Tim Noble became chief executive officer (CEO) of Chambers and Partners in June 2019, joining the global research organization with a history of working at international data-driven enterprises. Having held senior leadership roles at ICE Data Services, SAP and Gartner, Tim brings a unique perspective to Chambers on marrying data insights, research, technology and services.
We asked Tim about his new role, his thoughts about the future of Chambers, the expansion in the U.S. market, and the introduction of new platforms and strategies for the legal profession.
Q: How has Chambers evolved over the past two years? When you joined Chambers this year, what was your initial priority?
A: In spring 2018, investment from Inflexion Private Equity provided Chambers the opportunity to develop a rapid growth plan in our services and technologies that are for the benefit of our customers and the legal industry around the world.
Before and since my arrival at Chambers, we have been setting the strategy for growth and creating a great foundation for our team to be innovative and begin to roll out some fantastic programs.
Q: Diversity and inclusion is a hot topic in the legal industry. How is Chambers addressing this issue in the research process?
A: We have an opportunity to drive change within the legal profession in terms of diversity and inclusion. One of our priorities this year is to build upon the data and information Chambers has published for the past several years and to generate much more dialogue about diversity and inclusion on a global basis.
Internally, we have also embedded our own diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategy into our overall business strategy, and we as an organization are driving inclusive behaviors internally through training, internal networks, policies and practices.
Since 2013, Chambers has conducted research and hosted diversity seminars across the United States, and we have seen enormous interest from firms and corporate counsel since then to continue providing data about diversity and inclusion. The general counsel whom our researchers speak to daily are asking their law firms, and indeed their own legal departments, to increase the pool of diverse talent.
This year, we launched the Chambers Diversity and Inclusion platform to provide research, training, workshops and forums to help deliver best practice and innovative D&I solutions, and to also acknowledge and honor diverse trailblazers and allies from across the profession around the world for their diversity programs.
Q: Chambers also recognized many in the legal profession for their progress in achieving greater diversity. Can you describe the nature of these awards?
A: We see that the legal profession is attentive to the D&I issue, and we know that many are working very hard to change their hiring practices and improve their diversity programs overall.
Dee Sekar was named Head of Diversity and Inclusion in 2018, and in addition to overseeing Chambers D&I research, hosted D&I Awards programs in San Francisco in June and in Amsterdam in October to honor and celebrate the winners. We also have a number of other D&I events planned throughout other regions over the next year.
We want to share their efforts with the global business community, and we have evolved our former Chambers Women in Law awards into the Chambers D&I Awards. The awards process is submission-based and requested information includes details of particular D&I programs and/or the work of individual lawyers, and also includes firm’s diversity data and client referees for us to speak to specifically about a firm's D&I efforts.
These awards are designed to recognize the leading corporations, general counsel, law firms and attorneys who are advancing diversity and inclusion in the legal industry around the world. In the U.S., we recognize and present awards in 16 categories for private practice attorneys and law firms and 12 categories for general counsel and corporate recognition. We are proud to shine the spotlight on and provide a platform of visibility for diverse lawyers and allies.
Q: How is Chambers helping to move the legal industry forward in terms of diversity?
A: In June 2019, at the U.S. awards program, we first announced the Chambers D&I Charter, which is a public pledge to address the root causes of inequality in the workplace by committing to D&I principles. The D&I Charter builds on the findings of the Chambers D&I program and offers law firms and legal departments [the opportunity] to become a charter signatory. The D&I Charter, which is free to join, asks signatories to commit to a set of principles that include building a diverse and inclusive workplace culture and attracting, recruiting and promoting diverse talent. Chambers will work with the signatories so corporate law departments and law firms around the world can share best practice.
Q: What other steps has Chambers taken to address D&I?
A: We have appointed a D&I Global Advisory Board composed of senior general counsel trailblazers who are at the forefront of driving inclusion across the legal profession. The advisory board is proactive in helping to shape and inform our D&I program to ensure it is global in nature as well as impactful.
In addition, as part of our U.S. research since 2018, we have targeted a 50/50 gender split for our private practice interviews, and we actively encourage law firms to provide a more-diverse set of independent references.
Also, as we previously announced, we are requesting D&I-related information as part of the Chambers submissions process globally, starting with the 2020/2021 research cycles. D&I data from the firms will be assessed as part of the overall Chambers research and will be included in the resulting editorial.
Q: Tell us more about Chambers’ U.S. expansion.
A: We opened our first U.S. office in New York City this summer. It’s exciting to get embedded in the country that is leading, and indeed driving, so much change around the world and across industries.
Q: As a relative newcomer to Chambers, what is your perspective about the research Chambers collects?
A: The organization’s dedication to research is evident in the fact that Chambers now employs more than 215 research analysts, each of whom delivers the core foundation of our work and who represent the integrity of our research. Our researchers speak 23 languages and work with 200 jurisdictions, using our research and analysis to paint a full picture from which we can determine a law firm or lawyer’s standing. At the same time, the research depends on the information we receive from firms’ clients and what we receive from the firms directly. We are always striving to improve our methodology and the content it generates.
Q: What have you discovered in terms of how law firms use the Chambers research?
A: Law firms are using the data to track trends, growth and changes from year to year. Our conversations have illuminated the fact that staff at law firms continuously update and track rankings over time and that the process can be challenging. We have heard that lawyers want more data than they can find in our website’s searchable database of attorney and firm rankings. With that in mind, we decided to develop a new platform that makes it easier to see and use Chambers data.
We have spent the past year creating a robust yet user-friendly, data-driven platform that we think law firms will find very useful. The platform is called Chambers Business Intelligence, or Chambers BI, and it allows firms to access data and benchmark their own performance against their competitors, understand market performance, and easily view historical data. Chambers BI responds to the law firms’ interest in looking deeper into selected practices, markets and trends for actionable insights.
The previously arduous task of tracking rankings over time is addressed with the Chambers BI platform, since reports can be obtained in just a matter of moments, providing a wealth of information and data management that never before had been possible. Chambers BI also offers customized reports and dashboards to showcase results, making it easier for informed decision-making and enhanced marketing activity.
Q: What are your thoughts about the future of Chambers and the future of legal industry research?
A: Chambers is in a strong position to continue empowering the legal profession with the world’s most-trusted research and intelligence. We are proud to roll out the D&I program and Chambers BI, but we won’t stop there. We are listening to our customers and the industry, and responding. We are building, with cutting-edge technology, a world-leading data and analytics business, particularly in this exciting period of change and transformation, not just for Chambers, but for the entire legal industry.