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In conversation with Tim Girven of The Legal 500

June 19, 2023

Kidd Aitken Legal Marketing were delighted to recently speak with Tim Girven of Legal 500.

Legal 500 is one of the world’s leading legal directories, assessing firms and lawyers (senior associates and above) in over 150 jurisdictions. Founded in 1987, it is renowned for providing an objective assessment of legal expertise, offering authoritative and in-depth analysis and commentary across a broad portfolio of publications.

The Legal 500 submissions process should be handled with care, skill, and acute attention to detail. We’re tremendously proud to see — in the Legal 500 UK rankings for 2023 — 77% of our clients’ practice areas improved or maintained their ranking, while 70% of our clients’ Partners maintained or improved, too.

After nearly six years as Deputy Editor (Latin America) with Chambers and Partners, Tim Girven joined The Legal 500 in 2011 as founding editor of its Latin America edition. Nearly twelve years later, Tim is now Senior Editor for the Western Hemisphere.

Read on for a preview, and visit our YouTube channel for more of our conversation.

What do successful Legal 500 submissions require?

In this conversation, Tim spoke with Jacob Aitken, Founder & Director of Kidd Aitken Legal Marketing and Co-Editor of Legal Marketing World.

Recent, relevant material in the right boxes.

“We will get to all the information eventually, sooner or later. We’d rather it came from you.”

Tim Girven discusses the need for, and frequent lack of, focus on the right material. Spending half of the submission space outlining information about how important a client is, for example, is unnecessary — Legal 500’s team will do their research on such matters and consider what’s found alongside everything else. This saves you from having to use your allotted word count on such information, freeing more time to speak about the important bits.

The crucial part of any Legal 500 submission is to know what’s been done for the client. This includes an accurate portrayal of the team behind the work — including those who have since moved on to other law firms.

The Legal 500 is also an annual guide. Reputation is important to a law firm, but what’s needed here is evidence of recent activity.

Frequently, this is crucial information they don’t receive.

Speak openly about law firms you work with.

“More information allows us to describe how law firms operate in our editorials — so potential clients can decide not between shades of grey, but different styles of operation.”

Here, Tim advises that The Legal 500 often knows which law firms are participating in a given transaction, so there’s really no loss or risk involved in identifying a counterparty, even if it is a smaller or ‘lesser’ firm. If anything, it helps to better understand the pools of people working together, and not a case of ‘marketing others’. This is a natural benchmarking process.

The richer the field of information we work with, the better we can portray the differences between firms, their capabilities and styles of operation. At the end of the day, ranking tables are quite blunt instruments — it is the role of our editorial to finesse the reader’s understanding of the firm and its rank.

Referees complement well-crafted submissions

“There is absolutely no doubt of the importance of positive independent client feedback for Legal 500.”

Client commentary has always been an integral part of the Legal 500 submission process. However, it’s worth noting that it’s considered critically — as part of  a broader body of information that includes partner interviews, submissions, and accumulated market knowledge.

Suffice to say, client commentary from a large and sophisticated corporate with complex needs is likely to outweigh that of a smaller — and, in all likelihood, simpler — customer of legal services. With that said, client commentary is undoubtedly integral to the ranking process and is increasingly central for individual listings.

Want to find out more about submissions to The Legal 500?

Our team at Kidd Aitken Legal Marketing has extensive expertise across several prestigious legal directories, including Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners. With experience as former researchers, writers, and editors at both directories, we understand the nuances of the legal directory submissions process like no other.

Our founders, Daniel Kidd and Jacob Aitken, have been ranked in Lawdragon’s Top 100 Global Leaders in Legal Strategy and Consulting for four years in a row.

At Kidd Aitken Legal Marketing, we can develop a strategy, write submissions, provide post-submission support, or you can leave the process entirely in our capable hands.

Would you like to join our other clients in climbing the rankings, establishing yourself as a leader in your practice area, and reaping the myriad benefits of a legal directory ranking? If so, get in touch today.

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