U.S. Law Firm Brand Index and download the complete Regional Law Firm Brand Indexes 2022 report.

Follow Legal Current over the next few weeks for further insights on regional indexes for the UK, Mainland Europe, Canada, and Asia Pacific.