Which Israeli Law Firms are Most Sought After Abroad?

Herzog Fox & Neeman continues to maintain the top position in the Nishlis Legal Marketing Branding Index, based on international ranking guides – The Legal 500, Chambers and IFLR1000. Who is ranked in the top ten, and which firms are considered favorably abroad, despite not being among the largest in Israel?

Foreign companies entering the Israeli market select an Israeli law firm with the help of the international ranking guides. A survey conducted in the United States last year has shown that law firms and corporate legal counsel frequently use the ranking guides when choosing a law firm. Therefore, an Israeli law firm that wishes to expand operations to include overseas business must be ranked highly; otherwise, its chances of getting international business decrease considerably.

Nishlis Legal Marketing offers an analysis that provides a unique and rare look at the positioning of the largest Israeli law firms in the international arena. The international “Branding Index” by Nishlis Legal Marketing for 2017 is comprised of data taken from the leading ranking guides – The Legal 500, Chambers and IFLR1000, which rank the market of Israeli attorneys in a methodical and professional manner each year. The analysis relies on the number of times a firm has been ranked in the top tier quality group, compared to the number of submissions filed to the ranking guides, with the aim of identifying brand strength – the manner with which the Israeli law firms are perceived abroad.

When evaluating a firm, the international ranking agencies only rely on objective parameters, such as the quality of the transactions and cases handled by the firm in the previous year, feedback provided by the firm’s clients (a client of one firm may also be a client of another, so the feedback is therefore considered to be neutral) and the opinions of colleagues and opinion leaders in Israel and overseas.

The three factors influencing the ranking of a firm with the international rankers include the information about its activity, recommendations of the firm’s clients and feedback from colleagues and professionals in the market. The fact that the rating is primarily affected by external factors over which the firm has no control helps to create an objective positioning index. The international ranking indicates how an Israeli law firm can be perceived in the eyes of firms abroad and is perhaps the only objective tool enabling the firm to understand its reputation among external entities.

The ranking guides offer the ability to compare and thoroughly understand how an external and independent entity perceives Israeli law firms, on the basis of qualitative and quantitative evidence and interviews with clients, colleagues and professionals in the Israeli market.

It should be noted that the Branding Index does not necessarily unequivocally indicate the quality of a firm and its departments, but certainly serves as an indication and enables a measure of position with relatively objective tools – with an emphasis on prominence in legal work to an international target audience.

The analysis by Nishlis Legal Marketing focuses on two main parameters: the branding index and the improvement index. The branding index is based on the number of the firm’s appearances in the top tier quality group compared to the firm’s number of estimated submissions to the three international ranking agencies. The improvement index shows the improvement in the firm’s ranking generally, across all of the quality groups, compared to its ranking in the previous year.

Herzog Fox & Neeman at the helm

The Chambers ranking guide maintained its conservative direction this year and only listed eight new gains/entries. The Legal 500 ranking guide continued with its revision of the fields, introducing a large number of fields and splitting existing fields. The IFLR1000 introduced a new field of expertise but narrowed down the tables while lowering many firms in the rankings, in an attempt to realign after many years characterized by numerous increases. All of the above directly impacted the Nishlis Legal Marketing branding index.

Herzog Fox & Neeman continues to maintain the top position in the branding index for 2017, with 64.3 points. Agmon & Co. Rosenberg Hacohen & Co. has moved up to second place (63 points) and Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal (52.3 points) closes the top three this year and increases the gap.

Goldfarb Seligman & Co. moved up two spots to fourth place with 40 points, while Fischer Behar Chen Well Orion & Co. moved up from seventh place in the 2016 ranking to fifth place with 38.5 points. S. Horowitz & Co. decreased by two places to sixth, with a score of 32.6 points, and Gornitzky & Co. also decreased by two places compared to the 2016 ranking. Yigal Arnon & Co. maintained its eighth-place position with a score of 26.3. Erdinast, Ben Nathan, Toledano & Co., with a score of 25, continues to climb the rankings and rose to ninth place. This year, tenth place is held by Naschitz, Brandes, Amir Co., with a score of 18 points, which entered the top ten for the first time and replaced Gross Kleinhendler Hodak Halevy Greenberg & Co., which dropped by three places to 12th place, with a score of 11.5.

Agmon & Co. Rosenberg Hacohen & Co. had the most significant increase with 7.2 points compared to the 2016 index, due to its movement in the IFLR1000 index in three areas of expertise to the top tier quality group. However, Agmon had the lowest number of submissions in relation to firms appearing in the top ten of the index.

Herzog Fox & Neeman is the only firm ranked in the top tier quality group in all of the five areas of expertise provided in IFLR1000 and it is ranked in more areas of expertise in the top tier quality group than any other firm, with 27 appearances. Other than Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal and Herzog Fox & Neeman, which have more than 20 appearances in the top tier quality group (27 and 23, respectively), there is no other firm with more than 15 mentions in the top tier quality group. Goldfarb Seligman and Fischer Behar have 15 mentions each, while S. Horowitz has 14 mentions, and Agmon has 12 mentions in the top tier quality group. Two firms have ten mentions each – Yigal Arnon and Gornitzky.

There is a difference of about 12 points between the top three in the strength rankings – Herzog, Meitar, and Agmon – and the fourth place position.

For the first time, we see two firms in the top ten in the branding index that are not ranked among the ten largest based on Dun & Bradstreet’s quantitative ranking – Agmon & Co. Rosenberg Hacohen & Co., and Erdinast, Ben Nathan, Toledano & Co.

Two other firms that rose in strength this year and also increased their scores compared to 2016 are Firon, which jumped from 17th to 14th place, and continues to climb the rankings, as well as Goldfarb Seligman.

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Yigal Arnon & Co. and Herzog Fox & Neeman are leading the “improvement index”

While the branding index shows international positioning, the improvement index indicates market bias. Many firms go up in rankings but not necessarily to the top tier quality group. The improvement index relates to all of the increases in ranking (for example, a firm that moves from the fourth tier quality group to the third), as opposed to the branding index, which relates only to the number of times the firm was ranked in the top tier quality group. An improvement is also an increase in the ranking relative to the previous year, as well as a new entry into a ranking in which the firm was not ranked in the past.

This year, due to the expansion of the Legal 500 ranking with the addition of new areas of expertise and the division of existing areas of expertise, a number of firms were ranked for the first time in new fields of expertise and several increased in ranking.

Yigal Arnon & Co. recorded the largest improvement in the index, with 12 points after receiving 13 increases in ranking and only one decrease. In second place was Herzog Fox & Neeman, which received 11 increases and only one decrease this year, giving it ten points. Two firms take third place – Meitar and Amit Pollak Matalon. Meitar had 13 increases in the international rankings this year, but four decreases, and finishes the year with a total of nine points. Amit Pollak Matalon also finished the year with nine points, after receiving nine increases and no decreases.

Fourth place is held by S. Horowitz & Co., which increased in nine areas of expertise in the three ranking guides with one decrease, for a total of eight points.

Fifth place is shared by three firms – Erdinast, Ben Nathan, Toledano & Co., together with Goldfarb Seligman & Co., and Naschitz Brandes Amir & Co. – each with the same score of seven points. Erdinast has seven increases and no decreases, while Goldfarb has ten increases and three decreases (IFLR1000) and Naschitz had eight increases and one decrease.

The international ranking guides are of great importance in the selection of an Israeli law firm, and a firm ranked in the top tier quality group will usually be chosen. Reviewing the strength branding and improvement index allows for the measurement of a firm’s strength overseas, from an objective and neutral perspective of the ranking guides. This analysis allows us to delve deeper and understand the positioning of the top 20 firms, as they appear to the international client when selecting a law firm in Israel.

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*Some of the data collected (the number of submissions by each firm) is estimated and the data is indicative only.

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Idan Nishlis
Idan Nishlis

Idan Nishlis is the legal marketing pioneer in Israel. Being the only professional in the country to have studied services marketing, specializing in legal marketing, Idan has the most diversified and comprehensive work experience in the field, having worked in the US and Israel. Idan founded the first legal marketing department in Israel at Herzog Fox & Neeman which he managed for over 4 years, before launching Nishlis Legal Marketing. Idan's core strength lies in strategy and branding.

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