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best lawyer lists

‘Best Lawyers’ Lists: D Magazine Edition

If you’re a Dallas lawyer, you’ve probably noticed a sudden rush of ads, social media posts, and emails touting various attorneys’ inclusion on D Magazine’s 2018 list of the Best Lawyers in Dallas, which was published May 1.

If you made that list, congratulations! We’ve got some tips for spreading the word at the bottom of this blog post.

First, though, a quick word about “best lawyer” lists. Lawyers, and the marketers who serve them, have a love/hate relationship with these lists. Here’s how those arguments play out:

The Cons of Best Lawyer Lists

  • They seem like nothing more than popularity contests;
  • Clients don’t put any stock in them anyway; and
  • They’re just ways for the publications that put them out to make money selling ads, badges, and branded swag.

The Pros of Best Lawyer Lists

  • It’s nice to win popularity contests;
  • Maybe some clients put a tiny bit of stock in them; and
  • If you’re going to spend money on marketing and advertising anyway, this is as good a way to spend your money as any.

After 20 years in the legal marketing business, and 20 years of hearing my clients complain about “best lawyer” lists, there are more of those lists now than ever. They clearly aren’t going anywhere. My colleague Bruce Vincent did an excellent rundown of the major ones a few months back, but his column only scratched the surface of the growing list of lawyer and law firm rankings.

Our best advice: If you care about making a “best” list, pick the one or two you care most about, educate yourself on their selection process and criteria, and set about putting yourself in the best position to make those lists.

Fortunately, the most important things to do to be selected are precisely what we recommend to any lawyer or law firm looking to grow their practice:

  • Step one: Be very good at what you do.
  • Step two: Make sure other people know you’re very good at what you do.

That’s business development in a nutshell. There are a million sub-steps, of course, but that’s the essence of the entire concept. (I go into more detail in “Getting Past the ‘Ick’ Factor in Legal Marketing.”)

By being very good at what you do and making sure other people know about it (via personal networking, blogging, public and media relations, social media, speaking, writing, RFPs, etc.), you’re more likely to be top-of-mind when “best lawyer” nominations go around.

One other tip: If you’re not already a household name in your local legal community, you probably have to get comfortable with asking people to vote for you. Overt campaigning for “best” lists is frowned on, but it’s certainly appropriate to reach out to a handful of people who are in a position to know the quality of your work and ask them if they would consider casting a vote for you.

Getting the Word Out If You Made a Best Lawyer List

If you made the D Magazine list (or any other reputable list, for that matter), here are some of the best ways to let others know about it:

  • An email to colleagues, clients, and referral sources, or inclusion in the firm’s newsletter;
  • Press release posted on a wire service;
  • Blog post;
  • Social media;
  • Digital ad on a legal website, and
  • Congratulations ad in the local newspaper.

Many of those are free or almost free, so there’s no financial reason not to get the word out. D Magazine, of course, offers paid profiles in the magazine, but it’s too late to get in on those. If your budget allows, D will gladly sell you a more prominent online profile, as will just about every other lawyer ranking publication.

If you’re handling your own publicity, it’s always nice to add an image. If you don’t have an in-house designer, check out Canva.com, where you can create FREE graphics that can be appropriately sized for the various social media channels. (For some reason, they don’t include LinkedIn on their sizes, but we use 700×400 and it works great.) We are enormous fans of Canva, and we apologize in advance for all the time you will waste there now.

Obviously, this is one of the many things we do for our clients, so if we can help you publicize your good news, contact us at info@musecommunicationsllc.com.

Amy Boardman Hunt Muse CommunicationsAmy Boardman Hunt is all about helping lawyers find their voice and showcase their expertise. When she’s not doing that, she’s trying to find great hiking spots in Dallas. If you know of any – or you need a legal marketing muse – drop her a line at amy.hunt@musecommunicationsllc.com.

 

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