In conversation: the contemporary importance of Latin American legal directories

December 21, 2021
Posted in Blogs
December 21, 2021 Giseli Farias

The growth of the Chambers Latin America guide has been exponential. Since its launch in 2008 by our own co-founder and director Jacob Aitken, Chambers Latin America has developed into one of the leading guides. The most recent 2022 guide ranked 670 law firms and 3,731 individual lawyers over 19 Latin American jurisdictions –an over 10% increase in submissions year-on-year. The Legal 500 Latin America 2022 guide has not included any major table additions to this year’s edition, citing uncertainty brought on by COVID-19, but has experienced consistent expansion during its history.

Close attention is paid to Latin American legal rankings, given the movement that they experience – more so than other jurisdictions. As such, the legal directory submission process is taken extremely seriously by Latin American law firms and resulting rankings are held in the highest regard.

Our Head of Latin America and Iberian Markets sat down with Hernan Brenna, Head of Marketing and BI at Marval O’Farrell Mairal, and Fernando Rodríguez Angobaldo, founding partner of Rodriguez Angobaldo Abogados, to discuss the contemporary landscape of Latin American legal directories and their continued importance to their firms and lawyers.

“A pillar of our strategy”

Latin American legal firms deeply value the prestige that a legal directory ranking brings. Both Brenna and Rodríguez Angobaldo agree on the great impact of legal directory rankings on their firms.

The LatAm legal market is incredibly fast-moving: many new law firms and lawyers enter the market each year, and subsequently, the rankings themselves fluctuate year-on-year. In turn, competition for legal directory rankings in Latin America is stiff and firms are keen to invest heavily in their submission programmes and develop coherent strategies.

Hernan Brenna describes how “we meticulously work on each submission process and put ourselves to the test every time,”. Fernando Rodríguez Angobaldo stresses a similar sentiment, saying that “the directories constantly challenge us to have the best lawyers, improve our level of service, and advise on their most complex issues.”

Owing to this awareness of legal directories’ importance, Latin American firms are heavily involved with their submissions when working with an external consultancy team such as Kidd Aitken. Working closely together to shape their submission in the manner to best benefit their firm and gain the best outcome possible.

“Clients want the best and being in the rankings has allowed us to be hired by new companies”

In any jurisdiction or region, legal directories are trusted to give honest, unbiased rankings of submitting law firms and lawyers. Rodríguez Angobaldo describes how, even when Partners or Firms disagree with a particular ranking, “when we analyse further, we understand [the researchers and directories] are telling the truth.”

“And when you realise the research that the legal directories have carried out on us, it fits perfectly with the reality.”

This trustworthiness has intensified the impact that a high ranking can have upon a Firm or Partner.

Clients are confident that they are being advised by a top law firm in their practice area, and as Rodríguez Angobaldo says, “being among the best gives a clear signal to the market that we are a very interesting option.”

A high ranking increases law firms’ reputations, which in turn has an effect on both potential and existing clients. Rodríguez Angobaldo continues, expressing that “clients want the best and being in the ranking has allowed us to be hired by new companies. The companies that have been working with us for a long time think of us for their most complex cases, which did not happen a few years ago.”

“A firm ranked in Latin American legal directories is synonymous with reliability”

The value of a ranking has been amplified by the pandemic, in which face-to-face meetings have been paused. Legal directories are one of the remaining ways to uphold and develop a reputation. As Brenna remarks, “a lot of emphasis is being placed on digital profiling and reputation.” They are increasingly useful for a variety of purposes – from illustrating the contemporary legal landscape to piquing potential client interest.

Rodríguez Angobaldo describes how “a firm ranked by a good legal directory is synonymous with reliability,” and it is this capacity for reputation building that solidifies the importance of legal directory rankings. Not only are they reflective of the market reality and how a firm has the potential to grow within it – especially in comparison with competitors – but can increase client interest. Brenna continues, “In particular, potential clients ask for our ranked credentials when deciding whether to contract our services.”

Brenna describes how, through legal directory rankings, their firm’s “permanent goals” are “bringing added value to our clients, building trust, and offering exceptional service.” Being in the top tiers of directories aids all three of these targets. In the shorter term, it gives clients the confidence to hire a specific firm, while looking towards the future.

Legal directory results can be analysed and used in growth strategies, firm positioning, projection and marketing. Both Brenna and Rodríguez Angobaldo note that their respective firms employ legal directories heavily in their marketing strategies. Through attracting potential clients, strengthening reputation and improving client relationships.

For now and for the future

As Brenna and Rodríguez Angobaldo – legal professionals from two prominent but differing law firms – both demonstrate, Latin American law firms understand the importance of legal directory rankings and their associated benefits. From enhanced reputation and legacy to enticing new clients, a high ranking can transform a firm or individual lawyers ’s future.

To learn more about how Kidd Aitken can support your legal directory journey, in Latin America and elsewhere, get in touch. With consultation available in both English and Spanish.