A Day in the Life of a Legal Directory Specialist

June 15, 2021
Posted in Blogs
June 15, 2021 Chloe Thomson

Have you ever wondered what the day-to-day life of a legal directory specialist entails? Get to know Chloë Thomson, a Senior Legal Directory Specialist at Kidd Aitken. She unveils how she improves the legal directory rankings of some of the world’s largest law firms, what it’s like to work for Kidd Aitken and the tight knit legal community in Gibraltar.

As a legal directory specialist, what does your job involve?

I aim to get my clients ranked in legal directories. That means ensuring their capabilities and skills are optimally communicated to Chambers and Partners, the Legal 500 and any other directories to which the firm is submitting. In practice, this means working with Partners and other legal professionals to understand how their practice area stands out from others in the market and how best to frame those messages in a submission.

When presenting the best work highlights for a firm, the goal is to impress the legal directory researcher. I look for features that are significant and remarkable, emphasising these in the submission. These could be complex or novel legal issues, a tight turnaround time, sensitive or high-profile clients, a high value at stake or a widely publicised issue.

On top of compiling the information necessary for the submission itself, I also support clients in managing the referee process. This is a highly important aspect for certain legal directories, particularly Chambers. To maximise this process, firms should prioritise picking referees who are likely to respond to calls to interview. Kidd Aitken has processes in place to remind clients to check in with their referees. We typically report back to firms around the middle of a research cycle to give them an opportunity to have full referee participation.

What type of clients do you work with?

At Kidd Aitken, we work with law firms who want to either embark upon a legal directory rankings journey or improve their existing ones. Personally, many of my clients are those with a FinTech practice area. This is my specialist area at Kidd Aitken, as I was previously a FinTech researcher at Chambers. I also have a major US law firm client, as well as a number of Scandinavian clients. This variety of different legal cultures keeps my work fresh and interesting.

What is your favourite part of the role?

As a remote-working, global company, we are given a lot of independence and trust within our roles. When not in a global pandemic, this normally involves a lot of travel as well as working from home (which we were already well adapted to). I love the dynamism that this entails.

I really enjoy the creative writing process that is necessary to bring our clients’ achievements to life, particularly with new clients whose submissions we create from scratch. I also love cultivating close working relationships with my clients’ business development teams. This helps build a sense of camaraderie – especially in the lead up to submissions deadlines!

What is the most important element of your job? 

Setting and managing expectations. In my role, it is important to establish good communication practices with my clients so that their expectations are realistic. Particularly for firms or Partners who are submitting for the first time, as it can take some time for their desired rankings to come to fruition. This is especially the case for directories like Chambers where it is not unheard of to be ranked for the first time after two or three research cycles. Partners need to be patient but consistent when embarking on this process and it’s important for me to communicate that from the start.

What is the most interesting client you have worked with?

We have clients in countless jurisdictions across the globe, including some small, unique ones. Working with a Gibraltarian client was a fascinating experience due to Gibraltar’s size. When analysing the Chambers ranking table with this key Partner, he knew a lot about the other ranked individuals, because he’d seen them in the pub the previous Friday! I have also worked with a Danish client who is pitched against his brother in the same ranking table, which made for an amusing and interesting conversation when talking about comparisons and how to set him apart from the rest of the ranking table.

What is it like working at Kidd Aitken? 

The people are what make this job incredibly enjoyable. Both my colleagues and clients, as everyone is incredibly smart but also lovely and helpful.

Being a remote-working company means we don’t benefit from the same water-cooler chat as other in-person companies do. But that doesn’t mean that Kidd Aitken isn’t a community. We have frequent office get-togethers and video socials to have fun with colleagues. And our #random channel on Slack always brings a smile to my face!

If you are an individual who thrives on the intersection of responsibility and independence, then Kidd Aitken is an option for you. Being the largest legal marketing consultancy in the world means that you are instantly working on major projects with support and guidance always available from other team members.

How did you get into the legal directories sector?

I come from a legal background and have held various legal roles as a paralegal in US and UK immigration law. I took a break from that to go into legal research at Chambers and Partners. This set me up fantastically for my current role, particularly due to my involvement with the FinTech guide which is now my specialist area at Kidd Aitken.

How do you like to spend your free time?

Outside of my work with Kidd Aitken, I am a qualified yoga teacher and spend a lot of my time teaching, practicing, hosting workshops and going on retreats. I also love to travel and have visited Spain, Japan, India, Vietnam, Italy, Belgium, New York, Atlanta, and home to Scotland – all in one year! When we can travel more freely, I can’t wait to jet off again: A 10-day tour of Scotland in late June and then hopefully a trip to Galicia, Spain later in the summer.