Few terms have been more misunderstood by law firms than branding. Yet unlike TQM or reengineering – management concepts of the ’80s and ’90s that made sense in business but never gained much traction among lawyers – branding is clearly taking hold as a core reason buyers select law firms.
Several studies confirm the importance of branding. In the US and Canada, client surveys conducted by Altman Weil for corporate law firms have shown that the firm’s brand and reputation are the second most important reason clients select law firms, only exceeded by the reputation of the individual attorney. The factor has doubled in importance over the past two years. Equally important, a recent study in the UK concluded that brand recognition in professional service firms is worth a 10 to 20 percent premium in fees. Arguably, “magic circle” firms in London, which have long enjoyed a strong brand identity, command even higher fee premiums.