On Thursday, February 21, 2019, LMA SoCal members kicked off the first member roundtables of the year with concurrent sessions to satisfy both senior and junior members. Junior members gathered in Orange County at the office of Troutman Sanders and the San Diego office of Latham & Watkins for a roundtable titled "Establishing Best Practices for Surveys and Nominations" to exchange ideas around their firms’ strategies to best tackle surveys, as well as attorney and firm rankings. The discussion was moderated by Cheryl Bame, Principal at Bame Public Relations.
Attendees shared their best practices for staying organized when tracking nominations, knowing which publications and editorials to submit nominations for, and general knowledge about the rankings that are sought after by attorneys.
The group appeared to agree with the significance of nominations, as these awards are held at a considerable height by attorneys and their colleagues, and less to a degree by clients and/or prospective clients, as attorneys often receive business from other attorneys. The law market is highly competitive and rankings are one way for attroneys to stand apart from their counterparts, give the firm a good name, and give their egos a lift.
A few takeaways:
- Stay organized! When new matters come through your pipeline, add them to a spreadsheet, "create a pitch deck," (via Excel or Smartsheet) and/or include them in the upcoming internal newsletter. Refer to these documents when you are determining which attorneys to nominate and which matters to highlight. Make sure to comply with confidentiality. An internal newsletter is a terrific way to highlight these deals while serving as a space for attorneys to show off their projects.
- Chambers, Legal 500, Best Lawyers, etc. ultimately serve to boost the firm and associate it with positive qualities such as esteem, recognition and legal prowess – depending on the publication. Attorneys who receive these rankings are regarded higher than attorneys who do not receive them, although their awards and recognition's do not guarantee client investment.
- It does not hurt to add the attorneys' recognition's to their bio pages.
- Check out http://firmwise.net/spammyawards, a Google Doc that lists the names of the nominations that are reputable and those that are not. A quick glance through this detailed list can help you and your firm identify the awards that are worth pursuing.
- Nominate the attorneys who are active in their business development plans.
- Internal politics become evident when an attorney is ranked one year and drops off the list the next, or if their colleagues are nominated while they are not. Use this as an opportunity to discuss how they can improve the process by sharing their projects with you – their efforts will not reach outside the firm if we are unaware of their professional accomplishments.
- If an award is based on peer-reviews, share this information with your attorneys; communicate the nomination process with them.
- Think! Really think about the attorneys who have a promising chance at being recognized for their work. Avoid nominating attorneys whose work does not fit the bill to avoid a negative association by the publication editor(s). Communicate with your attorneys if you believe that nominating them will not serve to benefit their practice.
- "Stay on the publication editors’ good side." Do this by introducing your attorneys to these editors so they can establish good rapport and name recognition for themselves and the firm. Their nomination form will stand out among the editors' slew of regular spam. This helps to establish familiarity and positive regard for the attorney. Leave them with a positive and favorable impression.
The attorneys we work with are ultimately responsible for the external recognition they receive. If they do not assist at the starting line, they will not have the privilege to cross the finish line.