Chambers Submissions: Are They Worth the Time?
- Posted by Poston Communications
- On September 17, 2020
- Chambers and Partners, Chambers law firm rankings, Chambers submissions
We are in the midst of Chambers USA season now, and many law firms are scrambling to meet the deadlines. Chambers submissions take many hours to complete and require the cooperation of what may be the busiest lawyers in the firm. Is it worth it? Does it really matter if your firm is ranked in Chambers?
There is no definitive answer to that question, and the response is also influenced by a firm’s goals and competitive landscape. In general, with the legal industry becoming more competitive than ever, we suggest it’s best to take advantage of any opportunity for credible peer recognition. Let’s start with the credibility factor.
This is the ranking that means something. Only 2% of law firms in the United States are ranked by Chambers, and you can’t buy your way onto the list by purchasing a profile, sponsorship or advertisement. Everybody knows the legal world is overloaded with dubious rankings that purport to rank the top lawyers, and most of them exist solely to sell you a plaque after you are ranked. Chambers stands alone in using a strict methodology and tirelessly vetting law firms and attorneys through hours and hours of client interviews. If you only have one ranking, this is the one you want.
Another arrow in your quiver. General counsel and other corporate buyers of legal services, unsurprisingly, rely most on recommendations of people they trust, according to a survey of corporate counsel. Firm bios, content that demonstrates a lawyer’s expertise and a LinkedIn presence all can be part of the calculation in looking for a new firm. With that said, 67% of those surveyed said they also consult rankings. Obviously, you can get a GC’s attention without being in Chambers, but it does reach more than half of this coveted audience.
Make the short list. You won’t win a client engagement only because you are in the Chambers rankings. But clients do use credible rankings to assemble a shortlist of potential law firms and to locate specialist firms in unfamiliar jurisdictions. Buyers of legal services may treat directories as a “tiebreaker” to choose between two potential firms who are otherwise equal.
Firms and individual brands get attention in Chambers. Thousands of lawyers receive individual rankings in Chambers, even if their practice and firm do not win attention. Depending on the practice and industry focus, an individual ranking may be worth more than recognition of a practice. Most clients are hiring lawyers, not firms.
It’s part of your recruiting pitch. The hottest laterals are looking for firms that are at the top of their game and provide the most opportunity. They know how hard it is to win a Chambers ranking.
Chambers isn’t for everyone. We know there are many, many firms, practices and lawyers that are among the best in their fields but for various reasons are unlikely to get ranked. If you are not currently ranked, do an assessment, perhaps with the help of a consultant who has experience with Chambers and who can help you determine if this is a realistic goal or if your time is better spent applying for different rankings or in other marketing activities.