Now that the Chambers submissions are done, on to Legal 500. Having filed submissions for both magic circle law firms and barristers’ chambers here is my advice on the process for Legal 500:
Even if you were unsuccessful last year, try again. It is all part of building a profile, and a relationship, with the editorial team. They need time to get to know you and your practice. It can take two to three years to gain a ranking or longer in the most popular practice areas where competition for rankings is fiercest.
Hit the deadline. It sounds obvious but many don’t. It is difficult enough for the researchers to wade through the hundreds of submissions for their practice areas without looking out for stragglers. You are likely to get special attention but not of the right kind.
Play the game. If they ask for five cases, give them five not 15. The researchers have limited time to spend on each section. They do not have all the time in the world. If you submit more than they ask for they are likely to read the first five cases: if you have saved your best until last you will miss out completely. It is also a useful discipline to take the time to choose your best cases.
Tailor your submission to the relevant directory. Legal 500 asks for more detail in their submissions and relies more on the written submission than Chambers does. For example, Legal 500 has a section on case significance which is a useful reminder to you and the researcher as to why you chose the case: what makes it special? Why is it interesting? Why is it an outstanding case for you? If you are stumped for an answer you may wish to reconsider your choice.
Choosing your referees: Legal 500 ask for 15+ referees and you can provide more. This is because their response rates from referees are low at around the 20% mark. Choose people who will rave about you and who will make the effort to engage on your behalf. It is worth offering to do the same for them. Both solicitors and barristers are involved in this process and people are often grateful for the offer.
This is an annual process, like the sun, it comes round every year. Don’t leave it until the last minute, you put pressure on yourself and the marketing team if you do. Record your cases throughout the year for next year’s round to avoid a last minute rush. Legal 500 deadlines are in mid-April so you have no time to lose.
One final point, feel free to get in touch about Handyside.Legal, my unique web-based system designed to streamline the directories’ submission process which is currently being used by 750+ lawyers.