I’m betting that you have received a number of emails in the past month for the latest and greatest legal ranking. In fact, in the past year, there has been an explosion in legal rankings, with a number of organizations and publications deciding to get into the rankings game. While Chambers and Legal 500 are two of the most prestigious rankings out there, there are almost 1,200 other credible rankings that can help with your law firm’s and attorney’s professional development.

We’ve been keeping our eye on the shifting law firm ranking landscape for some time. Jaffe debuted the RankingsForLawyers (RFL) service in 2007. At that time, there were approximately 600 legal rankings in our database. Over the past eight years, the number of rankings has grown by 50 percent, to just over 1,200 credible rankings, which we regularly track.

How do you know which ones to take advantage of and which ones are simply wastes of your precious time?

The Vetting Process

Publications and organizations are constantly announcing their call for nominations and, unless you are visiting their websites on a regular basis, you may miss out. This past week alone, the National Law Journal, Law360 and RE Forum all opened nominations.

A key component of vetting law firm rankings is to understand the methodology used to select the winners. This is important not only in determining if the rankings fit your firm’s business development goals, but in determining when it is time to write the submission. To make matters more challenging, some law rankings and awards run their nominations period at a fairly consistent time each year, but not all of them do. Most publications only give a four- to six-week window for nominations. This is why our RFL team constantly reviews and provides updated submission information for the 1,200 rankings we track.

Additionally, the number of non-credible rankings is astounding, so how do you know which law firm rankings and legal directories are valuable? To find out, read my previous blog post on “Is this legal ranking worth it?” and follow the steps outlined to determine if a given ranking is worth your time and effort.

The Submission Process

Vetting and monitoring the law firm rankings and awards is only one piece of the puzzle. Once you’ve verified the credibility of a ranking and have the submission information comes the key piece: writing a creative submission that will tell the story of why your candidate should be honored.

Unless you are submitting to one of the elite legal rankings, chances are the researchers will not have a legal background. This means submissions should be easily understood and avoid a lot of legalese. Submissions also should paint a picture of why the nominee is worthy of the honor by driving home the key points the researchers are looking for.  

The Publicizing Process

Because you were able to vet, track and write a great submission, your attorney has won! Now the fun starts. Make use of the honor by:

  • Sending a press release: Let everyone know you’ve won.  Not only will a press release allow you to announce the firm’s ranking and receive possible media pick-up, but you can also post the press release on your website for even greater exposure.
  • Posting on social media: Update the attorney’s LinkedIn page, and tweet and post the announcement. Make sure you include a link back to the publication’s website announcing the winners.
  • Updating the attorney’s bio: Add the ranking to the attorney’s bio to showcase the win to clients and prospects.

Oh, and, of course, don’t forget to congratulate the winner!

This step-by-step approach of vetting, drafting and leveraging is exactly how we do it at Jaffe. It’s a lot of work to track the hundreds of rankings in our database, but we understand it’s important for the credibility and reputation of your firm and your attorneys. If you’d like help with your legal rankings, shoot e-mail to me, Susan Holmes, at sholmes@jaffepr.com.