Having recently completed the last of my Chambers submissions for the 2018 publication, I'm sharing my tips while the process is still fresh in my mind. Before you know it, it will be time to get cracking on submissions for the 2019 edition. My advice pertains to referees, the interview, and the researcher and overall process.
Referees are (not) the easiest partThrow together your list of referees, submit it, and forget about it. Wrong. Use your 20 spots strategically. Be thoughtful about who you list. The best client referee doesn't need to be the CEO of the company; pick the person who is familiar with your work and will sing your praises. Similarly, better to list someone who will be more likely to respond to the Chambers researcher than the person with the most senior job title. Ask referees for permission to list them before you do so. You can ask the researcher when he/she plans to contact the referees, and then give your referees a heads up to look out for Chambers' email. Also ask referees to let you know once they have responded to Chambers. This is the best way to ensure you get the highest response possible. Clients are just as busy as us; if it's not on their radar, they may overlook it or dismiss as spam. The researcher won't divulge which clients have responded, but they may tell you how many of your 20 have responded. If you have a response rate of 6 out of 20, follow up with the referees. Client interviews are the most important factor in a researcher's consideration. Don't leave it to chance. And of course, once you get ranked, send a big thank you to the clients you listed.
Interview with researcher
Review the list of currently ranked lawyers and firms in your practice area. Identify any lawyers from other firms that you are friendly with, and suggest a reciprocal arrangement. (i.e., you plan to speak highly of them to the researcher and would be greatly appreciated if they would do the same for you.) Be prepared on the call to point out any lawyers or firms on the list that you think are missing or incorrectly placed. I would follow an 80/20 rule here in terms of how much positive and negative feedback to provide. If you are too critical you risk alienating the researcher. At the same time, now is not the time for modesty. Make your case clearly as to why your team should be ranked. Along the same lines, have your own agenda for the call. The Chambers researcher will ask about wider market trends, and your opinion on the current listing. Weave in the messages you want to get across.
Playing a long game
Part of what makes Chambers worth its salt is its exclusivity. They don't let just anyone on the list, and it certainly isn't easy. So if you don't get ranked on first couple of attempts, don't give up. Manage your team's expectations on this and make sure they know that Chambers is a long game, and winning requires grit.