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Clifford Chance named best law firm in list of business brands

Posted by: Laurence Simons 07/03/13

Branding matters. Shakespeare posited that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but the Bard's argument doesn't necessarily convince - if it was called a shlup, or a morgellon, you might at the very least think twice about putting it to your nose.

And that's the fundamental truth of branding - it doesn't matter if you have the best service in the world, if your brand is associated with something negative nobody is ever going to find out how good it is.

For instance, if Starbucks hadn't named its company after a character from Moby Dick and decked it out in faux-jumble furniture, people would think of it as the corporate behemoth they are rather than a friendly neighbourhood coffee-shop.

So private practice lawyers at Clifford Chance will be pleased to see it has been named the top law firm in the annual Superbrands list, which ranks UK business brands based on the opinions of consumers, analysts and experts.

According to Legal Week, the firm came in at 241st, a 61-position drop from last year but a placing that nonetheless left it ahead of rival company Linklaters, which was the highest-ranked legal organisation in 2012.

This follows the news that Clifford Chance has launched a mixed local and foreign lawyer partnership in Saudi Arabia, making it the first international business to do so in the region.

All the law companies named in the poll failed to trouble leaders such as Apple, British Airways, Google and Virgin, but given the massive amounts of exposure these kind of organisations receive compared to law firms, this is hardly unexpected.

More intriguing is the fact that the Law Society was once again ranked ahead of all law firms in the list, presumably because it is considered to be untrammelled by the trappings of commerce. It took 125th place, down from last year's ranking of 69th.

There were a few new entries to the chart, too, with Norton Rose (364), Pinsent Masons (476), Clyde & Co (484) and CMS Cameron McKenna (493 all making their debut.

Peter Martyr, chief executive of Norton Rose, told the news provider: "This is great news and testimony to our continued expansion and development, both in the UK and internationally. It is particularly pleasing as we expand into the US through our combination with Fulbright & Jaworski on June 1st."