Now that Chambers submissions have been completed, you can relax, right? Actually, now is the ideal time to conduct an internal post mortem to see how you can improve your in-house processes in 2017 to ensure better Chambers results. If you want to avoid the last minute Chambers scramble this year, take a frank look now at your system for collecting and editing information for this and all rankings, and consider ways to streamline and manage the process.
Firms who are consistently ranked in Chambers know that preparation for submission season takes all year long. Getting to this stage of preparation may require an investment of some time and energy, but it yields the benefit of a more orderly, less stressful process when deadlines loom. The advantages extend beyond just Chambers: information gathered from lawyers in an orderly, well documented way provides data which can not only be used in other submissions, but also in marketing materials and RFPs throughout the year.
Here are some tips you can implement now to make the process easier next year.
1.) Analyze your prior submissions – even for other ranking services.
Watch to see whether individual practitioners are rising or falling in the ranks; make sure you update biographies. Observe and document the ebb and flow of your practices: keep track of developments and trends in case law, industry sectors and law firm business.
2.) Keep your website up to date.
Bios, practice group descriptions, and representative matters which are up-to-date online are invaluable for Chambers and other marketing efforts.
3.) Keep a running track record for each practice group.
Each department’s most significant matters should be documented and frequently updated in a format which includes the details Chambers requires: matter value, names of counsel and opposing counsel, is it a cross border matter?
4) Keep it simple.
Describe matters for posterity, using language non-lawyers will understand. Chambers researchers are not attorneys. They are also not American, so don’t assume they will understand or appreciate American definitions, acronyms and spelling conventions.
5) Keep track of firm and case mentions in the press.
Media mentions of your lawyers and of the cases in the submission give important third party validation to your own glowing descriptions of yourself. When one of your matters is mentioned in the media, update your Chambers track record.
6) Consider outside support.
If one of your lawyers or practice groups is not getting ranked when you know they should, it may be time to call for extra help. Consultants like Knapp Marketing can analyze your processes and advise how to improve in the coming year. If it feels like your Chambers process is chaotic and inefficient, we can assist you in setting goals and establishing systems which take the headache out of submissions. We also instruct firms on how to leverage the information collected for ranking submissions in other marketing and business development initiatives (i.e. see our previous post on Chambers referees).
Investing in these best practices over the course of the year will provide valuable return in the creation of impressive Chambers submissions, both for firms new to the process and for firms seeking to improve and maintain their rankings.