“We’re pulling out”
“The list is bulls**t”
“If I’m not band one, I don’t want to be in at all”
As legal marketers, we’ve all heard exasperated lawyers say these things after the publication of a new ranking or survey.
That said, most lawyers are pretty relaxed about legal directories.
Not every lawyer likes them, but they’re accepted as part of the market, and have existed in western countries for 30 years.
Not so in Nigeria, where local lawyers are furious at the prospect of a new list of the top 100 lawyers.
The survey, which is due to be published shortly by City Lawyer Magazine, is the first of its type from a Nigeria-based company.
A number of international legal directories such as Chambers Global, Legal 500, and IFLR1000 cover Nigeria, although they focus primarily on the small number of commercial firms that work internationally.
This new Nigerian survey is focused on the domestic market, and that’s why some lawyers are unhappy.
As in other emerging legal markets like India, lawyers with domestic practices aren’t always fans of legal directories.
Some of the Nigerian critics say it’s unethical.
They suspect foul play.
Some say it’s a conspiracy to stop younger lawyers from competing with the established names.
Some have even threatened to sue the publishers to prevent the release of the list.
Others argue that in an age of globalization, the fact that some Nigerian law firms advertise with foreign publications makes the ethics of the advertising debate meaningless.
Despite lobbying from Nigerian lawyers and their staff, City Lawyer Publishers have stressed the independence of the survey, and said that they do not accept payments from lawyers, law firms, or third parties for a listing.
According to Nigerian newspaper, The Nation, the survey is edited by Emeka Nwadioke, a former banker and award-winning journalist-turned-lawyer, and is the product of 12 months intensive research.
And thanks to the Global Legal Post for the lead.
(Image: Market in Lagos, Nigeria – from Wikipedia)