So where do you rank as a lawyer: are you excellent, distinctive, superior, or elite?
Or perhaps you consider yourself among the Top 100 Lawyers in the Galaxy?
Welcome to the wonderful world of lawyer rankings.
“It seems that every year, the legal rankings landscape gets just a little more crowded and a lot more confusing,” writes advertising expert Michelle McCormick in this blogpost. “Thousands of legitimate U.S. and international rankings, lists and awards recognize lawyers. The key is to prioritize the rankings that align most closely with your business development goals and then optimize your time and effort.”
Below, McCormick explains how to design a rankings program to leverage your awards and accomplishments most effectively.
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8 Steps to Develop a Rankings Plan for Your Practice
Step 1: Pick your spots. “No firm and no lawyer can be all things to all people, so don’t try,” says McCormick. “Instead, use rankings to highlight the skills and experiences that set your firm or attorneys apart. Look for organizations or publications that evaluate these areas.”
Step 2: Gather information. “When it comes time to collect the information needed for your submissions or nominations, think about ways to do this without requiring too much time from attorneys, since it is a non-billable activity,” says McCormick. “One efficient method is through a template that is incorporated into the workflow for all client engagements. You might decide to have a trigger for this template: a certain value, area of practice, industry or whatever else fits your rankings plan.”
Step 3: Write a killer submission. Don’t just cut and paste content from your website. Tell your story. What makes your firm unique? What are some of your big wins? Be creative and engaging. Most of all – be honest. All credible ranking sites will do independent research to determine if you are in fact as awesome as you claim to be.
Step 4: Use the submission process to improve your operations. “While gathering information to prepare a rankings submission, evaluate how you can improve your client service,” says McCormick. “Often, working to answer questions in the submission will uncover things like silos or gaps in communication between practice groups or offices. If you look at your submission and notice a lot of work in one area (and a lot of referral work in a complementary area), ask yourself, ‘Has the firm thought about expanding to serve this need?’”
Step 5: Get client feedback. Select clients you’ve worked with in the past 12 months – and who will say good things about you – as references. Be sure to notify the clients in advance, so they won’t be caught off-guard when contacted by the rankings company.
Step 6: Acknowledge your lawyers. “When you complete nominations for individuals in the firm, you often learn interesting things about them that should be celebrated,” says McCormick. “Use this information to recognize lawyers internally. Have they volunteered a tremendous amount of time with a nonprofit? Are they mentoring students? Are they prominent in bar service or other professional leadership roles? Have they published something of value to colleagues? Acknowledging things like this will go a long way toward making your lawyers feel valued and appreciated.”
Step 7: Repurpose your work. Use the information you compiled for your rankings submission for blogposts, client alerts, press releases and the like.
Step 8: Stay positive. “Don’t be discouraged if your submission doesn’t generate immediate results,” says McCormick. “This is a marathon, not a sprint. Each award is different, and getting an attorney or firm ranked is often a strategic, multi-year process. Ask for feedback on your submission. Get an objective review of the quality of your submissions and how your practice compares with others.”
Source: National Law Review
Jay Reeves is author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World. He practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. Now he writes and speaks at CLEs, keynotes and in-firm presentations on lawyer professionalism and well-being. He runs Your Law Life LLC, which helps lawyers add purpose, profits and peace of mind to their practices. Contact email@example.com or 919-619-2441.