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Introduction to Legal500

By 3 November 2019July 14th, 2021Insights, Legal Directories

Legal500, alongside Chambers, is one of the most reputable and complete legal directories out there. Their team is smaller than Chambers and has less full-time analysts, but their rankings are similarly respected in the legal market.

Participating in the research and appearing in the ranking is 100% free of charge. If you are interested, see our article on how Legal500 makes money.

Legal500 covers most countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. For a full list, visit their website and look in the left-side vertical banner. Each jurisdiction is divided into several practice areas, with varying levels of specificity. For example, the UK chapter has dozens of rankings divided by region (London, West Midlands, North West, etc.) but smaller jurisdictions such as Macedonia only have one.


How does it work:


  • Elements of assessment: Legal500 asks firms to submit two documents for each practice area; one detailing the firm’s most impressive work and another with contact details for clients who would be available to provide feedback on the firm’s service. The final element is interviews with several lawyers in that practice area.
  • Methodology: Legal500 Over one or two months, a Chambers analyst will research a specific market using the information provided by all the firms in the market, as well as qualified comments from lawyers acting in that market.
  • Decision making: The initial analyst will use the elements of assessment to compare law firms against each other and decide on whether they should be added to the ranking and in which tier. The analyst’s decisions will then be reviewed by a more senior member of the team, the Deputy Editor, who has a more rounded knowledge of the market and makes the final decision. In special circumstances, the Editor (highest seniority)


How to participate:


For more information on how to participate see our How To series, which covers everything from preparation to submissions and referees.


How does Legal500 make money?


Chambers has two main arms, the Research arm and the Business Development arm. Importantly, these departments are completely independent and participating in the research process in 100% free of charge. We will start by explaining the Research part and briefly cover the Business Development arm at the end.

Whilst Chambers does not charge firms to appear in the rankings to protect the impartiality of results, the company does need to make money to sustain its growing team. The main sources of revenue area:

  • Events: Chambers regularly co-hosts events with law firms as sponsors. These events are usually seminars or forums covering one or multiple topics, from legislation developments to diversity discussions and receptions for meeting the Chambers team. This is an opportunity for Chambers to raise revenue but also for firms to increase their visibility by associating themselves with a very reputable brand in the sector
  • Profile sales: If a firm or individual is ranked, they can buy a profile that will appear in both the physical and online versions of the directory. Profiles allow firms and individuals to include more details about their practice, such as contact details and short descriptions/biographies