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Guide for Beginners: Introduction to Legal Directories

By 11 March 2019July 14th, 2021Insights, Legal Directories

Legal directories are annual publications that research and compile information about law firm and lawyers in specific jurisdictions and practice areas. Their goal is to make it easier for anyone looking for legal advice to find a solution that fits their needs.

The most common format is for legal directories to publish rankings by country and practice area where they list law firms according to their quality, visibility and strength in the market.


Who uses legal directories?


Directories are used by a) GCs and C-Suite executives in companies looking for legal advisors, and b) by lawyers looking for peers in other countries to send referral work.


Which are the most reputable legal directories internationally?


Chambers, Legal500, IFLR, World Tax and Leaders League, according to independent research.


Are they present in my country?


Most directories are headquartered in London and New York but research and compile rankings for +100 countries. You can see a full list of countries covered on their websites. Leaders League has a narrower coverage geographically but is expanding fast.


How can my firm participate?


All legal directories have a research methodology that requires firms to send information about their work and about their clients. For more detailed information, please see our explainers for each legal directory here.


Can small firms participate?


Yes. Every legal directory has slightly different criteria but they all reward excellence rather than size. Small, highly specialised boutiques are often ranked in the top tiers alongside larger international firms when they can demonstrate the quality of their work.


What criteria are used in the rankings?


The research is a comparative process that tries to identify the best players in the market based on the work they are involved in and the quality of service they provide. The evaluation elements used by legal directories are a sample of each firm’s work, feedback provided by the firm’s clients and information provided by other lawyers in the same market.


Can I participate individually as a lawyer?


If you are a sole practitioner, there are areas that privilege highly focused experts working autonomously, such as legal opinions or white-collar crime. However, note that in most other areas you will be competing with larger teams. If you are applying individually but you are part of a larger firm, note that the application will probably be stronger if the rest of the team is involved.