Is there still a place for the Legal Directories?
Law firms invest a significant amount of time and effort each year in the submissions process for legal directories. The Legal 500, and Chambers and Partners, are regarded as the most influential and esteemed legal directories in the industry, to whom some firms submit over 1000 entries annually.
Their achievements of the last year are highlighted, in a tri-part process:
- Written submissions.
- Referees being put forward and contacted for a reference.
- Partner Interviews.
Research indicates that an extraordinarily high percentage of lawyers are frustrated with the length of time this process takes. Only to then be left feeling that they have not achieved the ranking they deserved.
So, do they still have a place in this modern legal world? We are in a new era, one where social media, technology and a keen awareness of cost are becoming more and more important. With so many law firms disappointed in their rankings, is there actually any point in participating anymore? Do the recommendations and accolades mean anything to clients or do they just bolster lawyers’ egos?
In the 80’s and 90’s, before the internet and when information about law firms was difficult to get hold of, the legal directories were an excellent idea. However, today, we simply consult google for any information that we need. Does this mean the traditional directory is now unnecessary and out of date? Many in the Legal profession would argue no, that the directories still have an important place and role to play. They are an excellent source for recruitment and the trusted icons do resonate well on a firm’s website, instantly letting those who visit know they are a leader in their field. Law firms also regularly use their rankings when pitching for work and applying for awards.
So, it seems, that as far as the legal community are concerned the directory is here to stay, at least for now. But so many lawyers find the process long and time consuming, and in a world where speed is everything that’s not ideal. There are also questions around the research process and how the final decisions on the rankings are made. With very little movement year on year to the rankings a call for greater transparency is needed.
So, whilst the directories are here to stay, will they stay the same? They are under huge pressure to revolutionise. In 2017, The Legal 500 took the decision to become solely digital, no longer printing the door stops. This is definitely a step in the right direction, so hopefully there is more to follow.