Legal 500 vs. Chambers- The Differences Between the Legal Rankings Guides

Legal ranking guides are among the main tools used by lawyers aspiring to market themselves effectively. Every year, many law firms undertake substantial efforts in order to acquire a sport in the first tiers of the ranking guides both in Israel and abroad. Being ranked in the first tier provides an indication of the firm’s quality and professionality, and, as a result, it will lead to the enhancement of the firm's name and enlargement of its pool of customers.

Among the central ranking guides in the Israeli legal market, one can find BDI and Dun's 100, along with the well-known ranking guides from the international arena – Chambers & Partners and Legal 500. Many attorneys have a hard time distinguishing between these two.

The Way They Work

Before presenting the differences between the two, it is important to know the similarities and deepen the understanding of how they work.

Both Chambers and Legal 500 were established in London during the mid 80's. These privately owned guides paved their paths at the same time, creating new and unique high-quality niche ranking guides, which are to thoroughly asses and grade leading law first based on independent research.

The two guides initially focused exclusively on the UK, but soon enough expanded their business overseas an nowadays provide legal ranking services in different areas, including The U.S., Europe, the Middle East, Africa and more.

Both guides regularly publish hard copy editions of their annual rankings to law firms around the word, while simultaneously investing in up-to-date, unique internet platforms that provide the firm with a powerful marketing tool, along with seminars, award ceremonies, publication of legal articles and more.

Research Method

When it comes to the research, both ranking guides employ similar methods based on submissions written by the participant law firms. In those submissions the firms emphasize the legal services they provided for their clients over the course of the preceding year.

Furthermore, the ranking guides meticulously examine each submission, and interview both the lawyers and their clients. Following profound and comprehensive research, both guides publish their yearly rankings categorized into countries and legal practice fields.

The ranking within every law field is also divided to three levels known as "tiers", representing the quality of the firm (from the subjective perspective of the ranking professionals).

After explaining the similarity between the ranking guides and understanding how the ranking works, we will explain the main differences

(1) International recognitionLegal 500 started its international expansion in Europe, Asia and only then the U.S., while Chambers started its international expansion from the U.S.A.

The differences in this international expansion teaches us that Chambers has a better reputation in the U.S., while Legal 500 hold sturdy foundations in Europe and slowly considered a more reliable and –hands-on’ source for legal rankings.

(2) Size and scope of activity: There are 150 content editors working for Chambers at the moment, compared to only 50 editors at Legal 500. In addition, and even though Chambers recently enlarged their services to other arenas, it seems that its main arena remained legal rankings.

Legal 500, on the other hand, is part of an international legal advertising company named "Legalease" that publishes a monthly magazine called "Legal Business" and handles various other legal events. Consequently, firms that were ranked high on Legal 500, can occasionally also receive wide recognition in other legal publications, which is a huge marketing benefit, super relevant for legal marketing communities.

(3) Submission: One of the main differences between the guides is the submission deadline and the times at which they are actually published. Generally, Legal 500 have a shorter timeframe for research and therefore work with strict deadlines with no exceptions. Chambers, on the other hand, is an entirely different story; it works with wider timeframes and can thus conduct longer researches. The research in the U.S., for example, takes up to 7 months, and the submission deadlines are also more flexible.

The situation in Israel is different. Considering that Israel does not have as many law firms as England or the U.S., there is no need for a long research period. In Israel, the submission for Chambers and Legal 500 is almost simultaneous, usually around July-August.

(4) Scope of submission: Another significant difference between the ranking guides, that affect the chances of acquiring a high ranking, is the flexibility in terms of the quantity of clients that can be included in the submission. While Legal 500 does not specifically limit the amount of clients that can be included in the submission, Chambers is very strict, and limits law firms to a maximum of ten clients per department (in Israel).

It is crucial to emphasize that, due to the unlimited amount of clients that can be mentioned in a Legal 500 submission, this ranking guide is subject to broader changes every year, both in terms of law firm rankings and individual attorneys that stand out in their field of specialization.

(5) Ranking guide publication: Chambers publishes two rankings: the first ranks law firms and the second ranks individual lawyers that stood out in their field of expertise during passing year. Legal 500, on the other hand, focuses on ranking law firms and mentions individual lawyers within the text. From time to time Legal 500 publishes a separate list of outstanding individual attorneys, but does not divide them into tiers as explained above.

In conclusion, as mentioned above, both Legal 500 and Chambers have a massive reputation in Israel and abroad. There are many similarities between the two. However, knowing the differences can help you- the lawyers- improve your submission in the future, and, of course, your position in the upcoming ranking guides.

 

  • Robus Legal Marketing is Israel’s leading legal marketing company, which – among others – deals with submission for Israeli and international legal guides. The service is being provided for both Israeli and foreign law firms. For further details: zohar@robus.co.il