Law Business founder Alexander Gendlin speaks with the JUVE editor in chief Jörn Poppelbaum about the inner mechanics of the JUVE ranking.
Alexander Gendlin: There are so many rankings today – How does JUVE stand out from the masses?
Jörn Poppelbaum: First of all, we are one of the few rankings, the published exclusively in German. We think this is a significant difference, because we publish only in the native language of the markets that we serve also– Germany and Austria, to a small extent also Switzerland. Apart from the fact that our editorial team with more than 20 specialized fixed salariedjournalists is probably the largest in Europe, we believe that we have a very far reaching research in the various legal fields.
Alexander Gendlin: How does JUVE distinguish itself as an industry leader especially from the other toprankings such as Chambers and Legal 500?
Jörn Poppelbaum: Our approach is different. Creating rankings is for us only a part of the work. Unlike Chambers and Legal 500, we accompany the lawyer market 12 months a year with online daily news and various magazines. Thus, we report equally about law firms and inhouse lawyers. In other words, we maintain constant contact with the companies and look at them not only as a mandate donor and attorney recommenders, but as actors in the market for corporate lawyers.
This is also expressed in our various publications, such as the monthly magazine “JUVE legal market” in Germany or the bi-monthly magazine “JUVE business lawyers” in Austria. In addition we have our Career Magazine: “Azur” is published twice a year and is aimed prospective lawyers. Azur 100 is published annually – the same way as the JUVE Handbook for German Commercial Law Firms – and provides a dedicated, critical analysis about legal education programs in law firms and companies, career prospects, or the family-friendly work environment.
Alexander Gendlin: What information about the law firms are most important when collecting data for JUVE?
Jörn Poppelbaum:There is not “the most important” information. Our research is understood as a journalistic approach and is based on three main pillars: information about the firms itself, plus dozens official and unofficial discussions for each firm with law firm partners and lawyers throughout the year. Key points are also the information of the company through their cooperation with law firms, and estimates of its competitors. In the end, our journalists analyze hundreds of puzzle pieces, which are integrated into the respective ranking.
Alexander Gendlin: What must a law firm do to improve its JUVE ranking?
Jörn Poppelbaum: Do good work. It is exactly this work is that we evaluate. Although one must say clearly that we can not verify the legal quality from our own experience. We try rather to draw conclusions from the track record and reach our – of course purely subjective – assessments based on the many, many conversations we perform daily. Our experience and our own market knowledge also help us in the creation of rankings. It is therefore clear: Only legal excellence will not allow law firms to rise in the ranking. The reputation of a law firm also depends on factors such as the international expertise, service readiness, dealing with employees, the sustainability of the business model and many more.
Alexander Gendlin: What are absolute no-Goes for the supply of data to JUVE?
Jörn Poppelbaum: The there is no such thing. Each piece of information is important. However, for example, would the purely abstract description of mandates without giving client contacts complicate the immense possibilities of being able to actually assess the work of a practice and verify information. It is therefore important that the law firms and lawyers know that we handle all information given to us sensitively and responsibly. Trust is the alpha and omega of our work.
Alexander Gendlin: How important are the discussions with the respective law firm partners?
Jörn Poppelbaum: They play a major role. By the way, not necessarily to get to hard facts – these we get often from other relevant market players, due to our networking and the many conversations we have with law firms and businesses, but also for example with judges and professors. However, the exchange with law firm partners on the technical issues is also very important to recognize the subjective perspective of the law firms on their business. Moreover, one can oppose criticism of competitors and clients only in the active conversation or counter certain stereotypes that exist about a law firm. Who does not speak with us should not be surprised if he or she later reads something oneself that can be considered by him or herself to be fundamentally wrong but what we learned about this person from a third party.
Alexander Gendlin: Thank you very much for the interview!
Jörn Poppelbaum ist editor in chief at JUVE – www.juve.de