Six out of 10 GCs say they consult legal directories before appointing a law firm, finds MD Communications white paper

Request a copy of our white paperLegal Directories: Are they still relevant?

While legal professionals say directories are genuinely useful, a report released today by MD Communications, shows more than half of law firms believe they don’t get the rankings they deserve and 84 per cent are frustrated with the time it takes to make a submission.

Firms spend a great deal of time and effort on legal directories, with some submitting over 1,000 entries annually, though less than a third say they are satisfied with the contact they have with directory researchers.

But despite these sentiments, the message is clear – directories are here to stay, they’re generally well used and are really important for winning business and standing out in a competitive market.

In fact, 81 per cent of law firms say they use their rankings in Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500 when making pitches for work.

And six out of 10 in-house general counsel say they consult legal directories before appointing a law firm.

The results reflect the views of global law firms, corporate counsel and business development professionals published in a white paper called ‘Legal Directories: Are they still relevant?’, by legal communications specialists MD Communications.

The research, released at this year’s International Bar Association conference in Sydney today (Wednesday, 11 October, 2017), indicates directories really come into their own and display their usefulness in the international legal market.

Four in 10 law firms say their rankings have led to international work and 54 per cent say potential clients mention their directory rankings.

In addition, 63 per cent of law firms believe directories still matter in the legal world while more than six out of 10 think they will last more than five years.

Among general counsel, 93 per cent say they consult The Legal 500, 86 per cent Chambers & Partners, 36 per cent Who’s Who Legal, and 14 per cent the International Financial Law Review.

Even though they are seen as important, those compiling legal directories say some law firms fail to gain the rankings they deserve as the firms often leave inexperienced members of staff in charge of submissions. This, they add, is in contrast to the resources they may have dedicated to the process.

MD Communications managing director Melissa Davis said:

“The directories are here to stay, and they are used. While this research uncovered some dissatisfaction with the directories, importantly the main directories are shown to be generally useful.

“They are a rich source of information and allow firms to stand out in a market that remains complex, diverse and fiercely competitive.

“Our white paper shows the industry genuinely believes legal directories will remain very relevant for some time and therefore it is important that law firms think strategically about them as a key part of their communications strategy.”

Request a copy of the white paper

To obtain a copy of the white paper Legal Directories: Are they still relevant?, please email

Notes for editors:

  • The report reflects the views of 221 lawyers and business development professionals from around the world, and in-depth interviews with general counsel and firms of all sizes.
  • MD Communications specialises in international legal PR, legal directories and all aspects of reputation management. Its founder Melissa Davis is chair of the IBA Law Firm Management Committee Business Development Working Group.
  • For more information please contact MD Communications on 020 3475 3727.
  • To obtain a copy of the white paper Legal Directories: Are they still relevant? please email

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