They were the two key messages for legal marketers involved with Chambers USA that came out of a recent Legal Marketing Association session on legal directories.
Nothing radically new, but a timely reminder – Chambers USA ramps up soon – of the key ingredients in successful directory performance.
“Maximizing Directory & Awards Efforts: How to Create Better Submissions, Leverage Rankings, and Repurpose Matters” was the second part of a double directories session at the LMA annual conference in Austin on April 13 2016.
(read about the first part here).
Laura Mills first gave a solid overview of the Chambers process
The biggest mistakes firms make:
Note that Chambers is tightening up when it comes to late submissions:
If I detected one change in emphasis from previous years, it was that the Chambers team will focus more than before on the quality of firms’ work.
Of course, that has always been the case, but at times in recent years, I have felt that client feedback has taken on such an importance that it has overshadowed other important elements such as the substance of firms’ matters.
When I asked Laura afterwards what was the single biggest thing that firms could do to put their best foot forward this year, she said “ensure that the firm does good work”.
Sadly for us legal marketers, we can’t turn all our lawyers into world-beaters overnight, but the message is clear: make sure you highlight interesting, attractive work in your submissions.
Chambers wants to see a year-on-year track record of quality advice and representation.
On the issue of client contacts, Laura advised:
“Make sure that all 20 of your client references are willing to participate in the research process, and are aware of the fact that they’ve been put forward by your firm”
Fellow Chambers editor, Joanna Lane, who runs the Canada directories, and also attended the Austin event, added:
“For Canadian firms, diversify both your matter selection and your client reference list to provide us with a broad but accurate picture of the firm across the country.”
Seth Jennings, the Legal 500 US editor, made the point that firms should include dates in their submissions to show that their work falls within the one-year reporting period.
Often firms leave out the dates or just put “ongoing” in their entries, which can lead the directories to think that you are recycling older matters and haven’t got much new work to shout about.
The legal PR representative on the panel was Michelle McCormick of Bracewell, who gave some details of her firm’s directories involvement:
This is how Bracewell uses rankings:
And here are some of the process/efficiencies that they use:
Moving on to Super Lawyers, Cindy Larson offered some statistics as to the value of a Super Lawyers listing:
And offered legal marketers five ways to get involved with Super Lawyers:
Pictured: Austin Capitol (top); Laura Mills and Joanna Lane in Austin, Texas; Seth Jennings from Legal 500