There are certainties in life.  One being that at any time around the world, law firms are sweating their way towards another set of legal directory submission deadlines or reporting results that either spread joy or soul-ripping disappointment across their firms.

Chambers and Partners released the latest UK Solicitor and UK Bar rankings online today, with a pre-launch party held in London last night.  

Teams will (or should) be constructively reflecting on their results and leveraging good results and identifying improvements and formulating their strategy for the next round of submissions.

So UK, you have your Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners results.  What do you do next?

MD Communications attended the truly global coming together of the profession at the 2019 IBA Annual Conference in Seoul last month.  For the third consecutive year, firms from around the world wanted to talk and learn more about legal directories. 

Our Managing Director Melissa Davis was one of a prominent panel of speakers for the well-attended session: ‘Legal directories Part 3: why do law firms and general counsel (GC) work with legal directories

Separately, Melissa and Head of Directories, Awards and Tenders Linsay Leslie, were joined by our Legal Directories Editor and Head of the Asia-Pacific desk for MD Communications, Rob Wainwright, for an open Q&A session on directories, attended by an international audience.  

Together, as a former Chambers and Partners researcher and deputy Editor (Rob), and in-house head of directories and bids and former lawyer (Linsay) our Q&A session combined directory theory and best practice with the realities of working within a busy firm, where teams are compiling submissions on top of their ‘day job’.

We have recapped on some of the key questions and learns from the sessions to help you decide what to do next.

Why are we not getting the rankings we deserve?

Rankings are not the result of a submission alone, this is a marathon and not a sprint.  The savvy firm runs a slick campaign, and for those in the UK receiving results today, your campaign planning starts now.  

If the results are not what you expected, take an objective look at your previous submission, referee management and any follow-up you did, or do not do, with the directories.  Better still, get in an independent, fresh pair of eyes to carry our an informed, objective review to help you identify where your strategy, content and approach needs to be improved for the next submission.

Referee feedback is crucial for determining rankings, but it’s not the only factor

Our Q&A audience wanted to know how much weighting researchers and editors generally give to referee feedback about law firms and individual lawyers.

Rob’s simple answer is that feedback from referees is often the single most important factor in determining rankings for law firms and individual lawyers, whether that’s in relation to maintaining a current ranking, moving up or down a rankings table, entering a table for the first time, or exiting one completely.

This is particularly the case for Chambers and Partners.   That said, referee feedback is not the only factor involved in the research process.

When it comes to determining rankings, researchers also carefully evaluate written submissions, as well as looking over the notes they made in their interviews with the lawyers who provided the referees.

In addition, researchers and editors pay close attention to peer feedback (namely feedback from other law firms and lawyers), both solicited and unsolicited.

Make sure you have something to say

This sounds obvious, but setting out your stall on ‘full service, partner led’, just won’t cut it.  Neither will a ‘holistic approach or seamless service’. 

As you would in a bid or pitch, understand your audience and the process, and work out what your proposition is. Take time to scope out your story. Give the researchers something interesting, with clear messaging and evidence that helps them differentiate you and validate the ranking you think you deserve. 

Additional legal directories advice

You may find our directories guides useful and please get in touch if you need help with your submissions.