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New Ranking Shows Big 4’s Legal Brands Are Still Kinda Sorta Relevant

Legal research firm Acritas came out today with its 2019 Global Alternative Legal Brand Index, the best of the best non-law firms that provide nontraditional legal or quasi-legal services to clients. And just like last year’s index, the Big 4 firms’ legal arms take up four of the top five spots.

But there’s a new No. 1 in 2019. EY Law has overtaken PwC Legal for the top spot in Acritas’ latest ranking, moving up from fourth last year. Why? Because of all the shopping EY Law has done within the past year or so.

Lisa Hart Shepherd, CEO of Acritas, commented; “To cut through and become a serious global player, new law companies need to build mega brands, which is very difficult to do, in a market already crowded with thousands of traditional law firms. It is no surprise to see organizations like EY Law and Elevate surge ahead. They have made significant market noise through notable acquisitions and heavy investment in marketing to make the most of these strategic moves.”

EY made headlines in April when it acquired legal managed services business Pangea3 from Thomson Reuters, which has the third-best alternative legal services brand, according to Acritas’ 2019 index. With the acquisition of Pangea3, EY now has access to more than 1,000 legal professionals and eight service delivery locations on three continents, reported in April.

In addition, in August 2018, EY acquired Riverview Law, an innovative U.K. law firm, and last March, the firm announced a deal to deploy the AI platform Luminance across its global legal network.

Acritas’ index is based on a survey of more than 1,000 senior in-house counsel who were asked a series of questions about both traditional law firms and alternative legal service providers, including which providers were top of mind, which were most favored, and which stood out as the most innovative.

Based on the survey results, here are the top brands for alternative legal service providers:

Deloitte Legal dropped from third last year to a tie for fifth this year, while KPMG Law moved up one spot to fourth. But if Acritas took poaching a slew of lawyers from a big law firm into consideration for its ranking, KPMG would definitely be No. 1.