I consigli di Mike Nash per una submission vincente
As promised, here is a summary of The Legal 500 ranking criteria and advice on preparing future submissions and client referees. Paying attention to these should help the law firm to optimise arguments in its favour.
How are rankings determined?
• Work highlights (where we look at the past 12 months but also the recent historical track record for context)
• Breadth of practice area coverage
• Breadth of industry sector coverage
• Depth and experience of team / changes to team
• Client and other referee feedback
• Significant market/economic developments
• Ancillary services
• Your law firm benchmarked against the competition
These factors may vary in importance, depending on practice area and country; track record of work is the most important thing.
The following advice may be helpful for you in preparing future submissions and client referees:
1) Ensure that every submission is in a separate Word document - so, one document for Dispute resolution, another for Insurance etc. This means that the document is concise and the key information is much easier to find. Bear in mind that every researcher receives hundreds of submissions, so making sure the submission arrives on time and is focused/concise as possible is important
2) Submissions should be concise; begin each submission with a list of brief bullet points to make the points you want to about the practice and to highlight certain facts (e.g. if your firm won a precedent-setting decision during the past year, this would be worth saying)
3) Improve client referee feedback - we contact 300,000+ clients globally each year and so it is an important part of the process - provide more client referees to contact; there is no limit to the number of client referees that The Legal 500 will contact, so you can provide clients for every lawyer you want to be recommended. Aiming for 20 client referees per practice is a good guideline - in-house counsel are better as client referees than CEOs because they are more likely to respond, know the law and know your team - always select recent or currently active clients; don't use clients that haven't instructed with you for several years - don't always include the most senior general counsel - sometimes the most responsive referees are more junior members of the team, who may have more time and are also more aware of the day-to-day work carried out by your lawyers - if you get referral work from law firms in other jurisdictions, you may include lawyers from those firms as referees - they know the law, know the client and are not competing with you, so can provide very valuable feedback - ensure that all clients are current or recent clients and are willing to assist. Tell the clients that the process is confidential and questions can be answered in 2 minutes (the 5 questions we ask are available under FAQs at www.legal500.com/assets/pages/about-us/get-involved.html - we will email your law firm to announce when we will contact the clients (this means you can tell the client exactly what is expected of them, when they will be contacted and by whom) - if there are lawyers you want us to recognise, ensure that some clients of that lawyer are included in the client referee list
- These measures should substantially increase response percentage
4) When highlighting your lawyers, don't only focus on key partners - use the submission to identify up-and-coming lawyers that have experience and are an important part of the team (e.g. younger partners, counsel or senior associates) or any lawyers that you feel we should recommend - provide examples of their work and some of their clients to contact; The Legal 500 focuses on depth of senior experience but also supported by consistent depth throughout the team. Therefore, demonstrating the abilities of a number of individuals will help to show the strength of the team as a whole
5) Look at the full scope of the practice area as The Legal 500 covers it and try to provide examples to show the variety of work across the whole practice area; law firms will be credited if they cover all aspects of a practice and have demonstrable experience across various industry sectors; for example, in Banking and Finance, it is worth pointing out that you also have a significant body of work in banking and finance disputes as well as on the non-contentious side
6) When providing detailed work highlights, try to include the beginning and end dates of the matter / include the names of the primary lawyers involved / name the counterparty (if relevant) / do name the client (publishably or confidentially). If a client cannot be named, there is not much point including the example because we can't really use the work if we can't verify it happened. Identifying the lawyers involved will help us to track their career progress and potentially recommend that individual in future. Naming the counterparty helps us with verification
7) Mark all confidential matters or clients every time you mention them - mark them as CONFIDENTIAL in bold red capitals and put any confidential work highlights in red
8) Try to avoid the temptation to provide more than 10 main work highlights because it begins to dilute the message and/or overloads the researcher with info; if you would like to provide more than 10 examples, then include an appendix of "Other matters the firm has handled" during the research period - those should be really brief bullet point outlines of who the client was, who was the key lawyer and what the work was - we can look at that on a supplemental basis and come back to you for more info, if desired
9) After providing 10 main work highlights, also then list other active clients and identify which ones are new clients and which are longstanding clients. Each type of client is an endorsement of the practice without even needing to talk to the client because there is no better evidence that clients are happy than that they have stayed for years and, equally, no better sign a practice is doing well than that is attracting new clients
10) If you are submitting for a new practice area, it may be helpful to provide 3-4 examples from each of the previous 2 years as well as 10 examples from the past year as this will allow us to look at your team's track record in the space
11) Biographies are not needed as part of the submission if your firm has a modern, functional website. Simply name the key lawyers and identify their key function, then provide hyperlink to website.