“Why am I not listed in Chambers, again?”

by Aileen Hinsch on May 23, 2014

200564345-001Most days, legal marketing is a rewarding, challenging job. Other days, such as the day that Chambers announces its rankings, are days when you feel like you’ve entered a minefield the minute you step into the office.

The attorneys who have maintained their ranking, or been added to Chambers’ exclusive list, might give you a quiet thank you if you’re lucky. Silence is okay, too. It’s the attorneys who haven’t gotten ranked that are going to call you today, or take the time to find your office and join you for a tête-à-tête.

In these cases, it’s best to be proactive, and have some strategies in place to mitigate any damage. Here are some tried and true tips from the front lines.

1. When Chambers releases its embargoed rankings, go through the list and answer these questions in writing:

  • Who stayed on list?
  • Who dropped off?
  • Who was added?
  • Who did not make it that we pushed for?

2. Review this list with the person to whom you report (i.e someone who’s got your back).

Create a plan of action for alerting attorneys of their successes and, more importantly, alerting those who didn’t make the cut. If you send a firm-wide notification, consider the feelings of those who aren’t on the list before sending an over-the-top congratulatory announcement.

3. Review the references.

  • How many references did the attorneys who weren’t ranked provide?
  • Did they take your advice (which I hope you gave) to confirm that the references would participate?
  • Did they take your advice (again, hoping here) to alert the references shortly before Chambers was planning to contact them?

Nine times out of 10, Chambers is going to tell you that the attorney didn’t get enough feedback. If you asked an attorney for five references and he gave you two, you’ve got your answer; you can probably leave Laura Mills alone. If you provided 10 references, you might want to follow up with the researcher, who will likely tell you that not enough responded. You can share this information with the attorney and select new references next year.

I realize the difficulty in providing 5-10 references for an attorney, especially when you are trying to position multiple attorneys within one practice group, and you are limited to only 15 references. If this is the case, you need to rethink your strategy entirely, because providing enough references is the key to getting an attorney ranked. Providing a couple of references for a lot of attorneys might get a practice group ranked, but not an individual. I recommend a minimum of seven references for a single attorney whom you are aiming to get ranked. Trying to please everyone probably means no one will end up happy. This is an instance when you have to decide which attorney is the priority.

4. Review the rankings.

It’s possible that the attorney just doesn’t belong on Chambers’ list. Review Chambers’ editorial descriptions to identify the types of matters and clients they are highlighting. Then see how your attorney stacks up against this list. I once took this approach with a practice group that was worried it wouldn’t have any ranked attorneys once its “Senior Statesman” moved off the list. We were able to analyze the editorial to determine what would resonate with Chambers in terms of matters and clients, and the following year (after providing a lot of references), the attorney we had positioned for inclusion made the list.

5. Invest in Chambers Confidential

If your firm has the money, consider purchasing Chambers Confidential. In the past, I’ve saved money by just purchasing it for specific practice areas, not the entire firm. Chambers Confidential can provide some helpful insights – such as if the market comments about your attorney are less than stellar. If that’s the case, try to work with what you learn. For example, if you learn that she’s not visible in the market, gently share that and work with her on a plan to increase visibility.

6. Still at a loss?

If the attorney who didn’t make the list is a true super star who provided lots of references and impressive matters, by all means, ask Chambers about it directly. Then create a strategy for how you’ll get your attorney ranked in 2015.




How LinkedIn Publishing Could Kill The Law Blog

May 7, 2014

For one brief, bright, shining moment in the history of mass human communication, everyone had the ability to talk to everyone else and no corporate gatekeeper was in control. In that moment — after the mass media no longer decided whose message would get through and before the social networks truly took over — you […]

0 comments Read the full article →

The Most Interesting Trends from Marketing Partner Forum 2014

February 28, 2014

In January, I spent three stimulating days at the Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute’s Marketing Partner Forum in Naples, Florida.  After 12 months of listening to much on-line prognosticating about the demise of BigLaw (and life as we know it, evidently) we heard numerous panels of managing partners, marketing partners, in-house counsel and CMOs who shared […]

0 comments Read the full article →

3 Steps to LinkedIn Company Pages That Sizzle

January 11, 2014

While we all know that LinkedIn.com is the world’s largest professional networking community, there is so much more that a law firm can do in this social utility than just make sure its lawyers have profiles (though that is of critical importance). Can you say, “Company pages?” At their most basic level, LinkedIn.com Company pages […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Getting Ahead with Gratitude

December 16, 2013

(originally published in the newsletter of the LMA Capital Chapter) With the holiday season upon us, law firms’ thoughts turn to the logistics of sending holiday cards and brainstorming the hottest client gifts. And, while these touch points show clients that your attorneys appreciate their business, why not consider taking it a step further and […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Law Firms Can Use LinkedIn’s New Showcase Pages For Niche Focus

November 26, 2013

LinkedIn.com has introduced a special type of Company page they are calling Showcase pages, where organizations with multiple services, products and brands can concentrate on a single product line and aggregate its own community of interest. For law firms, here is a digital property where you can amplify your niche expertise while maintaining the broad […]

0 comments Read the full article →

How a Lawyer Can Start a Successful LinkedIn Group (Part 3)

September 4, 2013

This is the third post in a three-part series detailing how lawyers can start successful LinkedIn Groups as part of their business development strategy. In our previous posts, we looked at some preliminary steps attorneys can take in order to start a LinkedIn Group. Once you’ve started a LinkedIn group, it’s important not only to […]

1 comment Read the full article →

How a Lawyer can Start a Successful LinkedIn Group for Business Development (Part 2 of 3)

August 20, 2013

This is the second post in a three-part series detailing how lawyers can start successful LinkedIn Groups to foster their business development efforts. In my previous post, we looked at some preliminary steps attorneys can take to plan a LinkedIn Group. Once you’ve laid this foundation, it’s time ask yourself three questions: Has the niche […]

1 comment Read the full article →

How a Lawyer can Start a Successful LinkedIn Group (Part 1 of 3)

August 8, 2013

This is the first post in a three-part series detailing how lawyers can start successful LinkedIn Groups. Click here to read part two and here to read part three.  While much has been written about how lawyers can have successful blogs, including two recent articles by us at Knapp (see Law Blog Best Practices and […]

3 comments Read the full article →

Toward Great Attorney Bios: 6 steps every lawyer can take right now

July 1, 2013

Most lawyers are bright, passionate, interesting, engaged and successful. But when it comes to their bios, we tend to see them described in ways that are dull, wordy and unremarkable. The reason? Lawyers practice law, not bio writing.

1 comment Read the full article →