- Posted by Poston Communications
- On August 19, 2019
- Chambers, Chambers and Partners, Chambers law firm rankings, Chambers submissions, Chambers USA, client references, legal marketing, referees
Asking for client references is a tricky request but an essential component of Chambers submissions. Once you’ve made the ask, however, you can make the process as painless – and dare we suggest positive? – as possible by delivering white-glove client service when it comes to the interviews.
Making the Request
Express your gratitude for clients’ participation in the process and help them understand why Chambers submissions matter to your firm. You might say, “Favorable Chambers rankings help us hire top talent, and the feedback we receive helps us to improve our practice.”
You must encourage your references – “referees” in Chamber’s parlance – to respond to Chambers. Client feedback is essential, and if they don’t return calls to the researchers you are unlikely to advance in the rankings. If you know clients will be out of the office during the research period, ask whether there is another individual in the organization who could pinch-hit and speak positively about your firm. Fewer than half of referees return Chambers’ calls, and that likely can be attributed to choosing people who are too busy or who don’t understand the importance of the research.
Preparing for Chambers Calls or Emails
Give your references a taste of what the researcher is looking for when calling. Some of the questions commonly asked by Chambers include:
- What kind of work has the firm handled for you over the past 12 months?
- How does this firm compare with any others you may have dealt with this year?
- What are the team’s particular strengths and weaknesses?
- What could the firm improve upon in its services?
- What individuals in the practice stand out?
Encourage clients to use discretion. It is perfectly reasonable to ask the researcher to mark a matter or portion of the discussion as confidential. Speaking on background is acceptable and still very helpful in educating the researcher on the firm’s strengths.
Encourage Them to Take the Lead
Just like in a media interview, we encourage references to have message points prepared and to be proactive in getting those points across. Message points also will help focus the interview and make better use of the referee’s time, an important selling point because these are busy people who may be reluctant to carve out 30 minutes in their day for what may seem like an open-ended call.
Some references have reported to us that Chambers researchers did not specify the law firm about which they were calling; they simply asked clients to “tell us about the law firms that you use and your general impressions.” It is prudent for references to quickly make the connection about your firm and begin to discuss specific examples of your success.
Coach Them on the Legal Issues Involved
It is important for client references to be able to speak directly to the matters included in your submission. Remind them of the challenges of the matter and why – from a legal perspective – your leadership on the deal or case was effective. Perhaps you could say, “In our submission, we emphasized our work together on X matter. As you know, this was a particularly challenging deal because of multijurisdictional regulations that had to be addressed.”
As always, we welcome the opportunity to share more about our Poston Content team’s experience in counseling clients through the Chambers submission process.