We are in the midst of the Chambers USA submission season. With four months left, now is a great time to reflect on how the process has been working for your firm and institute changes if necessary. Are you struggling to get attorney feedback? Is it tough to whittle down the number of attorneys you are nominating? How is client feedback going? There are a number of steps you can take now to improve the Chambers submission process for the remainder of your submissions and – if you are finished already – to prepare for other legal ranking nominations.

Create a Business Plan

I know this seems weird; you’re crafting a Chambers submission – pretty straightforward. But you need to consider what the firm is trying to achieve via its Chambers rankings. The best way to do this is to create a winning strategy.

One tactic to consider in your Chambers rankings plan is to minimize the number of unranked attorneys you submit. While it is tempting to nominate an entire practice group, it is best to focus on well-written nominations for a few attorneys. The researchers receive thousands of nominations. Focusing their attention on a few key individuals allows them to spend the time to vet them properly.

You also need to manage expectations internally. It is a good idea to remind attorneys that it will take repeated nominations to “make the list.” Chambers has a thorough vetting process, and generally it takes several years for the Chambers committee to recognize an unranked attorney. That’s because Chambers looks for a significant and sustained body of work in their ranked attorneys.

Hit the High Points

Provide straightforward write-ups. Whether you are giving feedback on current ranking attorneys or completing the summary of matters, providing detailed information in plain English is key. To reiterate, the researchers are reading thousands of nominations, so cut to the chase. Tell them who the client is, why the matter is important to them and how the attorney achieved the results. Include any quantifiable information available as well. It really is that simple.

Quality Referees

There are several points to take into account when selecting referees for your Chambers submissions, but the two most important are:

  • Will they give a favorable review?
  • Will they respond to the researcher’s inquiry?

Client feedback weighs heavily in Chambers rankings. You should speak to your potential referees to ensure they would like to be a reference for your work and that they will give a glowing review.

Finally, it is by far better to select a referee who will make the time to speak to the Chambers researchers than one who won’t. The best client in the world will not be heard if they ignore Chambers’ request to meet.

How Did You Do Last Year?

I’ve received numerous requests for assistance this year due to attorneys slipping in the rankings. It is always a good idea to contact Chambers to find out what happened. Did the attorney receive a bad review? Did the submission tell a compelling story? Finding the reasons behind a change in ranking will often shed light on opportunities for improvement this year.

For more information on what’s new for Chambers rankings in 2017, or if you would like help with Chambers submissions or other legal rankings at your firm, contact me, Susan Holmes, at sholmes@jaffepr.com