Nominating Clients and Prospects for Legal Industry Awards: Key in a Law Firm’s Business Development Toolbox
- Posted by Leslie Valenza
- On September 14, 2021
- award nominations, business development, content, Poston Content
Spotlighting successful collaborations with clients is an important step in demonstrating your firm’s commitment to innovation, leadership and service. Nominating clients for recognitions that honor distinguished in-house talent is a great way to express gratitude to clients for entrusting your firm with their high-valued legal matters. Yet award submissions are a relationship-building tactic underutilized by outside counsel.
In addition to promoting significant litigation wins or landmark deals, perhaps your firm has partnered with clients to create solutions that streamline the delivery of legal services or advance diversity, equity and inclusion within the industry. Or maybe your firm teamed up with an in-house legal department to deliver pro bono assistance to struggling communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. And most importantly, consider the ways your clients demonstrate their leadership in their industries, organizations and communities.
To implement this concept as part of your 2021 business development and public relations integration strategy, we are beginning a short series of posts that focus on legal industry awards that recognize law firm-client partnerships and / or corporate legal departments.
First up, American Lawyer Media’s Law.com and Legalweek are seeking nominations for the Leaders in Tech Law Awards recognizing U.S.-based lawyers and professionals who have led “cutting edge matters at the intersection of law and technology.”
The awards will honor both law firm and in-house attorneys across numerous categories, including:
- Tech-Enabled Litigation Department of the Year
- Start-Up Firm / Emerging Company Law Firm of the Year
- Most Innovative Legal Department of the Year
- Most Innovative Operations Team of the Year
- Innovators of the Year (Individual)
- New Law Company of the Year (alternative legal service providers working for technology companies)
- Innovations in Pro Bono
- Innovations in Diversity and Inclusion
- Championing Diversity in Tech
- Lifetime Achievement
Additional categories recognizing vendors (fee required) and courts may be found here.
What are the judges looking for?
In short, the judges are seeking “concrete, and preferably measurable, ways” in which the lawyers or professionals contributed to the success of his or her company, the advancement of diversity and inclusion, or the expansion of access to pro bono legal services.” Nominations must focus on “precedent-setting” or “game-changing” projects or initiatives in the U.S.
The 2021 winners were recognized for spearheading a range of initiatives, including the creative use of artificial intelligence to streamline contract approvals, the development of a cutting edge case management system to increase productivity, and the innovative use of technology to enhance the advancement and mentorship of women and minority lawyers.
What is the submission process?
Nominations must be made via ALM’s online portal and submission questions vary depending on the award category. For example, questions for the In-house “Innovations in Pro Bono” category include:
- Project / Initiative: Define the project or initiative’s scope. Include timelines, goals and team members. Nominations may focus on a particular stage of a long-term project. (250 words)
- Execution: Describe how the matter or project was carried out for the client. How successful was the implementation? Was it within budget and delivered in time? What have been its benefits? Provide hard evidence that goals have, or are being, achieved. (450 words)
- Reference: Provide a written reference that illustrates the success of the project and team. (100 words)
- Q&A: What are some of the biggest challenges the team / individual faced in the past year and how did they overcome them? (200 words)
- Q&A: How would you rate the current legal system drive towards encouraging access to justice? Is there tangible movement in closing the justice gap? (200 words)
- Q&A: What role do you believe technology will play in the future of pro bono and access to justice work? (200 words)
Supplemental materials such as photos, PDF files, YouTube or Vimeo videos and website links may also be submitted. However, additional written material will not be considered by judges.
Demonstrating the range in essay questions required, submissions for the in-house “Lifetime Achievement” category include:
- Description of Role: Describe your role, number of years of experience and areas of responsibility (100 words)
- Achievements: How have you excelled in your role? Provide evidence of your leadership ability, strategic vision, troubleshooting and legal skills, client satisfaction and contribution to the success of the business and the wider community. (600 words)
- Reference: Provide one short written reference from inside or outside the firm / organization for an on-the-record conversation about the nominee’s legal work and accomplishments. Provide the name and title of the person providing the reference. (100 words)
- Lifetime Achievement Essay: Describe why the nominee deserves to be nominated for this honor. Include career highlights and achievements. (600 words)
- Upload nominee headshot
It’s important to note that if selected, certain responses provided in the submission form may be published in the awards supplement, and therefore, must be attributed to one or two individuals. Interviews with the nominee and / or references may be requested.
Nominations are due October 18, 2021, and winners will be recognized at an awards ceremony during Legalweek New York on February 2, 2022.
Other prominent national recognitions that focus on legal departments and / or feature client collaborations that we will watch and report on for you include awards from The American Lawyer, the Association of Corporate Counsel and Chambers among others.
Our Poston Content team watches for the many awards that law firms regularly pursue and has a winning track record of successes. To learn more, visit our website at www.postoncommunications.com or contact us today.