Writing to Win: The Value of Nominations

One of the most valuable tools in indicating your effectiveness within the legal landscape is the number of winning nominations that can be attributed to your law firm. In a recent Legal Marketing Association meeting, Cheryl Bame of Bame Public Relations moderated a discussion with panelists Julie Fei of O’Melveny & Myers LLP, Greg Mitchell of The Recorder, and Kristy Werness of Irell & Manella LLP on the value of a great nomination. They focused on best practices to use in effective submissions, common mistakes that cause a submission to miss the mark, and how marketing professionals should leverage the submissions and results.

In developing a winning nomination it is important to do your due diligence to make sure all the bases are covered. Understanding what the nomination entails, what materials are necessary, and important deadlines that need to be considered are all a part of the nomination process. While these factors may seem minor or inconsequential, numerous attorneys fail to move past the preliminary stages because these issues were not well thought out.

Cat Fredenburgh of Law360.com added some additional points all legal marketers should make note of when completing a nomination.

Don’t just send a biography
While background information is great for potential candidates, don’t send a simple biography and think the selection committee will have enough material to make a final determination. Be specific in indicating what separates you or your client from the competition by including significant matters that directly relate to the nomination.

Don’t overstate an individual’s or a firm’s responsibility or role in a matter
Nothing is more embarrassing than when a selection committee is researching a matter a firm or attorney has impressively stated they helped win only to find out the contributions were minimal at best. Refrain from inflating the contribution of a firm or attorney. The entire nomination is questioned if there are circumstances where the committee finds examples of exaggerated responsibilities.

Be comprehensive
Long, intimidating case titles with vague information are not inviting to editors. Editors are not interested in looking up copious amounts of case information or researching for hours on end the very information that should have been readily available in the submission. Editors will not do the work for you.

Don’t submit fluff
The selection committee is not interested in fluff pieces or information that lacks relevance. Always send viable information that could be of value to the publication and committee. The nomination is your opportunity to tell a story and provide an interesting narrative that will leave the selection committee wanting more.

Law firm nominations should not be an intimidating or daunting feat, but should be looked as a way to market and leverage the firm’s positive attributes. Following these simple yet crucial concepts will add to the possibility of your client winning those coveted awards.

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