It’s never too early to start preparing for next year’s legal rankings.  Just thinking of it can leave even a seasoned legal marketer in a cold sweat. Without a doubt, planning for lawyer and law firm rankings, surveys and directories can bog down even the most efficient marketers. But you don’t have to feel this way. With the right outline in place, the legal rankings process can be turnkey for your firm.

Here are a few steps to get you off on the right foot.

  • Appoint someone to manage the process: With the myriad of hats the average legal marketer wears, managing the lawyer rankings process can easily get overlooked. That is, until one of your attorneys notices not being ranked and wants to know why. 
  • Strategize: Look at where you and your competition were ranked this year.  A thorough analysis of how the firm’s practice groups stack up to those already ranked will help secure partner buy-in and involvement in the planning process.
  • Determine which rankings are important to your firm: Think about what your current and potential clients are reading or where they look for insights into their business.  Put those at the top of your priority list.
  • Maintain a calendar of event/publication dates: Contact publications and organizations to determine when they will publish rankings or their award events will take place. Nominations can be due anywhere from six weeks to nine months before publication. You will have to constantly monitor their websites for updates regarding nominations.
  • Keep track of milestones throughout the year: Maintain files of successes, speaking engagements, industry involvement and even pro bono work. By stashing these tidbits throughout the year, you will have a repository to pull from when it is time to nominate.
  • Meet with department heads for each of your firm’s practice groups to vet potential legal rankings and secure buy-in:  Follow up by sending a short email to the appropriate lawyers to get them to start thinking about potential stories. 
  • Keep attorneys and practice group leaders up to date on the timing of submissions and award dates. 

If you are so short-staffed that no one can step up to be a point person, consider outsourcing lawyer rankings. Outsourcing rankings to an expert can help you cut through the clutter and identify the rankings that are right for your firm. Outsourcing may be cheaper, and it definitely will be easier. 

For more information, you can contact me at sholmes@jaffepr.com