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“Chambers Insight” – Is it worth the money?

“Chambers Insight” (formerly “Insight Report”) is a paid tool from Chambers and Partners. How nice were the old days when law firm directories provided this information free of charge on request. But fair is fair, even law firm rankings have to be financed.

Considering the prices, there is always the question if law firms receive the desired added value. So, does Chambers Insight provide decisive information on how law firms can improve their directory?

The answer is: Partly.

Among other things, Chambers Insight provides the following information:

  • Is the practice group large enough?
  • Does the practice group really focus sufficiently on the area of law submitted?
  • Are there enough partners in the practice group?
  • How good and how extensive was the feedback from the client referees?
  • What Chambers “Trajectory” is the law firm on?
  • What do “Market Commentators” say about the firm?
  • What do “Third Party” and “Market Sources” say about the firm?

The first three points are easy to understand and also easy to argue. Of course, a turnover reliant practice group like Capital Markets with only one partner, for example, is too small if you want to get into Band 1.

It is also easy to determine whether a law firm has really predominantly B&F matters in a Banking & Finance filing, for example, or whether it is trying to sell mergers in the financial environment as B&F.

It is also important to know exactly how many of the client referees responded and what the responses were. However, this information can all be obtained from Chambers in advance from the Guidelines and Practice Group Definitions for Law Directories.

If you set up the submission process and communicate with the client referees accordingly, compliance with the guidelines is easy. This also applies to the interviews with client referees. But what law firm does that? So Chambers Insight is quite valuable here in showing what the law firm is doing wrong.

The last three points are where it gets exciting. The “Trajectory” indicates whether partners or the entire practice group will be ranked better, the same or worse by Chambers next time.

For example, the “Trajectory” can simply be “Downward”. Or also “Consistent”, “Upward” or even “N/A”.

Although these are all interesting infos, they are not factors (apart from the three points mentioned above) which can be easily controlled by law firms.

After all, how exactly is a law firm supposed to influence “Market Sources“? Chambers refers precisely to the “Market Sources” in Chambers Insight for good, but also for bad ratings. These sources would talk badly about the partners and that is why there is a bad rating. And now? What should the law firm do with it?

The same applies to “Market Commentators” and “Third Party” statements. 

We see Chambers Insight’s greatest benefit in showing law firms that submit, e.g., the wrong kind of matters or infos very clearly that this is a no go. That should help marketing departments to make their case easier in the next round of submissions. Benchmarking your submissions in this way is always a good opportunity to examine the Legal Directories’ requirements in detail.

In brief:
Pros & Cons of Chambers Insight

The implementation of existing specifications is clearly displayed.

If law firm partners do not comply with known Chambers requirements, e.g. with regard to practice group size and the definition of legal areas, Chambers Insight clearly shows what needs to be changed.

Such benchmarking of submissions for legal directories is always very useful.

Unclear terms weaken the value of Chambers Insight.

Unclear factors such as “Market Commentators”, “Third Party” and “Market Sources” are cited as reasons for the evaluation of law firms in Chambers Insight.

However, these are mainly uncontrollable factors. Therefore, law firms have no means of influencing these factors. This is why Chambers Insight loses some of its impact. That is a shame because otherwise Chambers Insight is quite a good benchmarking tool.

About the author: Law Business has been supporting lawyers and patent attorneys since 2004. Our customers regularly describe us as the market leader.

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