For the second in our three-part blog series on US legal directory submissions, we’re giving you some tips on how to write and structure your submissions for best results.
As we mentioned in the last week’s blog post, publishers like Chambers and Partners are based in the UK, and we’ve been working for many years, with many, many law firms on writing directory submissions. So, we thought it was worth sharing some of our tips with you.
The submission process usually consists of three parts: the submission itself, client references and (sometimes) an interview with the researcher compiling the directory. Follow our tips to make your submission successful:
1. Meet the deadlines. The sooner the researcher receives all of your material the easier it will be to deal with any issues or omissions that could crop up during processing. This is especially necessary with the referee spreadsheet as the researcher could begin contacting your clients before they speak to you. You want to make sure there is enough time to correct any contact details and guarantee that glowing quote. You can find the deadlines on the directory websites.
2. Do your homework. The days of cloak and dagger researchers are long gone, with publications making it clear who will be editing each directory. In the case of Chambers & Partners you can even see them in action with a video. Learn as much as you can about the key individuals, how they work and if necessary ring them up and ask them what they like best in terms of format and approach. At the very least make sure you’ve read through their methodology and information pages. Both publications provide help and guidance… there’s really no excuse for not reading up. These are important and can be used as a checklist to make sure you’ve included everything.
3. Clearly structure your submission. Each legal directory will require the same information from your submission. Chambers & Partners very kindly publishes a proforma template for this, that you need to use. This is a great place to start for any submission (although you’ll need to format it differently for Legal 500, so as to demonstrate that you’ve put the same effort in to theirs, rather than just duplicating it). As a basic rule, you need to plan to include: –
• Basic information about the firm and contacts
• Department information including contacts, head count, hires and fires etc
• Feedback on your ranking in the current edition (as well as an opportunity to comment on other firms)
• Practice area overview and selling points
• Key achievements within that practice area in the last 12 months
• List of key individuals already ranked by the publication you are working on (by order of PQE)
• List of specialists seeking rankings by that publication (again, ordered by PQE)
• Specific reference to overseas experience or ‘foreign desks’
• Information on each specialist (in order as above), including (in addition to what they do and when they started), USPs – what makes them different? Niche expertise, relevant past experience outside their practice, landmark cases in the last 12 months they have participated in –what role did they play? Why was the case important?
• Work highlights –include up to ten noteworthy cases (for each of ’confidential’ and ‘non-confidential’) handled in the last 12 months – what was the attorney’s role (two sentences)? Dates (and case reference if applicable); Who else was involved in the case? Who were they against? Why/how is the case significant? Was it high profile, complex, unique, commercially important? Include any press links. Confidentiality –is the case confidential or publishable?
• Any supporting information, for example awards, league tables, press etc.
• List of publishable clients (as well as any that must remain confidential).
• List of new client and panel wins over the last 12 months.
• List of key clients that you’ve had for over three years.
• Details of industry specialization, within that practice area.
This is a good start, but we have eight more practical tips (yes eight more!) to help make your submissions stand out and result in a better ranking, including information on sponsors and referees. You can download them in our free white paper: Chambers and Partners and Legal 500 – Professional tips for getting the most from your directory submissions.