Keeping up with the many legal awards and rankings submissions requires constant attention. Just when you finish one, it’s time for another. It might be tempting to use the short respite between cycles to relax, but taking advantage of these brief breaks can help set you up for success and make the next series of rankings submissions easier.
For example, now is the time to wrap up the 2022 Chambers USA process by updating your matters, repurposing the information from your submission for your own content, thanking your clients for giving references and preparing for the 2023 submission. Here is how to integrate the last cycle into your marketing strategy and make the next one run more smoothly.
Current State of Chambers USA
Those who participated in the submission process for the Chambers USA 2022 guide know things are starting to quiet down. The client matters and referees were submitted months ago. Much of the research is done, as a quick look at the schedule shows — but that doesn’t mean the excitement is over.
Firms should be making sure their last attorney interviews are scheduled. This is your final opportunity for the firm to tell its story and make the case for ranking. Have you had any updates to your matters, important matters come in since you submitted or significant changes in the practice or firm? You can send a short note to your researcher or the section editor highlighting the change. Short is the key word here. Now is not the time to rehash your entire submission.
Once all of the research is completed, the Chambers Research team will meet to review ranking recommendations. And the 2022 guide will be born.
How Can You Repurpose Chambers USA Submission Information?
The information collected during the Chambers USA submission process is incredibly valuable. This information can be used as a basis for other rankings submissions, such as American Lawyer, Benchmark Litigation, Law360, The Legal 500, National Law Journal, local business journals and others.
If you aren’t sure about what other ranking opportunities are available, or you need help with analyzing the value of a particular ranking, Jaffe’s RankingsForLawyers® service is here to help. The Jaffe team can build a custom report for your firm that identifies key rankings for you to consider.
Have you updated your attorney’s biographies recently? Probably not. The information you have from your Chambers USA submission is perfect for updating website bios. Remember: These are the top viewed pages on every firm website, yet often the most neglected.
This material can also be used for marketing collateral. You have your team’s best work over the past year at your fingertips. Are there practice brochures you could update? Pitch and proposal content?
You can also use the submission information you’ve gathered for thought leadership. Can a matter be used for a case study or white paper? Could you partner with a client to present the matter at a conference? You’ve showcased these matters in your submission because they demonstrate your firm’s unique skills and experience. Other clients or prospects facing a similar challenge would benefit from learning about your successful approach.
The Chambers USA research process offers several opportunities for partners to reach out to their clients. Before listing any client as a referee, they should ask for permission to do so. Rarely does a client deny this request, but the request allows the partner to remind the client of the great work they have done together over the past year.
When the research process begins, attorneys have another opportunity to connect with their clients — to let them know to expect a call or email from the researcher and reiterate how much you appreciate their willingness to talk to Chambers USA representatives.
The final opportunity comes at the end of the research period when attorneys can thank clients for their involvement in the process and express appreciation for the ongoing partnership.
Remember to be judicious about your use of clients for references. If you are submitting to multiple rankings organizations, don’t use the same group of clients over and over; that can create “reference fatigue.” While your clients are generally happy to provide feedback on your behalf, they don’t want to be asked to do it over and over. Don’t ask too much of your references; they are doing you a favor by participating in the research process.
Preparing for 2023 Legal Rankings Submissions
June might seem like a long way off, but it definitely is not. As soon as the current guide launches in the spring, the next research cycle will be on its heels. Surprising as it sounds, now is the time to start thinking about your strategy for 2023. Ideally, your firm is determining new goals with the start of a new year. Make note of aspects like:
- Which practice areas is the firm looking to grow?
- Does the firm want to showcase particular partners?
- Is the firm hoping to grow, through lateral additions or geographic expansion?
- How do attorneys stack up against those already ranked?
The answers to these questions will help guide your 2023 rankings submission strategy.
Rankings submissions take a tremendous amount of time to do well, but are worth the effort. Chambers USA recognition, and that of other ranking organizations, can help the firm differentiate itself from competitors. Whether you prepare them in-house or take advantage of external resources, there is a cost for this time. You don’t want to spend money on supporting submissions or practices that no longer fit the firm strategy or won’t be successful.
Supporting the Process
If you are new to the Chambers USA submission process, start small. Focus on your strongest attorneys or practices. It can often be a challenge to navigate internal politics to determine who should be submitted. Demonstrating success with a focused approach will make it easier to convince other internal groups to participate in an expanded strategic submission process down the line.
Start collecting information now. Do you have a process to track matters so they are easy to find when it is time to draft your submission? You might have a fancy experience database, but if not, you can track details using a tabbed Word document or Excel spreadsheet as well. Do what works for your firm and your attorneys. The most important thing is to collect the information.
You already know that regardless of the ranking deadline, any matters completed in the first half of 2022 will qualify. If you really want to get ahead, consider writing up those matters now. Chambers USA doesn’t want to see your website regurgitated in your submission. Researchers can look up your attorneys online and get all of this information. What they can’t do is get details about your firm’s newest and most interesting client work, so focus on what makes that work stand out.
Reviewing the Results
The final rankings are important, but what they say about your firm’s work and your clients’ feedback is by far the most valuable part of the process. After you take a moment to cheer your rankings success or mourn results that are less than you had hoped for, look at what Chambers USA published about the firm or practice.
In addition to helping you promote the strength of your team, rankings can offer a window into how your clients and competitors see your practice offerings. For firms that are reluctant to conduct client feedback interviews, rankings results can provide some of this information.
If you want more information, then Chambers USA has you covered with their Chambers Insight report. These reports provide feedback that isn’t featured in the guide, including input from clients and markets. This information can be particularly helpful when you are focusing on getting a new attorney or practice ranked.
If you don’t get the recognition you were hoping for, don’t be too upset. Legal rankings in general and Chambers USA in particular are a marathon, not a sprint. Each award is different and getting an attorney or firm ranked is often a strategic, multi-year process.
Want to talk more about your rankings program, initiatives or submissions? Need help getting started or with submission guidance or review? Jaffe can help. Reach out to Evyan O’Keefe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 347.213.7656.