Why directory rankings are especially important for independent firms

When it comes to marketing, independent law firms in the UK are increasingly squeezed by the larger budgets and more extensive resources of bigger competitors.

Whether a new independent trying to build a reputation, or an established practice looking to grow, opportunities for achieving prominence can be hard to find. Which is where the directory rankings come in.

The annual ratings provided by Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners can be a very useful tool and, at MD Communications, we think that every independent firm should be considering them – here’s why.

They’re free

Yes, that’s right: totally free. You don’t have to pay to appear in the tables and that means you’re not going to lose out to a firm with a bigger budget to blow. There may be resources required to put the submission together, whether you do it internally or outsource it to specialists like us, but everyone is equal when it comes to the rankings themselves.

They can help drive traffic to your website

The directories used to be most popular in paper form but now it’s the digital versions that have the most impact. Being part of an online directory that is accessed by millions of potential clients from all over the world is an opportunity not to be missed. Getting included in the rankings provides a way to drive clients and interested parties directly to your site – and that can result in new business.

The directories are a media and client resource

As well as the clients that may find you via a ranking your firm has achieved, so too could various media. Plenty of legal sector media organisations cover the rankings when they are released and a mention in one of these pieces is a great way to build profile. Rankings are often referenced by journalists and bloggers who are talking about specific sectors and markets – if you’re one of the few local firms ranked then you really stand out.

The rankings have legs

Because of the independent nature of Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 the rankings they produce are completely credible. This makes them a great opportunity to stamp your presence on a sector in which you’re making progress. Being ranked also provides some fantastic marketing fodder, for your website, email mail outs, individual lawyer profiles and social media content. If you get ranked then you’re instantly validated as a recognised part of the landscape of the sector in which you operate, which counts for a lot in an increasingly competitive world.

You will attract new talent

Beyond the Magic Circle, graduates have a difficult time rating other firms – which is where the rankings come in very useful. Particularly for smaller independents, a mention in Legal 500 or Chambers & Partners could be very helpful when it comes to attracting the best talent. The directories are recognised by law graduates, universities and law schools and can provide instant knowability, something smaller firms struggle to establish in such an overcrowded market.

If you’re an independent firm without any directory rankings then now is a great time to start looking at them as an option. The team at MD Comms has broad expertise helping indie firms get on the directories map – get in touch if you’d like some help.

Author: Melissa Davis – managing director of MD Communications, the international legal PR agency. She is also co-chair of the IBA Law Firm Management Committee Business Development Working Group and a member of the ABA Transnational Legal Practice Committee.

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