A legal directory ranking from an established directory has well-documented associated benefits. A third-party endorsement of expertise. Exposure to prospective clients. Differentiation from industry peers. But resource allocation, particularly for smaller or newer firms, is often prioritised for Senior or Managing Partners. Those with years of experience and case matters behind them and those most likely to gain or improve their legal directory ranking.If a firm already has a number of highly ranked Senior Partners, it might be time to think about selecting Junior Partners and Associates for submission. This brings a number of additional benefits to a firm compared to only submitting Senior Partners. Daniel Kidd, co-founder and director of Kidd Aitken, explains why.
Succession planning is a critical issue for law firms. While highly-ranked Senior and Managing Partners elevate a law firm’s reputation in the legal market, those Partners will eventually inevitably retire or move on to another project. Submitting Junior Partners and Associates for ranking develops the law firm’s credibility as they rise through the ranks and protects the law firm as and when Senior Partners retire or leave the firm.By submitting lawyers from all levels of seniority, the next generation are set to take up the mantel when the firm’s senior Partners retire. Even the process of submitting to a legal directory is excellent preparation for life as a Partner – fostering key client relationships, building a professional relationship with peers and demonstrating the importance of networking and profile building in the industry.
Having well ranked lawyers across all levels of seniority elevates the reputation of the firm as a whole and often leads to an improved ranking for the practice area group in question. It demonstrates that expertise and capability run through the entire firm and does not sit solely with the Senior and Managing Partners.For firms concerned about resource when embarking on the legal directory submission process, it is understandable why some would hesitate to expend limited resource on Junior Partners and Associates with less experience behind them than more established Partners. However, should Chambers be a target directory, it is important to begin the process sooner rather than later, to take advantage of Chambers’ cumulative research methodology, where most new rankings take two to three research cycles to come to fruition.
Similarly, resource can be redirected from a senior Partner to a young lawyer rather than shared between them. With guidance, well-established Partners are able to skip a year’s submission with no effect to their ranking due to the cumulative research process.So long as their standing is high within the industry, as they are likely to receive positive comments from their peers and with years of experience behind them, a single missed year is likely not to have a serious impact on their rankings overall.One of Chambers most important ranking metrics is bench strength, which considers the collective expertise of a practice group. By including younger lawyers in submissions, it shows Chambers the strength in depth within a practice area and that there are potential lawyers being lined up to begin their Chambers ranking journey.
When a law firm submits their younger Associates and Junior Partners for ranking, it has a knock-on effect on their employee value proposition. Legal directories are frequently consulted by trainee solicitors and law students as research for which firms they may seek out for work and training contracts. Having younger ranked lawyers is a sign that a firm cares about furthering the careers and supporting the reputations of their lawyers, no matter their age. Attaining a ranking in an established legal directory is an enormous milestone in a young lawyer’s career and any firm shown to be facilitating that goal for their Partners makes an attractive prospective employer.
Diversity initiatives are now at the forefront of many legal directories’ agendas as they navigate criticism for entrenched legal directory rankings, especially in the upper bands and tiers. As such, directories are encouraging firms to submit Junior Partners for ranking, making a first-time ranking even more accessible. They have even established tables specifically for new lawyers and Partners such as Chambers’ ‘Up-and-Coming' bands list and The Legal 500’s ‘Rising Stars’.There is much to be gained from helping Junior Partners and Associates pursue a legal directory ranking. Not only does it bolster their own reputation and further their career, but it builds the next generation of lawyers and Partners in a firm. Get in touch to find out how Kidd Aitken can support your firm with legal directory submissions.