Legal directories- a short guide

Chambers and Partners:

Founded in the early 90’s, Chambers’ track record is one of the longest and most prestigious in the market. As a result, it is also one of the most demanding legal directories. It boasts a 200-strong team of multilingual researchers who are based in London. It sets a number of deadlines throughout the year, differing according to jurisdiction and practice area.

Legal 500:

From its London offices, Legal 500 has researched legal markets in more than 150 jurisdictions for 33 years. Although its rankings do include individuals as well as firms, it has a stronger focus on the latter and its rankings are therefore not as detailed as Chambers’. It sets annual deadlines which vary according to jurisdiction.

Best Lawyers:

With offices in Florida, Georgia and New York, this US directory’s rankings are purely based on peer review. It does not request references from clients- a key requirement set by other legal directories. Recommendations can me made annually on its website.

Leaders League:

This French-headquartered publisher’s scope extends beyond rankings, although this is an area of growth. Currently undergoing an expansion phase, it recently opened offices in Madrid and London. Deadlines for its submissions, which require a high level of detail, vary according to jurisdiction and practice area.

As well as the legal directories described above, there are a number of specialised publications which focus on a particular area of expertise. These include World Trademark Review, IP Stars, IAM Patent 1000, Global Arbitration Review, Benchmark Litigation, and ITR World Tax. Latin Lawyer 250 and Latin Lawyer National cover the Latin America region. Directory Solutions offers extensive experience in the full range of directories.

How to make the most of your submissions to Chambers and Partners

“To say something in a complicated way is very easy. But to find a way to say it simply—that takes a lot of work.” Philippe Starck, designer.

Writing in a clear, non-technical way, is essential if we are to present an effective submission to legal directories such as Chambers and Partners. Although some of the editors and researchers have studied Law, their job is more akin to journalism and market research, and as such they come from a variety of backgrounds including Languages, History and Journalism. We must adapt the content of our submissions to this audience, and focus on the elements which will produce the greatest impact.

Become familiar with Practice Area Definitions

The internal organisation of law firms varies according to the way which allows them to best meet client needs and make the most efficient use of resources. One firm might have an IP and TMT Department, while another might have an IP and Media department with a separate IT practice. It may seem obvious, but one of the most common mistakes in submissions is to fail to adapt them to Chambers´ practice area definitions, which won´t necessarily match your own. You will find extensive descriptions of each practice area on the following link: Chambers and Partners global practice area definitions

Choose your referees carefully

One of the most important factors when it comes to improving firm or individual rankings is client feedback. Picking the people we work most closely with is more important than their job title- Chambers doesn´t care whether their interviewee is the CEO, CFO or the Head of Legal. They want to speak to clients who are available and have in-depth comments to offer. Sometimes, it may be appropriate to provide the details of lawyers from other firms, judges etc.

Try not to use the same referees again and again

Chambers understands that they are dealing with very busy people and they will not interview the same person more than twice in a year. If you provide the same details again and again, it is possible they will not get contacted at all.

Follow up with researchers

You don´t want to be that guy who calls every day to check how the research is going, but it is good to stay in touch. Maybe send one polite follow-up email to check if your referees are being responsive, and send a small reminder if necessary.

Obtain feedback on your rankings

If you´re devastated that you´re still in band 2 while your (far less handsome) competitor has managed to climb to band 1, please don´t pick up the phone and shout to the editor. Yes, it is frustrating, but the most practical and productive course of action is to obtain useful information that will allow you to improve your submissions. Wait a week or two and kindly request feedback from the Deputy Editor for your country.