As you know, I run a secret Facebook group of legal marketers with nearly 1000 members. Every few months a post pops up about this vanity directory or that submission. We snicker. We bitch. We moan. We agree this one you have to do, that one you can ignore. But we’re never happy about having to do these, because they are time consuming, and they don’t directly bring in any new business.

We can now throw all of our snickering out the window now–we’ve got our own ranking.

May I introduce you to the Top 100 Legal Consultants Strategists from our friends at Law Dragon? But let’s keep it real.

This latest list of vanity results are just that: Vanity. There are dubious persons on the list. Glaring exclusions. And a gaggle of retired or no longer focused on this sector members.

But kudos to Law Dragon for tapping into “our” vanity, and I mean that. I’m just hoping that when they come out with their Top 100 in-house legal marketers I make the list (and I really do mean that). Since I control the ad-buying budget for our firm, that would make sense, right? I have an ego. I know who is good in our industry, and who isn’t. If I see “that” person on the list, and I’m not there, well, that just can’t happen.

Directories and Submissions

As for directories and submissions in general, I do find value in them and wrote about it in To Serve Lawyers. What is killing me is how these directories continue to multiply like Tribbles. I cannot open a publication without seeing a new ranking, the invitation to participate in a new ranking, or the invitation to nominate our clients for a ranking (to which I can then buy an ad AND a table!! Woo hoo. Winning!!!).

By bringing “us” into the directory mix, Law Dragon has elevated themselves out of the noise, and I truly give them brownie points for this.

To all of the directory editors out there, do me this favor: Please start to differentiate your lists as your roll out new ones. Why is your IP list different than their IP list? And how about helping me out with an annual calendar that has all of your publications submissions, with due dates that can be exported to Outlook? Speaking of calendars, could you all start to coordinate yours? Chambers is the granddaddy of them all; just have your submission due a month later and I can just copy-paste what we have already done.

Oooh, and while we’re at it, why introduce new lists in the middle of the year, or discontinue one without warning? And before adding more and more lists, why not see if there is content for it (yeah, Law360, I’m talking about you and your “Innovative Leaders” list that you pulled)? And please don’t tout your research, and then produce a list with glaring mistakes; I’ve been trying to get my retired partners off a list for a couple years now, but they are still there.

I’m part of the problem

I know it sounds like I hate these things, and perhaps the better description is a “love-hate” relationships, but I do find value in them. I just cannot dedicate my whole job to filling these out every week.

I know I am part of the problem, because I do buy congratulatory ads. A couple years ago I commissioned Jaffe PR (on the Law Dragon list, and deservingly so) to do a study of the directories and submission opportunities out there and make recommendations on which we should submit to based on our firm’s focus of business, just so I could plan and budget. Yeah, that thing was out of date before I downloaded the spreadsheet (psst. Vivian, there’s an app idea for you guys!).

My advice through it all, play the game, but know what the results mean. Learn to say no. And when promoting your results, well, just know that we all know, and don’t take it all too seriously. It’s not an Oscar. Hell, it’s not even a Golden Globe.