How to write better chamber submissions

Joanne Sturge
Marketing Coordinator

Submitting to Chambers can be a painful, time-consuming process. We get it. And part of the reason these Chambers rankings are so highly desired is that they are that difficult to win. 

Although law firm marketing teams have come to dread that time of year, there is an easier way to write and submit better legal ranking submissions forms.

It’s the process that once a year consumes legal marketers, business development professionals, and even lawyers themselves, to create the best legal submissions in hopes of becoming a ranked law firm.

Let’s review some of the basics about Chambers and Partners, first.

What is Chambers Legal Directory? 

The annual Chambers guides are considered the most renowned legal directory in the world and with good reason!

The first Chambers guide was published in 1990 and highlighted the best lawyers in the UK. Over the past thirty years, Chambers and Partners have expanded their guides so that today their research team of 200 people conducts in-depth research across 200 jurisdictions around the world.

Research takes place over several months with deadlines throughout the year for different jurisdictions and practice areas. Most practice areas are assessed at the state level, but there are also some regional rankings.

As a result of such diligence and dedication, Chambers USA is recognized as the gold-standard resource for consumers who need legal services.

The Chambers USA Guide 2021 will be released in May 2021.

What do Chambers Rankings Mean?

Chambers rankings indicate “sustained excellence” on the part of the firms and lawyers who are included.

Their independent researchers evaluate multiple factors to determine whether or not they’ll rank a lawyer or firm.

In every state, they rank the leading law firms in at least four areas of law: Litigation, Corporate/Commercial, Real Estate, and Labor & Employment.  

Some of the factors they evaluate include:

  • Technical Legal Ability: what is the expertise and experience specific to that practice area and jurisdiction?
  • Client Service: what is the speed, responsiveness, and more?
  • Diligence: how rigorous is attention to detail?
  • Value For Money: are there innovations and organizational aspects that save clients time and money?

Chambers rankings can be incredibly helpful for your firm; not only can you draw attention to this premier listing on your website, but you can also create an expanded profile on Chambers’ website.

How to Get Listed in Chambers Legal Directory?

The Chambers guides list the best of the best — there is no fee for a listing which is part of why the guides are regarded so highly. Instead, the guides rely on the independent research their analysts complete.

As far as getting a listing, a good first step is to consider introducing yourself to the relevant researcher for your practice area.

The research process takes a few months and researchers for each practice area and jurisdiction may change from year to year. They appreciate it when firms reach out to introduce themselves and offer to help if needed.

It’s important, however, to not overdo your communication with the researcher.

A second component for your submission is that when you consider who to nominate, be selective. Choose the twenty lawyers who have been most active and have work that would most impress the Chambers researchers.  

Third, for an insider tip, Georgia Brooks, a prior editor for Chambers Europe (2012-2015), notes that the best way to get listed is to “follow the research process as closely as possible.”

This includes using the template provided by Chambers and submitting it on time. If you are going to submit late, try to notify your researcher a couple of weeks in advance. Don’t wait until the last minute!

Finally, referees, or the names you provide Chambers for references, are a critical part of receiving a Chambers listing and figure prominently in your submission. We’ll discuss them more below.

Let’s start by examining how to tackle your Chambers submission.

Writing a Great Chambers Submission

Although submissions aren’t required in order to be ranked in Chambers, it can be helpful to provide them with a submission. A submission can build a case for why your firm or practice should be included in the guide. It also demonstrates that you are interested in being included.

Several key components can ensure your Chambers submission stands out among the thousands of submissions; here’s an overview of four of them.

Create a plan

Like most processes at a law firm, it helps to have a detailed plan to best prepare for Chambers submissions. A detailed plan will delineate who is responsible for what and by when.

Although Chambers does allow extensions for late submissions, it’s important to start the process early and create a realistic timeline to ensure you are able to submit on time.

Brooks also emphasized the importance of submitting on time. She wrote, “The research team try to be as flexible as possible but they have very tight research and production deadlines so can’t afford to wait four, five, six+ weeks for a firm to submit. And of course, without a submission it’s very hard for a researcher to actually research a firm properly.”

Chambers provides an updated research schedule where filters can help to ensure you have correct information about the deadline submission for your practice area and location.

A solid plan also incorporates multiple people and perspectives into the process. Coordinating everyone with only a few weeks is not enough time. You want your plan to allow for a couple of months, if possible.

While you want to include all the necessary people, be sure not to involve too many people in each submission. Death by committee is a quick way to miss the submission deadline.

Keep an organized knowledge management system

An organized knowledge management system allows you to streamline your submission process. Instead of searching for the information you need, an organized knowledge management system ensures you can find what you need when you need it. 

And, it can help you assign tasks to project leads so that there’s clarity over who’s responsible for what content. 

Some of the things to consider as you gather information for your submission include:

  • The sections you will submit to, using the name that Chambers USA gives to the practice area;
  • The lead partner for that section;
  • Any progress notes that are relevant.

You can use your organized knowledge management system to uncover what is genuinely unique about your firm or practice. It’s important that these qualities don’t use ‘marketing speak’ and vague terms. Instead of “collaborative” or “great client service” offer quantifiable and specific examples.

An easy search function also enables you to quickly uncover who handles the sections you’d like to submit for and any other interesting or pertinent details.

A knowledge management system that auto-populates client, employee, and project profiles can save you endless amounts of time spent on your submission. You won’t have to copy and paste from different sources any more — for example, what if it were possible to automatically populate your PB06 document? Imagine how much time (and billable hours) could be saved.  

Identify quality referees

The word “referees” refers to the clients or co-counsel who Chambers will interview to identify the quality of your firm’s work. Ideally, the referees are able to speak to the caliber and quality of the services you provide.

Chambers allows you to submit up to twenty referees — don’t cut this short or scrimp here.

The best referees will be the ones who are responsive to Chambers’ request for an interview—and have complementary and even stand-out experiences with the firm or practice.

Once you’ve decided who will be your referees, you want to make certain to notify them that a Chambers researcher will be reaching out to them. Sometimes Chambers emails look like spam and so a referee might delete it if they weren’t watching for its arrival.

Often, a researcher will only ask for 10-15 minutes of their time. It can also help your referees if you walk them through as much of the process as possible.

Utilize all the space allocated

Finally, make sure that you fill in all of the space that Chambers provides in the submission template.

Their template explicitly details what information they want, and after years of gathering information, they know what will be most helpful for conducting their research.

Take up all of the space that they offer, and do so with details that strengthen the argument that your firm or practice is exemplary.

Occasionally Chambers updates their submission template, so be sure to double check that you’re using the current template.

Submitting to Chambers can be extremely time-intensive on your marketing team. That’s why with ikaun, we’ve automated the process for you. 

Ikaun’s new Chambers and Awards Submissions feature enables your team to be more organized and efficient when creating and submitting your submission. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you with your submission so that it’s as seamless as possible.

Read more about this new feature here

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