Directory marketing lead – read last year’s directory commentary in full, for all firms in the section, and digest your firm’s rankings and relative position. (30 mins)
Directory marketing lead – retrieve last year’s submission from your files and (assuming the format is the same), read it, and create a new version using the previous entry as a baseline. Save it somewhere secure. (15 mins)
Directory marketing lead – craft an email to the lead partner in the practice, alerting them to the start of the directory process, and requesting a meeting (face-to-face if practical) or via the phone. Mention in your email the questions you will ask and the information you will need from the partner. (30 mins)
Directory marketing lead/partner 1 – conduct an interview with the lead partner (the practice head or the person best placed to speak to the practice as a whole). Ask questions to learn as much as you can to enable you to prepare a good first draft. For example: notable developments at the practice over the past year, summaries of highlight matters such as case wins or completed transactions, broader trends in the practice or industry, distinguishing features of the practice, the lawyers in the practice to highlight, and frank feedback on the current placing of your firm and others in the directory tables. Also, remind the partner to think about their client reference selection. (1 hour marketing time + 1 hour partner time = 2 hours)
Directory marketing lead – draft the submission. Use your notes from the meeting/call above, existing matter lists you may have for other purposes, press releases, internal announcements/newsletters, pitches, partner management reports, dig around online for industry news, and your own knowledge. Aim to write 80% of the submission. (8-10 hours)
Directory marketing lead – create four versions of your submission: the master (above), and three shorter versions containing just the matter descriptions relevant to partners 2, 3, and 4, respectively. (15 mins)
Directory marketing lead – create four versions of the accompanying client reference spreadsheet: a master version using last year’s reference selection as the baseline, and three shorter versions containing just the references relevant to partners 2, 3, and 4, respectively. (15 mins)
Directory marketing lead – send each of partners 2, 3, and 4 their respective documents – the short version of the submission containing just their matters, and the short version of the reference spreadsheet containing just the references relevant to them. Specify a return date. (15 mins)
Partner 2 – review/edit selection of matters and update reference selection. (1 hour)
Partner 3 – review/edit selection of matters and update reference selection. (1 hour)
Partner 4 – review/edit selection of matters and update reference selection. (1 hour)
Directory marketing lead – copy/paste contributions from partners 2, 3 and 4 into master documents (submission + reference spreadsheet) when they respond (30 mins)
Directory marketing lead – send chasers to each of partners 2, 3 and 4 if not responded to above. (15 mins)
Directory marketing lead – send master version of submission (which by now should include some or all of the contributions from partners 2, 3 and 4) to lead partner, along with master reference spreadsheet. Ask lead partner to review/approve. (15 mins)
Partner 1 – lead partner to review/edit master submission and approve, plus update/refresh own reference selection. (1-2 hours)
Directory marketing lead – once lead partner has approved submission, create final version of document, print it out, and check over/proof. Look for typos, formatting quirks. Ensure consistency. (1 hour)
Directory marketing lead – check directory submission requirements, and submit documents using online system or by emailing to correct people in suitable format. (30 mins)
If your firm is spending significantly more time than outlined above, look to streamline things.
In a follow-up post, I will estimate the cost — in dollar terms – to produce an average submission.
Notes – assumes a standard (one jurisdiction: one practice) Chambers/Legal 500-style submission for a four-partner practice.