RankingsForLawyers

Jaffe Associates knows just how hard it is for marketing staff and lawyers to manage the hundreds of lists, surveys and rankings in the legal industry now. We launched RankingsForLawyers™ in November 2007 to answer the need for knowledge, research and ongoing information about these publications and their ever-changing dates and requirements. Your firms probably know of a dozen lists but you may be surprised to know that in fact there are more than 900 lists across the country. We’ve created this blog as a venue for you to share opinions about rankings, and we look forward to a robust dialogue about this important aspect of every firm’s marketing plans.

Contact us at obrienk@jaffeassociates.com and we can provide you with a free 2008 Rankings Report.

Comments

2008 Outstanding Attorney
So many firms have received emails from LegalForce recently asking attorneys to vote for the “2008 Outstanding Attorney”. We monitor over 950 rankings and this one was totally new to me. I did a bit of research and here is what I was able to find out:

LegalForce is a source for legal staffing-- almost like a legal temp agency. Through their online database they provide the opportunity for organizations to post jobs, hire, manage, and pay legal providers. Their specialty is providing staff for temporary projects.

To populate their database, they took the list of AmLaw 200 firms and beyond, loaded them into their system and organized the information by state. Because there is no specific information listed other than Firm Name and City, State, they sent out these massive email alerts to try to beef up the database.

One section of the site is devoted to the “2008 Outstanding Attorney” – organized by state. The list is compiled by the number of votes each attorney receives. I clicked through the link for one attorney listed in an email I received, and while he certainly is an outstanding attorney, I was able to vote “yes” for him. He has 207 votes so far (I think 2 or 3 of those are mine because I clicked the link multiple times.) There is no thorough research and evaluation process in place that would establish this list-it’s a numbers game.

Recommendation: This is another list that is giving the truly credible rankings a bad name. Other than producing more work for law firms, I don’t think this is one that you should be too concerned with for now. It certainly doesn’t have the caliber of research or credibility behind it as Chambers, for example, so this is one that you can pass on.

Chambers and Partners

Rankings Watchers:

Are you ready for Chambers USA 2009? The Research Schedule for the 2009 Guide is available at: http://www.chambersandpartners.co.uk/usa/results-schedule.aspx

Here’s how to get ahead on this lengthy and complex submission process:

Reach out to the practice heads now and pull together work/case highlights and references.

Craft short descriptions (3-5 sentences will do) on the significance of the work.

Be prepared for Chambers’ need for client references, and collect contacts that know the firm’s work and can provide useful insight.

Chin up! Everything you use in the Chambers submission can be retooled and repurposed for other ranking opportunities!

If you have questions regarding the Chambers submission process or want some help organizing and drafting submissions for Chambers or any other ranking, please contact Kathy O’Brien at obrienk@jaffeassociates.com.

As firms decide which clients they want to use as referees for Chambers, they also need to keep in mind other rankings opportunities that request client contacts, such as Legal 500. It's important that firms create a list of clients who will be asked to speak with interviewers and manage this in such as way as to avoid burdening a single client with many rankings interview requests.

Also, help clients prepare for the interviews by providing them with information on the ranking and the work highlights (just the ones that relate to the client) that the firm has provided for consideration. Be sure to thank your client for taking the time to be interviewed, as well.

Dear Rankings Watchers:

I know you’ve done your due diligence and reviewed the Chambers research schedule when it was first posted in July.   If you haven’t gone back to the site since then, you should be aware that some of the deadlines—and even some of the researchers assigned to certain practice areas—may have changed.   For example, Rebecca Albiston is no longer the researcher assigned to Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation in New York, it is now Anna Lindsay-Taylor.  The deadlines have changed too—from October 1st to November 1st.

As you compile your submissions, we find that it is wise to double back to the site to confirm submission deadlines at least once a week—especially if you are handling submissions for a large firm with multiple offices and practice areas.

As always, if you have questions regarding the process or want help organizing and drafting submissions for Chambers or any other ranking, please contact me at obrienk@jaffeassociates.com.

The Chambers research schedule for the 2009 Guide is available at: http://www.chambersandpartners.co.uk/usa/results-schedule.aspx.

Best,

Kathy O’Brien
Manager, RankingsForLawyers
obrienk@jaffeassociates.com
www.jaffeassociates.com

As you upload your Chambers submissions, remember that scheduling interviews is the next step. Chambers does not guarantee that they will interview each practice chair, but they certainly try. Once you've uploaded your submission, email the researcher and let him/her know that the lead attorney for the practice group would like to be interviewed and the researcher will work with you to schedule a time. The interviews take no more than 30 minutes and the researcher should be able to provide some sample questions to help the attorney prepare.

There has been some reconfiguring of researchers at the Legal 500 for IP. The current IP researcher is leaving. For now, you can send submissions to Sarah Tirrell:

Sarah Tirrell
Researcher/Writer
Legal 500 series
UK No: 0207 031 0013
US No: +1 866 838 1020 ext 113
email: Sarah.Tirrell@legal500.com
www.legal500.com

More changes at the Legal 500:

Nigel Savage, the editor of the US-Legal 500 left last week and is being replaced in the interim by David Burgess. David’s contact information is:

David Burgess
Publishing Director
Legal 500
email: David.burgess@legalease.co.uk
UK No: 0207-396-5665
www.legal500.com

Some interesting news this week from Martindale Hubbell--they announced that they will make Chambers' lawyer rankings and commentary accessible via martindale.com®. This comes on the heels of the unveiling of the new Martindale-Hubbell® Connected site--the LinkedIn-like site just for lawyers.

Martindale Hubbell continues its full court press to keep its place in the competitive legal directories, information and networking space.

Now that most firms have wrapped up their Chambers and Legal 500 submissions, it's a good time to put together a summary of what was submitted this year, whether interviews were done, Also, gather all your submissions and put them in one folder. This way, when you start focusing on your rankings for next year, you'll be able to quickly see what you did for 2009 and you'll have all your submissions in one place for easy reference.

Just a heads up that Practical Law Company will publish -- for the first time in 2009-- the PLC Which Lawyer Insurance Handbook. Gabrielle Heaney has been assigned as the research editor. PLC arrives at their rankings in much the same way as Chambers, a combination of law firm submissions, attorney interviews and client recommendations.

The New Jersey Supreme Court has vacated Opinion 39 which sought to ban advertising related to Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers. Attorneys now have the green light to promote their placement on a ranking, list or survey.

For more info on the December 17 ruling, please visit: http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/opinions/index.htm

Some firms are started to wonder when they will hear from Chambers regarding rankings and purchasing profiles. While Chambers does not give specific ranking information until the book is published in June, they expect to contact firms in early March with preliminary information on rankings so firms can consider purchasing profiles.

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