Chambers is Calling: Four Tips to Prepare for a Successful Interview
- Posted by Monica Smith
- On August 31, 2020
- Chambers and Partners, Chambers law firm rankings, Chambers submissions
After weeks of culling through matters, contacting referees and making your Chambers submission, you think you’ve put that project to bed for the year, right? Well, not so fast. If you made your submission for the deadline in July, you’ve likely already been contacted by a researcher offering an interview. Likewise, if your deadline was in the third week of August, expect to be contacted this week or next.
How do you make the most of this one-hour call with the Chambers editorial team? Here are our tips.
Begin with Gratitude
As we counsel in media training, establishing a rapport up front with the researcher goes a long way. Start by thanking the researcher for his or her time now on the interview, as well as for the hours that go into learning about your market, reviewing your submission and speaking with your references.
Know the Key Points of Your Matters
While this interview is largely on background and you don’t have to worry about being quoted directly, avoid the tenancy to think, “I just have to get on the phone and talk about my work.” Ideally, you want to extract the most important information from your submission, so prepare message points to be sure you’re underscoring your leadership, client results and legal perspective. In introducing your practice, demonstrate what differentiates you. For example, “We are a full-service litigation practice, but we are known for our results in high-stakes and complex construction and public power projects.”
Be ready to educate the researcher as to why your matters are precedential, industry-changing or otherwise significant. Further, tell the researcher why this matter was important for the client. This could include bet-the-company litigation, big dollars at stake, the first-of-its-kind or unusual legal challenges. What you are really saying is, “When clients have a matter too big to fail, they rely on us.”
Also, make sure you are well-versed with the details of any matters included in the submission with which you were not directly involved. Be ready to make the case for lawyers on your team who may deserve to be ranked for the first time or should be watched as part of your firm’s succession planning process.
Prepare to Give Insights on the Market
The researcher is going to ask you quite a bit about other practitioners in your space. Aim to show parity with these parties when relevant without bad-mouthing anyone. If asked about your fiercest competitor, “What do you think of Joe Smith?” A great response would be, “Joe and I worked opposite each other this year in Matter Number 2 on the submission. He was a worthy advocate for his client and while our team prevailed, he was well-respected in the courtroom and by his client.”
You can let the researcher know if a competitive firm has lost a key partner or is targeting different kinds of work. Objectively offer your feedback, but avoid criticism.
In the same vein, be ready to introduce Chambers to new names that may not have been previously ranked. Sharing this perspective is an excellent way to demonstrate your leadership in the market.
Lastly, tell the researcher how the market is changing and how your firm is adjusting. For instance, “Nobody does this type of tax credit deal anymore, but there’s a new strategy and our lawyers are doing more of those deals than any other firm in the region.”
Consider Media Training
If you haven’t been formally media trained, don’t put it off. Our team is conducting virtual coaching sessions daily, and we would be happy to review best practices and rehearse with you. Just like in a media interview, talking with the researcher is a conversation, but one that you want to lead. We can equip you with techniques that help move your narrative forward.
Monica Smith is president of Poston Communications.