We’re in the middle of a bumper month for directories deadlines (particularly Chambers & Partners), from Albania and Australia, to Austria and China. If you’re a bit behind the curve then here are a few tips from our specialist team to help get you up to speed (and into/up the rankings), based on the cries for help we most often receive.

“We just don’t have the time right now.”

The number of people who turn around when the rankings come out and say they’re so glad that they just went for it, despite the short notice, always makes us smile. Submissions can seem like lengthy documents and a complex process but there is a way to simplify it to produce an effective and detailed submission that hasn’t sucked the energy out of everyone involved to complete. Our team have produced submissions in as little as 24 hours so it’s never too late to just do it.

“We don’t even know where to start – it’s so last minute.”

If you need an extension to prepare the full submission then start by submitting your referees. All the major directories ask for referees and contacting them is the lengthy part of the rankings process. Get your referees in on time and you’ll lay a placeholder for your firm in the research process. You’ll also give the research team the ability to start researching your referees now, instead of running out of time because everything arrived too late and past the deadline.

“The Editor told us there was no referee feedback and that’s why we didn’t get the ranking we wanted. What’s the point.”

This can be dispiriting, no doubt about that. After all that hard work for clients they could at least provide a supportive bit of feedback or two about how wonderful your team has been, right? On the client side of this, unless you prepare your referees so they know a directory call is coming then 9 times out of 10 it just doesn’t get noticed.

Approach emails are deleted and voicemails ignored because everyone is far too busy. However, if your clients know the call is coming – and that the feedback is important to you – they are much more likely to respond when the researcher gets in touch.

“The body of the submission takes so long to get right.”

We’ve been reliably informed by several editors over the years that the body of the submission document is not the most important part. Remember that this is not a marketing document, it’s something that needs to hit the right notes for a research process and nothing more. Agonising over every word is a waste of time – the two most important parts of your submission are the referees and the work highlights. If these are compelling, the rest will follow.

Agonising over every word is a waste of time – the two most important parts of your submission are the referees and the work highlights. If these are compelling, the rest will follow.

“We want to make sure the submission is consistent with the year before.”

Again, this isn’t something to focus on. Researchers don’t stay the same year in year out so it’s a good idea to start each submission afresh. This is particularly so as the directories make it clear that the submission covers the last 12 months only. There are sections in the document where you can report changes to the team and it’s a good idea to incorporate a mention of growth, profit increases, new offices etc. However, time spent trying to make one document follow on from the previous one – or referencing in detail last year’s ranking and quotes – is a waste of effort.

There are sections in the document where you can report changes to the team and it’s a good idea to incorporate a mention of growth, profit increases, new offices etc. However, time spent trying to make one document follow on from the previous one – or referencing in detail last year’s ranking and quotes – is a waste of effort.

We have been doing this so long now that we’ve heard all the complaints and frustrations that firms have about the directories process – we’re also able to provide constructive solutions to most of them so if you’d like our help, get in touch.

Request our legal directories guides

We have specific directories guides for the USA and the Middle East. We also have our guide to the 12 mistakes law firms make with submissions.

Please email us to request our guides.