Chambers and Partners Snapshot
Chambers and Partners is a London-based company that publishes law firm rankings and legal guides. Founded in 1990, Chambers originally covered firms in the UK but has since expanded to include the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. The company publishes numerous guides (broken down by location and practice area) throughout the year.
Chambers isn’t a typical directory where law firms submit a form once a year and hope for the best. Instead, Chambers employs 170 full-time researchers specializing in different practice areas. Researchers spend months thoroughly vetting each applicant, and law firms are encouraged to stay in touch with their practice area researchers throughout the year to notify them of important developments. For this reason, Chambers is likely the most comprehensive—and, therefore, the most prestigious—law firm directory in the world.
Why You Should Apply (And Why You Shouldn’t)
Chambers is one of the most respected legal guides out there—so yeah, you should apply. Their researchers’ only job is to find the best lawyers and law firms, and they follow a rigorous selection process.
There’s absolutely no buying your way onto the list. The company does offer plaques and “enhanced” online profiles to selected firms. Still, there is no cost to apply—and considering how well-known the Chambers name is, this might be one occasion where it’s worth buying their marketing materials.
One of the only downfalls is that being included in Chambers may not correspond to an increase in business. Supposedly, legal directories like Chambers are beneficial because in-house counsel and potential clients use them to find lawyers. That may or may not be true, however, especially with so many other online resources available. Even though inclusion in Chambers may not score you new clients, it’s certainly an accomplishment that will boost your credibility.
Chambers & Partners Award Overview
Applications Due (typically): Chambers researchers collect data throughout the year on a rolling basis, so your application deadline will depend on the practice area and location you’re applying for. However, Chambers typically releases its annual research schedule in May, and applications are due between June and September.
Recipients Notified (typically): If you are ranked, you will be notified at the end of the research period for your specific practice area and location. For the US edition, that’s usually six months after the submission deadline or up to 10 months for international editions. The annual Chambers USA guide is released in late April or early May.
Award Recipients: Chambers ranks firms/departments as well as individual lawyers. The Chambers submission form includes space to list up to six attorneys to be considered by researchers, though it is possible to add more. In some cases, lawyers may be ranked while the firm as a whole is not, or vice versa.
Annual Award: Yes, Chambers offers its rankings annually, and you may submit the same firm/department and lawyers for one or more practice areas every year. In fact, it’s recommended to submit multiple times so researchers can see how your firm is growing.
Estimated Cost: It’s always free to apply and be listed in the Chambers annual guide (if you’re ranked). You can opt to purchase additional promotional items.
Award Recognition Promotion Options:
- Newsletter/Digital Magazine Inclusion: No
- Physical Magazine promotions: No
- Plaques: Yes
- Physical Awards: No
- Press Release Options: No
- Directory Inclusion: Ranked firms and lawyers are automatically included in the digital and hard copy versions of the annual guide and can add a digital profile on the Chambers.com online directory.
- Additional Advertising Options: Chambers can create personalized brochures for ranked firms.
- Branded Bragging rights: Chambers does not offer the use of its logo, but you are welcome to mention the recognition on your website, LinkedIn, CV, or anywhere else you’d like.
- Other [not sure if we want to include these or if they’d be better in a different section]: Chambers offers ranked lawyers opportunities to publish articles through its Insight Reports and Practice Area and Country Overviews. Any firm that submits a Chambers application is also eligible to purchase a personalized report with an analysis of the firm and its competitors.
- Expertise: Chambers does not have minimum requirements to apply. The best way to understand if your firm has a shot at being ranked is to look at other firms and lawyers that Chambers has ranked in your practice area and location.
- Years of Legal Experience: There is no minimum requirement to apply, but it would be very difficult for a lawyer without at least ~5 years of experience or a firm without a significant case history to be ranked.
- Limit on # of Attorneys Nominated From Firm?: The Chambers submission form includes space to nominate six attorneys. Theoretically, you can include every lawyer in your firm or department. However, we recommend limiting it to only the lawyers with the most impressive caseload in the last year or so.
- Case Results/Outcomes? You can include up to 20 summaries of completed or ongoing cases in your submission. Chambers does not have specific requirements for cases. However, researchers do want to know why each case is important (i.e., there was a lot of money at stake, your client was particularly vulnerable, it led to a precedent-setting decision, or you used innovative tactics to win a complex case).
- Recommendations/Nominations? Firms and lawyers do not need to be nominated to apply for Chambers--you can download the submission form on the Chambers website. You can submit up to 20 “referees” (what Chambers calls client references) with your application. Chambers researchers will interview most or all of the referees you provide.
How to Win
The most important thing you can do is give yourself plenty of time. The Chambers process is long and intensive; applications open upwards of six months before the final list is published. Once you begin the application, it may take several weeks to gather the necessary information, contact references, write case summaries, and compile it all into Chambers’ precise submission form. This isn’t something you can rush, and while Chambers researchers sometimes give extensions, it’s better to turn in your application on time.
Chambers researchers also request a list of up to 20 “referees”—essentially, clients you’ve worked with who can comment on your skill. Do not overlook this section. Good recommendations are essential as they help researchers get a better sense of your strengths. Track down the clients who will sing your praises, and include as many as possible (ideally, you’ll fill all 20 slots).
The Bottom Line
Being named to Chambers and Partners is a prestigious honor that impresses attorneys and clients alike. It may not guarantee more referrals, but it’s a worthwhile investment if you have time for the extensive application process.