Many solo practitioners and lawyers in small firms spin their wheels when it comes to personal marketing efforts. At the end of the day, law firm marketing often takes a backseat to the demands of practicing law and business ownership. Still, online platforms like The Best Lawyers in America are a quick and relatively painless marketing tool that many attorneys forget completely about. Utilizing these third-party platforms can help your practice be:
- More searchable;
- More accessible to potential clients and referral sources; and,
- More visible to people who are really looking for you.
On the other hand, Best Lawyers in America can be a hassle to keep current, and it does cost money to have a visible profile on their site. Here are the key things you should know about Best Lawyers in America before you decide to make it a part of your small law firm’s marketing plan.
What is Best Lawyers in America?
Best Lawyers in America is an online lawyer and law firm review website that is searchable for members who have been included on a Best Lawyers peer-reviewed list or have paid for advertising through the site. Best Lawyers is a magazine, first and foremost, and they produce editions for major markets (Denver, Salt Lake City, etc.) as well as national and international editions. They also produce and curate news content related to legal advice and news.
Since 2009, Best Lawyers in America has joined forces with U.S. News and World Report to rank over 14,000 law firms each year for the coveted title of “Best Law Firms in America.”
How Long Has it Been Around?
The company was founded in 1981 with the first published edition hitting the newstands in 1983.
What is their Audience/Reach?
With over 17 million readers, Best Lawyers in America is one of the broadest-reaching publications of its kind. It is published in nearly 75 countries, and highlights almost 60,000 lawyers per year across America alone.
How Do You Use It?
Best Lawyers in America is great for validation your practice as a go-to lawyer in your practice area. We cannot pay to get on this list, and you must be reviewed your colleagues in order to be named.
The award itself can be touted on your website and other online biographies. You can also buy a yearly license to use their badge (once you have landed a place in the magazine) to amp up your collateral materials and office reading materials as well as updating your biography and law firm website.
How Do You Get Nominated?
You can be nominated by your clients, your marketing team, other personal references, or legal colleagues. The site discourages lawyers from nominating themselves, but it will not get you disqualified.
Once you are nominated, it can be a great source of authentication of your practice. How it typically works is this:
- Another colleague that has already been included on the Best Lawyers list would nominate you using the form here. The deadline is usually in early December .
- The Best Lawyers investigation team looks through the nominees to verify that each one to be submitted for voting meets their requirements (in good standing with bar association, positive peer feedback, etc.).
- Voting begins soon after. The more votes that you receive from peer lawyers on the list (and in the community), the more likely you are to be included.
- Voting closes in early April, and all the nomination votes are tallied.
- By July, lawyers and firms who have been chosen to be included are notified.
Once you have been listed as a Best Lawyer in America, you don’t have to do the nomination process again. You will be automatically resubmitted in the following nomination period.
Is it Free?
Being nominated for inclusion is 100% free. A paid subscription is necessary for any placement in the search results on their website.
The Best Lawyers in America is a fantastic feather in your cap, and it requires no investment to start the process. It does, however, require a bit of foresight and a few good connections to get you in. Once you are in, you have to decide whether you want to pay the monthly fee to have placement on their website. There is also a yearly fee to license the use of their electronic badges.