Nothing is certain except directories and taxes


As some firms receive the embargoed UK Legal 500 rankings, our Director of Content and legal directories expert Anthony Notaras discusses why BD and communications teams should harness that surge in partner interest and take the pain out of the next submissions round.

Happy Directories Day everybody!

Particularly to those UK-based lawyers, and BD and marketing teams reading this on 4 October. In case it’s not already marked in your diary with a crying face emoji, this is when the Legal 500 publishes its UK rankings, (or 27 September for those fancy pants firms who forked out for the embargoed early results).

The second shoe drops on 19 October when Chambers UK goes live with its own rankings.

Not just them, you too

And if you’re a law firm based elsewhere in the world, don’t get all smug thinking this doesn’t apply to you. Much like taxes, that other annual certainty, you know those directories are looming somewhere on the horizon. Switch the locations and times in our opening paragraph and this will be you in a few months’ time.  Because on a global level, in some shape or form, every day is Directories Day.

Right now, at this very moment, someone somewhere is writing a legal directory submission, organising a research interview, or anguishing over why their client referees haven’t been contacted. Or, as in the UK, they’re about to learn how all their efforts have been reflected in the rankings.

Feedback fun

For BD and communications teams stuck in the middle, the subsequent rankings conversations with partners typically go three ways:

  1. Congratulations you got promoted!
  2. Commiserations you were demoted (or heaven forbid, ignored)!
  3. Congriserations, you’re still ranked in tier 3 out of 4 – but hey, chin up, at least you’re ‘well regarded’.

Unsurprisingly, many of conversations two and three will be with partners or practice heads whose extremely high interest in the rankings has an inverse correlation with their engagement with the actual submission process.

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Future savings

While the rankings will never be fully in your control, those submission frustrations can be tamed. And Directories Day is the perfect time to start.

What better moment to bottle that awkward partner’s sudden interest/rage and begin work on their next submission? Maybe they will care enough to give some consideration to the bland overview section that was previously copy-and-pasted from the firm website. Maybe they will provide some insightful, evidence-backed reasons to support their push for a higher ranking (rather than ‘just because’). Maybe they’ll even give some time to the work highlights. After all, the next round of submission deadlines isn’t a secret, (December to March for the UK, since you asked). It’s not a massive leap to calculate which work highlights will be out of date and which won’t.

Get all that nailed and you’re 90% there, basking in the glow of a strong submission template that only needs some minor regular feeding. Like taxes, you bank a little something every month – a private equity deal here, an IP dispute there – so come that annual, entirely predictable deadline day, you’re not frantically scrambling around for ALL THE MONEY. Those regular savings might also generate interest to be used elsewhere, like an RFP case study or an internal review.

Consider it a little gift to your future self on that next Directories Day – wherever and whenever it may be.

If you need support with your next round of submissions, please get in touch with our experienced Directories team.

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