Law firm professionals often grapple with decisions around leveraging industry accolades. A prime example is whether a law firm should purchase the badge associated with rankings from entities like Chambers, Super Lawyers or Best Law Firms.

These badges can be used as a marketing tool, a recruiting tool, a stamp of approval and a potential client magnet. But is it worth the investment? Let’s delve into the pros and cons and explore how law firms can maximize the value of these accolades.

The Case for Purchasing the Badge

  • Enhanced Credibility and Prestige: Purchasing and displaying a ranking badge can elevate a firm’s stature – particularly for smaller and mid-size firms, as well as big firms that are trying to enhance their visibility in certain practice areas or jurisdictions. It acts as a third-party endorsement of the firm’s expertise and reputation, which can potentially impact a client’s decision-making process.
  • Marketing and Branding Advantage: The badge can be a powerful marketing tool. It can be displayed on the firm’s website, in email signatures, on social media and in marketing materials. This constant visual representation of excellence can differentiate a firm in a crowded market.
  • Client Trust and Confidence: Clients who are unfamiliar with a firm and its experience may be reassured by visible signs of a firm’s achievement. This can be particularly useful for boutique, small and mid-size law firms that are not household names.
  • Recruitment and Morale Boost: For current and prospective employees, the badge is a symbol of pride and success. It can aid in attracting top talent who want to work with a leading firm as well as boost the morale of current employees.

The Arguments Against Purchasing Award Badges

  • The Cost Factor: The primary argument against purchasing the badge is its cost. For some firms, especially smaller ones, the cost can be a significant factor, leading to questions about the return on investment.
  • Overemphasis on Rankings: There is a risk of over-relying on rankings for firm reputation. The true measure of a firm’s success should be its client service and legal expertise, not just its accolades.
  • Potential Misinterpretation: Some clients might misinterpret the purchase of a badge as a means to ‘buy’ reputation, which could potentially backfire in terms of trust.

Maximizing the Badge’s Value

If a firm decides to purchase the badge, it should strategically maximize its value. Here are some ways to do so:

  • Incorporate in Key Marketing Channels: Use the badge across all marketing materials, including the firm’s website (news page, recruiting page, practice area pages and lawyer bios), brochures, pitches, email signatures and social media posts, to enhance visibility.
  • Announce the Achievement: Use the ranking badge in communications such as email announcements, press releases, email signatures, LinkedIn banner images, blog posts and social media announcements to draw attention to the firm’s recognition.
  • Client Communications: Include the badge in email communications and proposals to clients to reinforce the firm’s standing.
  • Internal Celebrations: Use the badge as a tool for internal celebrations to acknowledge the team’s hard work and success.

Purchasing a ranking badge from Chambers, Best Law Firms, Super Lawyers or similar organizations can be a valuable investment for some law firms, but it should be weighed against the cost and potential overemphasis on accolades.

The key is to use the badge strategically, as part of a broader marketing and reputation-building strategy, rather than relying on it as the sole indicator of a firm’s prowess. Ultimately, the decision should align with the firm’s marketing goals, budget and values, ensuring that it adds genuine value to the firm’s brand and reputation.