"Super Lawyers" was the topic at my table at lunch yesterday at the "Strategic Marketing for the Modern Law Firm” conference in Chicago sponsored by the Ark Group. A group of marketing directors were snickering at preposterousness of the Super Lawyers directory.
"They sent us a letter that three of our lawyers had been chosen," said the director of a prominent Ohio law firm. "One was retired and another was dead." So much for their rigorous selection criteria. "So I called up and said I wanted three different lawyers in the directory. They said 'OK.'" Again, so much for their rigorous selection criteria.
"That's nothing," said another marketer at the table. "Three of our partners were upset that they weren't selected. So I phoned Super Lawyers and they added them. Of course we had to buy some advertising."
The marketers laughed, and then sighed about how easily the lawyers were fooled. All it took was one shot at their egos and the were ready to pay money to be in a meaningless directory. I remarked that research shows that only blue collar workers are impressed by the Super Lawyers designation -- not corporate execs, GCs or referring lawyers. I've never seen a Super Lawyers listing in the office of any corporate leader who hired lawyers.
When I am advising a law firm on marketing, and see that they've put their Super Lawyers selection on their Web site or in a press release, I recommend they immediately remove them. They are embarrassing themselves. They are advertising to the world that the only ranking they can get into is one that sells advertising. They are announcing how insecure they are that their ego needs to be propped up with apparent praise.
Most law firm marketers know to steer their firms away from this claptrap. But a new sucker is christened with a J.D. every day.