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A Winning Awards Strategy for Law Firms

     By International Law Firm Solutions Ltd International Law Firm Marketing

PhoneCall Alex Kaminsky at +44 7769 640959

Awards programs are prolific. And there’s a reason for that – they work. From local Awards to international ones, they provide intrinsic value in a number of ways
Authority and Trust

If you win an Award, people know you must have undergone a selection process where evidence was analysed, specialist opinions sought, and entries judged. Even being shortlisted for an Award can help boost your reputation and provide an indication of quality. Like Legal Directory rankings, your Awards achievements provide third party endorsement, credibility and industry recognition.

Increased Awareness

Organisers of Awards need to gain awareness and visibility so if you get shortlisted you get the benefit of that promotion to a target audience. This often comes in the form of direct e-marketing, online web promotion as well as the Awards events themselves. Even if you don’t get past the shortlist stage your brand has been repeatedly presented as a leading firm/lawyer to potential clients/referrers to whom you might otherwise not have access.


Attending the Awards events provides you with the opportunity to expand your network with other leaders in your industry or jurisdiction. People will know your name and it gives you a perfect opportunity to make contacts which you can develop in the future.

Value All Round

Whether you are a finalist or winner, being shortlisted for an Award is a great message to project to the market. Not only does it engender continued trust from existing clients, but it also helps promote you to prospects, is a great morale boost to staff internally and makes you more attractive when recruiting.


Tie-In with Your Business Development Strategy

There are many moving parts when it comes to business development and they need to work in harmony so that you move in the right direction rather than take one step forward and two back. With so many Awards out there you need to make sure you pick the right one to enter. When choosing the Awards, look at your overall strategy and pick the one that fits. There are lots of types but they can be loosely categorised as follows:

1. Cross border and international legal awards. See: ILFS resources/list-of-international-legal-awards
2. Single country specific awards, e.g. China Law & Practice Awards
3. Lawyer awards, e.g. Young Lawyers (40 under 40), Women in Business Awards
4. Practice area awards, e.g. Asia Tax Awards. Many other awards have categories with awards for different practice areas.

What are your strategic business development priorities? To raise your profile internationally? To highlight your knowledge of a particular industry sector or showcase a niche practice area? A combination? Pick the Awards that you can weave into your business development strategy so all your activities are sending the same message.

Look Inside and Out

Examine requirements carefully and honestly evaluate the criteria against your firm. As well as looking at your own strengths and weaknesses, look at the target audience of the Award and how it is promoted – will it offer the value you need after all that investment? If you don’t you are wasting both your time and effort and you may hinder your chances of winning an Award at a later date when you do feel you have the right credentials to outshine competitors.

Easy Doesn't Mean Good

Whilst there is no point in entering Awards you are not qualified for, conversely there is no point in entering Awards which are either bogus or where there is a too low threshold to winning. Some Awards are not based on merit but on the Awarding organisation trying to obtain money from you for advertising or a plaque. Whilst they might provide you with a logo you can add to your website, they hold no industry recognition and can actually harm your reputation if you appear to take them too seriously.

There's a Method to It

Like anything of value, Awards are a process and how and what you present in a submission will determine if you make the shortlist. You need to do your research beforehand (look at previous winners, who is on the judging panel), give yourself enough time to prepare and proofread your submission, find supporting evidence and present facts in the most persuasive manner, and finally make sure you submit everything in the correct format and on time.

Be Memorable

Ultimately Awards submissions are about answering questions in a clear and concise way. But they are also about standing out. Judges need to read through lots of entries so make sure you convey your strengths easily (don’t bury them in long essays), provide context and background, and convey your firm’s unique personality and values.

Try and Try Again

If you’ve entered an Award and don’t get anywhere on your first try it can be very easy to decide that Awards are not for you. However, many firms don’t win Awards on their first attempt. Their firm and people are unknown quantities to the judges but in a similar way to Legal Directories, Awards committees often review previous entries to assess a law firm’s growth and development. If a firm can illustrate positive growth, this will sit favourably in the committee’s eyes and increase their chances of making it to the shortlist in future.

How ILFS Can Help

Our experienced team can work with you to develop an awards strategy aligned to your particular international business development needs, goals and resources. We can help you select awards that add value and are ‘winnable’, draft high-quality entries for you, and maximise the associated commercial opportunities. Our service includes:

• Researching and identifying the right Awards for your business objectives
• Help distinguishing between genuine awards and awards that are pay-to-play scams
• Monitoring deadlines and managing the Awards entry process
• Researching Awards, previous entries and results, judges etc to give you the best chance of tailoring a winning entry
• Developing persuasive content for your Award entry, highlighting your key strengths and compiling supporting materials to give your submission validity
• Helping you re-purpose previous award entries, saving you time and effort and getting the maximum return for your efforts.

Alex Kaminsky has been working at ILFS since 2015 where he runs the media buying and support service. With a background as a publisher, commissioning editor and marketeer he helps law firms make the most effective use of their marketing budget through advice on their choice of purchase from the many legal media products available.

This involves creating marketing plans, drafting legal award submissions, buying profiles in legal directories, sponsored articles and display advertising, obtaining price discounts on the above and advising on the marketing messages that are most likely to raise independent firms’ international visibility.

After 13 years with a major UK B2B directory publisher he spent 10 years as an independent editorial, production and marketing consultant before working as a commissioning editor for a range of leading legal publishers including Wolters Kluwer and Thomson Reuters. He graduated from Oxford University with a degree in English Language and Literature.

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While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.
For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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