At the moment, law firms are again receiving questionnaires from WWL. As I have been working with law firm rankings since 2004, I our customers are asking me about the usefulness of WWL.
The WWL questionnaires show pre-selected lawyer names in the respective countries and legal fields. You can select one or more names by clicking on them. If you want to nominate someone who is not on the list, you can enter the name in a free field.
Matterns, i.e. cases law firms work on, are not requested. This makes WWL a so-called recommendation ranking. Such a ranking does not analyse the work of the law firm, as a so-called research ranking such as Chambers or Legal 500 does. Recommendation rankings only check the questionnaires mentioned above.
The significance of such a recommendation ranking is thus very limited. One can conclude very little about the quality of a lawyer’s work. An award in WWL does not mean much. It is only a measure of how well a lawyer is networking within the legal profession.
But, the reason for good networking is not a good performance as a lawyer. Rather, good networkers are often good communicators. They can build good networks based on their personality. Also, their personal background often helps them. This includes, for example, elite schools and alumni networks.
But, the degree of networking is not a statement of quality. The only finding here is that the lawyer mentioned is not a lunatic and the legal profession does not avoid him. But it is completely unclear how good e. g. the lawyer is at communicating with clients.
So, should one take part in WWL as a lawyer? In an industry where time is as scarce as it is in law, the clear answer is no. If you still want to take part, then only if you already have good results in top research rankings. But then WWL is at best only a nice-to-have for your own well-being. This is not at all decisive for acquisition.
Without results in research rankings, you should not take part in referral rankings. Because it then looks like your law firm does not have the quality to achieve a good ranking with the top research rankings. This is also how industry experts such as in-house counsels will perceive your law firm.