“By Failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

Preparing for submission season for both your lawyers and business support can be annoying distraction, from actual fee-earning work, especially in these challenging COVID times.

Here at Nishlis Legal Marketing, we take the pressure off, navigate you through this process, and maximise your chances of promotion in the firm and individual rankings. 

Preparation now will give you an advantage, a head-start if you will, over your competitors who will most likely repeat their mistakes. If you are doing the same, year in and year out, and frustrated with your rankings, you need to take a pause, evaluate and understand what you are doing wrong. Research shows that most law firms submit systematically, repeating what they have done in the previous year, thus making the same mistakes – resulting in lack of improvement in the rankings.

To help, we compiled general tips and insights to better prepare for the upcoming submissions season:

1) Plan – build your firms 2022 submissions calendar, including deadlines, publications dates, internal deadlines etc’.

2) Strategise – time is a resource and expectations need to be managed. Although we strive to be top ranked, truth be told, not all practices have been created equal. Examine, in an objective manner, what are your stronger practices and who are your real leading individuals. Prioritize where you stand and deserve to be ranked higher. In addition, place goals for 2022 with respect to the various ranking guides. 

3) Debrief 2021 submissions – it is best to prepare by learning from mistakes. You can do so by looking at your internal process, examine where your weaknesses are and think how to compensate, evaluate which departments/partners take up more time, with regards to data collection and reviewing submissions and debrief the methodology and process at the firm to see if it is effective.

4) Data – before the 2022 cycle starts, pull out data from your current submissions that can be used in your firms marketing and business development efforts. Examples include key matters (to be used on social, collateral, pitches, website etc’), key messages from the “shop window” part of the submissions, law firms from other jurisdictions that worked on shared matters (for cultivating referrals and maintaining relationships) and quotes by the various guides on your firm and its lawyers.

5) Client referees – once we hit the 2022 submissions there is no time to look back. Client referees are crucial and an integral part of the ranking a firm receives. Start working on the client referees list now. This will help you avoid duplication of names across practices and avoid referees not receiving emails from the researchers, due to the fact that there is a 3-6 month policy (referees will be contacted by the same guide twice in that period of time).

6) Marketing – once you have identified your strong practice areas and leading individuals, build a plan to enhance their exposure in the market and to extend their reach. This is important in order to receive wider marker recognition. You can do so by by social media, thought leadership articles, events/webinars etc’.

Submissions are to be seen as a holistic ongoing effort and not a tactical action in a given point in time. By doing all of this, you tie your submissions process to the general marketing and business development efforts of the firm.