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Tag Archives: Legal Directories

Chambers UK schedule now live

Chambers UK have sent out the schedule emails today, confirming their deadlines. The first deadline is December 15, with the second 16 February. So I would recommend you start working on your submissions as soon as possible!

The key points – other than the new submission template – are that they have changed how they are researching the regional/city tables:

“For this year’s research, we are asking for regional, not city, submissions for the following practices only:
Banking & Finance, Construction, Corporate/M&A, Employment, Environment, Information Technology, Intellectual Property, Licensing, Litigation, Pensions, Planning, Real Estate, Real Estate Litigation, Restructuring/Insolvency, Social Housing, Tax.

Submissions for all other practice areas should be provided by city.”

For full details, check out their website.

Legal Directories Consultants – What do they do, and do you really need one?

Love them or loathe them, legal directories like Chambers and Legal 500 are an influential part of the modern legal landscape. And, as they become more ubiquitous, so a new brand of professional has emerged: the legal directories consultant. So what is a legal directories consultant – and do you need to hire one?

What does a legal directories consultant actually do?
This answer to this is, generally, whatever you need them to do. It’s a field mostly populated by individuals and (very) small businesses, most of whom offer a service that is bespoke to their clients’ needs – this could be as extensive as handling the entire directories process, from writing the submissions to sitting in on interviews and coaching lawyers, or as little as giving your final submissions a review and ‘tweak’, or even doing a one-off talk to your partners or BD staff on how to make the process more efficient – I do a ‘demystifying the directories’ presentation that I’ve now done to a number of firms in the UK and Europe which can be used to kickstart the process, either as a one-off or as part of my wider offering, and I imagine others offer similar services. There are also companies that offer a less bespoke but more affordable package aimed at making it easier to handle the process in-house, or firms which offer directories advice as part of a wider outsourced communications or PR package.

Is it expensive?
As the above answer will indicate, that is a ‘how long is a piece of string’ question: it depends on the level of service you need. You may be billed for individual submissions, by the hour or a flat ‘package’ rate: this will depend on the consultant and the level of support you require. But most consultants will aim at significantly reducing the amount of time fee-earners have to spend on submissions, which can mean they virtually pay for themselves.

Who is a typical consultant – and why should I listen to them?
Most consultants will have considerable experience of working on submissions, and many will have worked in-house in positions of authority in the major directories. My own experience – which is not atypical – is several years at Chambers, working across their books and including editorship of the UK book, followed up by a stint in-house at a Top 50 law firm. This kind of background means that a consultant will know – from bitter experience! – what it’s like to be a researcher, what the guides are looking for in terms of information, and how best to present it.

They also bring an objective eye and an authoritative voice to proceedings: because they are free from the kind of internal politics that even the best law firm will have, they can look at your submissions clearly and tell you whether you are presenting your strengths to the best effect, and can also give you a realistic view of your chances. Because they are experts – and you are paying them for their expertise – their opinions will often carry more weight with fee-earners.

Can they definitely improve my rankings?
Absolutely not. There is no magic wand here, and hiring someone who used to work at one of the directories doesn’t buy you special favours. What they can do is maximise your chances of getting a better ranking by improving the way you communicate with the guides – and in my experience, better submissions and clearer information help the researchers learn more about your firm and can lead to more recognition, but this is in no way guaranteed.

So do I really need to hire a consultant, or is this just a sales pitch?
Obviously, if you feel you need a consultant, please do get in touch! But to be serious, only you and your firm know the answer to that: the first step is identifying what your issues are. If it’s resource, then hiring a temp to handle the admin might be a better idea, or looking at improving your internal systems so that information is collated over the year rather than pulled together in a desperate rush. Check you are not making obvious, easy to fix mistakes, such as sending submissions in very late, or not telling your referees you have put them forward. Join free forums such as Defero Law and LinkedIn, where professionals discuss these things; you might find you have not being doing something that is very obvious! If you want feedback from the directories themselves, try contacting the editors direct or, for Chambers, attending one of their Meet The Editor sessions. Chambers Confidential – while not cheap – can also be a useful way of identifying what the market and your clients are saying about you, and finding out if there are issues that you need to address.

There are lots of options out there: a directory consultant can be invaluable to some firms, but might be the wrong fit for others, so it is worth considering what you need and shopping around. One thing is for certain though – the directories aren’t going anywhere. I know from my own in-house experience that clients are increasingly asking for rankings in pitches, and independent verification from the directories can be a powerful marketing tool. Dealing with them in the most effective and cost-efficient way possible should now be part of every law firm’s marketing and business development plan.

[Note: This is an updated version of an earlier post]

Legal Directories: What to do if you think they got it wrong

Legal 500 UK was just published and Chambers UK will launch shortly, so here is some advice on what to do if see the results and you just aren’t happy…

Is it an actual mistake?
The first thing to do is assess whether what you’re unhappy about is actually a factual error, or just a take on information that you don’t quite agree with. Naming a corporate lawyer in the real estate tables, incorrectly identifying a client, referring to a deal your firm didn’t act on: these are mistakes. Saying that your firm is, for instance, best known for its expertise in employment work when you’re pushing yourself as a corporate practice is their interpretation of their research; it’s not necessarily wrong. You need to react to these differently.

Incorrect category rankings
Here’s where Chambers’ practice of sending out interim notification of the rankings wins out over Legal 500. If you get notification that Lawyer X is mistakenly ranked in employment when he should be in insurance, or Lawyer Y is ranked in the North West when she now works out of London, simply email the editor, or profiles contact (the person the notification will have come from), and let them know. It’s important to be aware though that this may not simply be a matter of switching tables: someone who gets enough feedback to appear in a regional table may not be included in the far more crowded London market, and some tables are more competitive than others, so the lawyer in question may end up not being included in the final guide.

Factual errors post-publication
Email the relevant editor immediately. In such enormous books, it’s inevitable that some mistakes will slip through, but both guides will quickly make amendments to the online versions of their guides if there are genuine errors in the text. You can also email them personnel updates if partners have left.

“That’s not us!” What you can do when you disagree with the editorial
The short answer is, not much. You can email the relevant editor and ask just why they’ve said that, and explain why you disagree, and often they will be willing to give feedback on their decisions, though this may be limited, and this willingness will vary between editors (and if you disagree with everything, you may have to accept that it’s their guide, and you’re stuck with their opinions). Frustrating as it may be, the best thing to do is address this in the next round of submissions and interviews – remember, the guides want to get it right, so they are happy to listen to your feedback, providing you are reasoned in your approach. Sending furious emails/shouting down the phone at the editor is pointless and counter-productive.

“Help! The guide has named a client who wanted to be kept confidential!”
This is a situation that is as unfortunate as it is mercifully VERY rare. Again, it’s easy to rectify swiftly online with an email to the editor. In rare cases, where the mistake has been entirely on the directory’s side (in all honesty, this is not usually the case – these mistakes most often happen because cases or clients are incorrectly or inconsistently labelled in the submission) it may be worth asking that the editor or researcher contacts the client to apologise for the error, though again this is up to their discretion. Whatever happens, there’s pretty much nothing to be done about the hard copies, so it’s worth adhering to the guiding principle that if it would be absolutely catastrophic to have a case or client identified, don’t include them by name in the submission.

Avoiding a repeat of mistakes
Bear in mind that often during the research process the following year, the researcher may be working from the hard copy of the book, not any amended online version. Make sure you clearly state in the submission that an error was made last year and how it was corrected, and draw attention to the fact in any telephone interview (nicely, of course!).

New Chambers template

You may not be aware, but Chambers have updated their FAQ page on submissions, and created a new template, which is basically a streamlined version of their old template, but has stricter limits on the amount of information you can include for highlight matters (one page per matter only – so no more very wordy descriptions!). It also allows you to include up to 15 work highlights, rather than the previous 10. The referee spreadsheet remains unchanged.

You can download the template and see the guidelines here.

Directories deadlines – Chambers Europe and Legal 500 USA

First off, I am loving Legal 500′s new monthly timetable – an ‘at a glance’ guide to what action is needed on different guides each month, which makes it much easier to keep track of what you need to do throughout the year to keep on top of the directories process. This month sees the publication of the UK and Latin American guides, ongoing EMEA and Caribbean research, while firms submitting for the US guide should start prepping now.

Meanwhile, over at Chambers, the next Europe deadline is September 15 while a number of US states have deadlines this month also.

Need help? If you find the process overwhelming or are looking for ways to streamline it, feel free to get in touch! You can contact me at traceysinclair23@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Legal 500 EMEA – what you need to know now

The Legal 500 EMEA deadlines are fast approaching – with referees being due by 4th August and submissions by 11th August – so if you haven’t started the process yet, you really should. But there have been some changes to the Guide that you need to be aware of, so here’s a handy checklist.

Things to note:

  • Extended coverage: The Guide’s coverage is being expanded this year, both with the introduction of regional summaries and with a raft of new countries being added (Albania, Armenia, Angola, Ivory Coast, Kosovo, Monaco, Montenegro, Mozambique and Tanzania).  There are also new categories for some of those countries already covered.  So firms in those newly added countries or with strong regional presences should make sure they check the guidelines to ensure they are giving themselves the best possible chance to get ranked. Those who are used to submitting for the same sections every year should check that no new additions have been made for their country so they don’t miss out.
  • New referee process: In an attempt to limit the amount of times referees are contacted, the Guide is changing the way they contact referees who are sent in late – this means it really is vital to get your spreadsheets in on time (and properly formatted) or your clients may not be contacted. Again, check the guidelines for the full explanation, but prioritise getting your referees sorted on time.
  • New guidelines: In what looks like an effort to minimise work for the firms – and recognise that people won’t want to substantively change submissions they have already pulled together for Chambers – Legal 500 have changed their guidelines for submissions, making them closer aligned with Chambers and hopefully reducing the workload for those involved in the submission process. However, while this is a move to be applauded – it really should cut a lot of unnecessary duplication of work – it does mean if you’re simply sticking to the Legal 500 template you have been using for years you may be passing up the chance to include extra information that could be helpful to your case.
  • New website: While the new website looks great, it can take a little while to figure out where everything is – so if you’re looking for the guidelines, they can be found here: just click on the relevant guide for the information you need.

Need help? Whether it’s assistance in drafting submissions, negotiating the new guidelines or simply some feedback on what you did right or wrong last year, I offer a range of services to suit your budget. You can contact me at traceysinclair23@gmail.com

Chambers Europe is out – and the next deadline is pending

The new Chambers Europe and Legal 500 EMEA are both now available online, so I thought this an opportune time to repost an old piece on what to do if you didn’t get the results you wanted! It’s also worth remembering that getting your submissions in on time is an important part of the process, and the next deadline for some countries for Chambers is May 12, so if these dates apply to you, you should be looking at getting your submissions finalised ASAP.

If you have been less than thrilled at your results and want to know how to maximise your chances next year, don’t hesitate to get in touch – traceysinclair23@gmail.com

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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.

Legal 500 UK deadlines now live

The UK deadlines for Legal 500 are now live here. As the regional ones are 31 January (which will be before some practice areas for Chambers) it’s important to start thinking about this now: put it off till after Christmas and you’re not leaving yourself much time…