Whether the most recent rankings meant you, your firm and your partners were elated to have been promoted or infuriated to have been down-graded, you need to get your strategy in place and start planning your next set of legal directory submissions. So how can you make the submission process as pain free as possible?
Before you even start drafting, decide on your strategy. If you are aiming to climb the rankings ladder, decide which band/tier you are striving for and look at who else is ranked there. Are they the ‘usual suspects’ who you are pitching against time and time again? Or are there some unlikely firms who are clearly punching above their weight? Use this knowledge to help inform your strategy for submission so that you have a realistic goal.
If you are coordinating the submission process for the entire firm, we recommend setting three deadlines: first draft, second draft, final submission hard deadline. This will ensure that you can provide maximum feedback on all submissions and have time to make changes, rather than rushing to get all submissions finalised at 17:30 on the directory’s deadline day.
In the words of Mark Twain “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead”. Never a truer word has been spoken when it comes to submissions, always be clear and concise when drafting and stick to the word limits.
In the Chambers’ submission, section B10 asks you ‘What is this department best known for?’. Here you need to think about your practice’s unique selling point, i.e. ‘why is your firm different?’ and ‘why do clients choose you?’ Most importantly, avoid using marketing clichés such as ‘market leading,’ it’s up to the researcher to decide whether you are…
Including confidential information in submissions can be a bone of contention for many. But we strongly recommend that you do. Although this information will not be published, it will provide the researcher with an insight into the full spectrum of work you undertake and the clients you advise. If you do include confidential information, make sure you mark as confidential after every reference.
Use formatting to help the researcher. Researchers will be sifting through hundreds of submissions. By placing all references to clients, key deals, high values and key contacts in bold, you will help them to quickly pull-out the top highlights and important information from your directory submission.
Be constructive when providing feedback on the previous year’s ranking. It may seem obvious, but be careful not to be insulting about the researcher, as it could be the same researcher working on your submission again, and you wouldn’t want to risk offending them… If relevant, give examples as to why you should be ranked higher and why the rankings are not reflective of the work you do/the market.
We recommend you put forward three key people from your team as ‘leading individuals’. Ideally, two partners as ‘leading individuals’ and one associate as an ‘associate to watch’. This will give the researcher a full reflection of the team’s capability and who are the rising stars of the team.
Choose your matters carefully. Select deals/cases which are high value and/or big names. Explain clearly why the deal is significant for the client/the market and for the firm. Do not include more matters than the submission requests as the researcher will not read them, and only include matters that have been undertaken during the past 12 months, unless marked as ‘ongoing’ in the previous year’s legal directory submission and there is an update on the work.
Where possible your client referees should align with the matters in your submission. It may sound like a controversial approach, but you do not need to include the most senior of GCs as your client referees. Instead you should consider including the person who you have the most contact with who will have the time to talk and provide feedback to the researcher. Finally when completing the referees form ensure you include both email addresses and phone numbers, to optimise the chance of the researcher obtaining feedback.
Overture London delivers on-demand teams to law firms to help take the strain in directories season. For more information and tips for success, just get in touch.