By: Sarah Larson
“Who’s Next? Who’s a Super Lawyer? Who’s a Best Lawyer? Who is rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell? Who is ranked by Chambers? Who is the most amazing, super-duper, fantastic, unbelievable, terrific, ‘we’ll fight for you’ lawyer? Who, who, who?”
It was an impassioned cry for help from a legal marketer drowning in the deluge of awards programs and announcements going out to lawyers and law firms across the country. Legal awards programs are revenue drivers for the companies that sponsor them. And with money on the line, more and more awards programs are springing up all the time.
Which ones are worthwhile?
As a PR and marketing agency that focuses on professional services in general and law firms in particular, we get asked that question a lot. Our answer is always “it depends.” Whether a particular legal awards program is worth a law firm’s time and budget investment depends upon several factors.
Who are your clients?
If you practice primarily divorce or family law, or personal injury plaintiffs’ work, consumer-friendly awards such as Best Lawyers in America, Best Law Firms, and Super Lawyers are good marketing tools. Individuals want to hire the “best” attorney; simply from a pure SEO standpoint, “Best Lawyers” and “Super Lawyers” are golden marketing phrases. Due to rules of professional ethics, though, lawyers must be careful not to hold themselves out as the “best” attorney.
Who are your referral sources?
If clients come to you through consumer channels, awards such as Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers can be helpful. If clients typically come to you from in-house counsel or other referring attorneys, legal-industry focused awards and rankings may carry more weight. Chambers and Partners, Legal 500, and Martindale-Hubbell are among the most well-regarded ratings and rankings in the legal arena.
What will you do to capitalize on the award?
If you’re named a Super Lawyer, but you don’t tell anyone, did it really happen? Once you’ve been honored, take that honor and put it to work. Announce the award in a press release on your website and publish it on an online press release distribution platform. Be sure to share it on your personal and the firm’s social media channels, particularly Facebook and LinkedIn. Send the announcement to your alumni publications and niche or personal publications – don’t send it to legal trade publications, though, as they don’t typically print such announcements. List the award in your email signature, on your website bio, in your marketing materials.
Many lawyers profess to look down upon such awards and rankings – but, make no mistake, the lawyers who receive these honors typically are some of the best-regarded attorneys in their practice areas. The award then becomes a validation tool that gives an attorney equal footing to the other “best” attorneys.
Evaluate carefully and invest wisely
New legal awards programs surface every year. Before you invest resources in them, ask yourself the questions above or turn to a legal marketing professional for counsel on which will be most effective for your firm. Spend wisely on the ones that will boost your image with clients and referral sources and make sure to take the time to capitalize on them effectively. Legal awards, ratings and rankings can be significant marketing tools, if chosen carefully and utilized properly.
If you have questions about Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, Chambers, or other legal awards programs, contact the legal marketing professionals at Furia Rubel Communications for marketing and public relations that drive law firm success.