The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Rankings & Nominations

Author: Erica Feher | April 16, 2014

With a flurry of lawyer rankings in the legal industry, how do you sift through the clutter and determine what’s most valuable for your firm to pursue? The truth is that you could spend your entire week seeking various nominations that in the end may not be beneficial for your firm. At the Legal Marketing Association‘s Annual Conference this month in Orlando, Florida, a panel of PR pros discussed how to alleviate the headaches often associated with awards season.

Among their tips are:

     –Pay attention to who sponsors the nomination: Lay out all of the opportunities on the table and determine which have the most credible organizations backing them. If the award is designated only through an advertisement or purchase of a plaque, it’s probably not a credible award worth pursuing.

     –Avoid pay-to-play opportunities: If you have to pay for it, it’s probably not worthwhile. That being said, there are a few prestigious publications that might have an entry fee.

     –Create a calendar: This not only helps keep the myriad of rankings in order, but can also help you get a jump start on the longer submissions that require detailed information on cases. By knowing what’s ahead, there won’t be any surprises and your submission process will become more streamlined each year.

     –Prepare to deal with politics: It’s likely that every attorney or practice group believes they warrant inclusion on a particular list. However, submitting half your firm might negatively impact your chances and is typically frowned upon. Educate the firm on why this isn’t the best practice while keeping in mind that navigating the politics within a firm can be a challenging and sensitive issue. Be strategic by starting with a small group of 3-5 attorneys and continue to grow that number each year as the publication becomes familiar with your firm.

     –Use the opportunity to promote the firm: If the IP group was recognized for an award, every other practice group should promote the firm’s success on LinkedIn or other social media profiles. The goal is to increase visibility for the entire firm, not just the practice group recognized.

     –Take the initiative. Chambers, for example, highly values client feedback. In lieu of a client referee spreadsheet, law firms can introduce clients directly to Chambers via email. Given that the response rate for Chambers is about 4%, introducing the client and the researcher can help ease this somewhat unfamiliar process for your client and show that you care enough to go the extra mile. Also, remind your client to check their spam box as emails from Chambers might get stuck there.

     –Leverage, leverage, leverage: Consider how you can leverage nominations for article and/or speaking opportunities. Was there a particular case highlighted in your submission that would work for a case study article? Awards typically don’t draw a lot of media attention, so consider how you can garner media coverage in other ways. Rankings are all about engaging your audience and how you promote the award once received. You’ve put in all the hard work and now it’s time to get the most mileage out of it.

As marketers, we’ve learned to grin and bear awards season, but by following the advice above, hopefully the process will be a tad easier the next time around.

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