traceysinclairconsulting

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Tag Archives: Chambers

Chambers and Legal 500 deadlines are looming – so here are my top 5 Submissions Made Easy posts to help

As ever there is a major deadline bottleneck at the start of the year – Chambers UK‘s last deadline is next Friday with the first European deadline not long after (24 February) and some Chambers Global and Asia deadlines coming in early March – so if you are submitting in these areas and haven’t started thinking about them yet, you really need to! (You can check out the schedule here). Hitting the deadlines is important – while Chambers will usually give an extension (at the editor’s discretion and depending on the practice area, of course) sending submissions in late can impact on the research and, as a result, your rankings. Research is done to a very tight schedule these days – so it’s important not to miss your window by sending in submissions and referees too late to be of use.

And remember Legal 500 are taking a stricter line on contacting referees sent in late – at the moment, just on their UK book but this policy may well spread, so it’s never been more important to be prompt!

If you’re struggling to manage your submissions process, or could just do with a few pointers to ensure you’re not creating more work than you need to, there are ways to make it less painful – why not get in touch to see how I can help?

Contact me at traceysinclair23@gmail.com – and in the meantime, check out my Top 5 posts for making submissions at least slightly easier…

Chambers Europe deadline is out

The Chambers Europe deadlines are now live, and the first is pretty soon – Feb 24 for some jurisdictions, so it’s important to start the process as soon as possible.

You can check the schedule for all jurisdictions here.

Chambers UK schedule is now live

The Chambers schedule is now live – before the guide is published next week. The first deadline is mid-December, which seems ages away but will be on us before we know it, so it really is worth starting the process for those areas with December deadlines now, then using the launch of the book as a prompt to get things moving.

Need help?
I’m already working with clients for this next cycle, offering support at all levels and with all budgets: whether it’s just a quick submission review so you can see if there’s something obvious you’re missing, doing presentations to partners and/or marketing personnel to help them better understand the process (and how to make it easier) or offering more holistic, strategic advice on an ongoing basis. It’s not always about the most extensive and expensive option – sometimes there are quick, easy fixes that can be applied to help you get the results you want with less of the slog than usual. So if you think you could be doing better – get in touch!

Contact: traceysinclair23@gmail.com

5 mistakes law firms make when choosing client referees

Choosing the right referees is an essential part of the directories process. Here are some errors I’ve often seen law firms make – and why you should avoid them!

They assume, not ask: It might be surprising, in an era when client service is more vital than ever, but some lawyers still blithely assume that it’s OK to give someone’s name as a referee without checking first. Not only is this fairly rude, it can have catastrophic consequences to a lawyer/client relationship – clients can get very offended about the fact their details have been passed to a third party without permission. Also, some organisations have strict policies about not responding to directories: so unless you’ve checked your client is allowed to respond, you also risk wasting a referee.

They leave it to the last minute to ask: Lawyers should be thinking about their referees at the start of the submissions process, not the end, to leave plenty of time to obtain permission and, if a client refuses (for whatever reason), to find a suitable alternative.

They assume that permission is transferable: It isn’t. Asking a client to be a referee for one guide then assuming that means you can use them for others is, again, presumptuous. Make sure you are very clear in what you are asking and what they are agreeing to – some clients are happy to answer one set of questions but will be annoyed if then contacted by another directory.

They assume senior is better: While it’s great to be able to speak to someone with an overview of an organisation, be realistic. A referee not only has to have recent experience of working with the firm, but has to be contactable and relatively available. It can be better to name someone lower down the ladder but more accessible (and, often, with more direct contact with your lawyers) than naming an impossible-to-pin-down CEO. Likewise, should you have a more glamorous practice area, remember that it is highly unlikely that Oscar winning actress will take the researcher’s call, no matter how impressive her name looks on the client list.

They don’t explain the process: Directories are such an established presence in the legal world now that it’s easy to forget clients may not have dealt with them before. It’s important to let the client know the kind of questions to expect, what they will be asked to talk about, and stress that they won’t be identified and that the information will be confidential. Also, since a lot of research is now done via email, they need to be prepped to expect an email and not just ignore it as spam.

A longer version of this article is available as part of the Defero Law Directory Advice service. Should you require assistance with your submissions, please contact Tracey Sinclair on traceysinclair23@gmail.com

Legal Directories: Submissions – what extra info should you include?

Extra information – what is it worth including?

All researchers will be familiar with the sinking feeling they get when they pick up a submission that has ignored the recommended length and is packed to the gills with extraneous information, personal recommendations and lengthy lists of publications and awards. But equally understandably, a firm sees these as ways of validating its case for a strong ranking. The trick, as ever, is striking a balance between what the directories need (and will focus on) and what your firm wants to include, or what, politically, you know you can’t leave out.

What do the directories care about? The main answer here is: their own research. No amount of awards and publications will convince them you are a great practice if their own notes are full of clients saying you’re terrible. The whole point of the directories is they do very extensive research and use that to formulate their rankings. If they were too easily swayed by things like awards – especially those awards for which they don’t know the criteria – they wouldn’t be doing their jobs. But that’s not to say supporting information can’t be helpful – to you and to them – if you use it properly.

But we won a load of awards this year! Feel free to mention this, but don’t use it as the hook you hang your submission on (that should be the quality work you are doing for quality clients), and keep it brief. For example, in the practice overview, you can include something like, ‘among our highlights this year was winning the Lawyer award for Best Employment Team and HR Magazine’s award for best external counsel’. It doesn’t have to be lengthy. You can also add this to case highlights where relevant (‘it was on the back of this deal that we won the X award’), and to individual lawyer bios. The Chambers submission template has a section for Additional Info where you can supply a list of awards, commendations etc. A little context may be helpful, too, if you feel the significance needs highlighting but again keep it nice and brief.

What about all our publications? This can be tricky, partly because lawyers can over-estimate how impressive their own publishing credentials are, and partly because most established lawyers will be regularly published and it’s very hard to differentiate between them. Again, this can be tackled by a brief line in the practice overview and bios, with a focus on what makes them stand out – for instance, being regularly quoted in the quality press will generally have more cachet than being published in a niche or minor publication. (So you could say, for example, “Partner Joe Bloggs has this year been widely quoted in the Financial Times and on BBC radio on the subject of Product Liability, reinforcing his reputation in this area” or “Josephine Bloggs this year edited the key textbook on Agricultural Law in the UK”). If you really want to send a long list of publications (or attached press releases) I would suggest putting these at the end of the submission, perhaps as an appendix, but remember busy researchers generally favour conciseness over lots of extra information

Client testimonies: Some firms are reluctant to give the directories client details, perhaps for reasons of confidentiality, or because they don’t want their clients bothered by a third party, and occasionally will include (or suggest including) client testimonials in the submissions. I’d advise against this: most researchers will only consider client feedback that they have got through their own, independent research. Far better to spend time making sure you correctly choose your referees and prep them as to what to expect so they are more likely to both agree to be referees and to respond.

A version of this article was first published as part of the Defero Law Directory Tune Up Group.

Legal Directories: Ten tips for choosing client referees

Referee feedback is one of the most important elements of the directories’ research, but many law firms stumble when selecting referees. So before you send in that spreadsheet, ask yourself the following questions:
1.Have you asked them (and have they said yes)?
2.Have you worked for this client in the last year?
3.Can they talk about more than one lawyer/department?
4.Are you SURE they are happy with your service?
5.Will they answer emails (a lot of research is done by email now)?
6.Have you put them down for more than one directory – if so, do they know and are they OK with that?
7.Are they from different organisations? Providing multiple contacts from one organisation can backfire as it may annoy the client, or can look to the directories like you only have one good client.
8.Are they referees for lawyers you wish to get into the tables/move up the rankings? Remember those at the top of the tables will likely get plenty of peer recognition so may be less reliant on client feedback.
9.Do they come from a client you have mentioned in your highlight deals? If you can’t provide any clients that match your big deals, the directories may wonder why.
10.Will they have any frame of reference with regard to other firms? If you work in a sector where your clients are individuals rather than organisations (eg, family, private client, trusts and estates) you may be better off putting forward other clients or professional contacts who are more able to compare your services with those provided by competing law firms

If the answer to any of these questions is no, you may need to think again.

A version of this article first appeared in the Legal Directory Tune Up Group.

Legal 500 USA book now live

The international research schedule is in full swing now, with the Legal 500 Asia deadlines just past, the Chambers international schedule (which varies from country to country and, in the USA, from state to state) well underway and the Legal 500 EMEA deadlines looming (well, ish: they’re in August but we all know that comes around faster than you think).

The new Legal 500 guide is online now: you can check it out here.

Chambers Asia and Global schedule now live

The Chambers schedules for these regions is now online – and as an awful lot of these deadlines are only weeks away (making those of us who work across jurisdictions very busy indeed!) it’s really important that you start your process now. Getting your submission in promptly is especially important for smaller jursidictions, where the research period may be quite short – you don’t want to miss your chance!

You can see the schedules online here.

Chambers Europe and UK update

The Chambers Europe schedule is now live – and the first deadline is 22 February, so it’s important to start the ball rolling on yoiur submissions now. (You can check out the online schedule here).

While the full UK schedule isn’t yet live, the research for some sections has started and some researcher names are online already – I’ve contacted some of these and found them helpful and speedy to respond, so worth dropping them a line if it’s section you’re focusing on, even if the research dates aren’t live.

And remember – the next Chambers deadline is mid-Feb, and the Legal 500 regional deadline is also looming, so if you’re working on UK submissions, you need to be working on those now.

Chambers Europe – deadlines looming

While most of the international submission deadlines for Chambers legal directories have yet to be announced, it’s worth bearing in mind that the Europe Editor Georgia Brooks sent out an email towards the end of last year warning that the first deadline on the Europe Guide is likely to be the end of February.

While it can be difficult galvanising people to pull their submissions together without a concrete, confirmed deadline to work towards, last year the schedule went live only a few weeks before the first submission deadline – leaving lots of firms with a last minute scramble to get their subs in on time. As the sections with the early deadlines are most likely to be the biggest sections (M&A and dispute resolution, for example) and those which are included in the Global and Europe Guides, this obviously isn’t ideal, because these are key sections for many of the firms involved.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about the late publishing of the schedule, and given how complex and massive the research workload is (and very labour intensive, so the editor has to coordinate work among dozens of researchers), this is unlikely to improve year on year. So the only way to make sure you don’t get caught on the hop is to start preparing now: get your case highlights together, start contacting referees for permission to submit them, and make sure that when the schedule is published, you only need to do the final polish, not compile the whole submission from scratch.

Look at it this way – if you do it now and the submission deadline turns out to be much later, at least you’ve got it out of the way…