How much time does your firm spend on legal directory entries? And how does it compare to others?
If your firm spends under three days per entry then you are one of the speedy firms as nearly a quarter of respondents to our recent survey said it typically took them at least a whopping 10 days per entry!
A snap poll of 26 law firm partners and marketers who attended our recent webinar with Chambers Editor, Jonathan Rubin, found that around a quarter managed to get heir entries done in under 3 days of time, 54% spent took between four and 10 days, and 23% spent an eye watering 10-or-more day per entry.
Improving your ranking in a legal directory can be really beneficial to partners and their firms, so it is certainly worth investing quality time getting the best possible ranking.
However, there is a big difference between investing quality time and wasting lots of time - and the huge amounts of time some firms are spending on each entry strongly suggests that things are going wrong.
Here are ways to prevent legal directory entries from becoming a quagmire:
Focus your efforts on areas where either you have a realistic chance of improving your ranking, those where there is a danger your ranking could slip and/or those where there is an important strategic objective (for example, perhaps an practice a star partner gets all the limelight and you want other members of the team to be rated too).
Your firm will do much better through a smaller number of great entries than a larger number of so-so ones.
The fact of the matter is that if you leave it to the last few weeks, important work will come up, people will be ill and the project will be rushed. The quality of the entry may suffer and probably extra effort will be needed to force the pace.
Kick off with a launch meeting
Not surprisingly, many people aren't that familiar with the legal directory submission process and what is required from them and your firm.
Get everyone aligned from the start with a launch meeting where you explain the process, requirements and what you need from each person concerned and the timescale.
Circulate actions and timescales, lock them into peoples' diaries and ensure everyone knows the importance of meeting their commitments.
Get suitable referees sorted early
Referees are potentially the single most important part of the submission, and can be submitted well in advance.
But don't fill your list with hard-to-reach CEO's and senior bankers who are unlikely to return the call from the directory researcher (no matter how much they promise to you that they will, thousands of calls over dozens of years by legal directory researchers says otherwise!).
Avoiding multiple re-writes
A lot of time can be wasted where different people re-write and amend drafts, only for subsequent people to undo or re-write all the previous work. Common causes of this problem include:
- People involved at various stages not knowing the requirements;
- inadequate or inaccurate information being provided early on; and/or
- people ignoring the clear instructions provided by the legal directory on how submissions should be formatted.
Such problems can be avoided through proper preparation, communication and project management.
The previously mentioned launch meeting is a good first step. We also recommend having a partner or senior person in charge of each department's submission (generally not the department's star) together with a clear and simple sign off process.
Having someone who is a great writer and who is familiar with the requirements of legal directories at the heart of the process, makes life much easier (Kelso Consulting can certainly help here), and make sure those involved have time reserved in their diaries, whether for preparing material and/or reviewing.
Have a pre-mortem
You'll have seen post mortems on CSI and other crime dramas, during which the corpse is dissected to determine the cause of death.
The pre-mortem aims to prevent such a catastrophic outcome by considering what might go wrong so that steps can be taken in advance to prevent damaging problems happening.
It is particularly useful if your legal directory entries have proved painful and time consuming in the past.
Legal directory entries needn't be that bad and learning from past problems to prevent them recurring.
Involve the professionals
- Do not feel that they are getting the ranking they deserve.
- Are new to the process and want to make the best possible impact.
- Are concerned that their ranking might slip (perhaps through a star partner leaving and/or from not submitting an entry for several years).
Full details of how we can help your firm with ensuring your legal directory submissions get the best result wiht the minimum hassle are available here.
What tips do you have or making the legal directory process easier... or horror stories of it going wrong? Do share your comments using the form below....