Chambers and Partners is independently recognised as the leading resource for clients seeking to engage new legal practitioners or benchmark their existing relationships, known for both the independence and the thoroughness of its research and analysis.

Achieving a ranking in the Chambers Europe Guide serves as an independent recognition of a firm or lawyer’s credentials at the elite end of the market, a recognition used by other firms around the world and clients from a range of sectors to help select legal counsel.

What is the research process?

Chambers is open for all and is completely free of charge. To participate in research, firms can upload a submission document, laying out recent work, and a referee spreadsheet, containing clientsand other parties with recent experience working with the firm and its lawyers, who are willing and able to attest to their strengths. You can download the submission and referee spreadsheet templates here, under ‘Submission form’ and ‘Referees form’.

Our research is structured by practice area and by jurisdiction. Research for each section is typically carried out for between 1-3 months, with larger and more complex markets being given the longest research periods.

How do I know which practice area to select?

All practice areas covered in the Chambers Europe Guide, and their respective submission deadlines, can be found on the Chambers Research Schedule. Further details on what is covered within each practice area can be found using our Practice Area Definitions pages or getting in contact with a member of the Chambers EMEA research team.

How do I know which practice area to select?

All practice areas covered in the Chambers Europe Guide, and their respective submission deadlines, can be found on the Chambers Research Schedule. Further details on what is covered within each practice area can be found using our Practice Area Definitions pages or getting in contact with a member of the Chambers EMEA research team.

A ranking decision is almost entirely derived from what a researcher unearths from the submission document and feedback from clients and other participants in the market, including other lawyers, members of the judiciary, governmental figures and law professors.

Decisions are made primarily on client feedback and evidence of high calibre work for the most sophisticated clients. Feedback from other sources is used to provide insight on market profile and an informed view on technical capabilities, though the value of this kind of feedback varies considerably by practice area.

Why send a submission and referee spreadsheet?

Firms and individuals can be and have been ranked without sending in any submission documents and client references – our research generates significant suggestions for firms and individuals that should be included and we can use publicly available information to examine recent activity

However, we would always recommend providing some evidence of a firm’s recent work and putting forward client references. Doing so allows Chambers to gain a deeper understanding of the firm’s recent work in the relevant practice area first-hand, allowing a firm to tell its own story instead of Chambers researchers having to rely on other sources of information. This also allows Chambers to analyse the firm’s recent performance relative to its competitors, putting it in the best position to be considered for ranking among the top-rated firms and lawyers.

What does a submission document contain?

Submissions tell us about the work of individuals at the firm, both those previously ranked and those whom the firm believes should be considered for inclusion in a practice area for the first time.

They attest to the continuing activity of individuals, ensure accuracy of factual information and guard against publication of confidential matters. Work highlights included in the submission can be either publishable or confidential – with publishable work highlights sometimes being used for editorial purposes as a representative work example. The total number of work highlights must not exceed 20 per firm per practice area. However, the firm may choose to adjust the ratio of publishable to confidential matters included; it is not required to submit 10 of each.

Completing a Chambers Submission is the most effective way to pursue or maintain a Chambers Ranking.

The work highlights themselves are the most important facet of the submission document. Simply put, we are looking for examples of the work you are most proud of. This could be a case in which you secured an important outcome for your client, or one involving points of particular legal interest or complexity.

Long-running, fact-heavy trials, and those involving significant monetary values also impress, as do those receiving significant press coverage. Be sure to include details of high-profile opposing counsel as this can help build a picture of your standing in the market. The feedback section provides a good opportunity for a firm to draw our attention to anything it feels we may have overlooked.

How do we deal with confidential issues in the submission?

All confidential information is very clearly delineated in our documents – with dedicated space for barristers to mark work highlights as confidential.

While we would prefer to have the name of the client for corroboration purposes, we do understand that sometimes it’s going to be impossible to do so. If there is a particularly impressive work highlight you want to include, but cannot name the client, please do include as much detail as possible regarding the details and scope of the work and we will work with what we have.

How should I select referees?

The majority of the referees we talk to are instructing solicitors. We find they are best placed to talk in detail about your practice, and their knowledge of the wider market allows them to give a comparative view.

You are welcome to also put forward other barristers (co- or opposing counsel), as well as professional advisers you may have worked with in cases. We ask that the individuals in question have experience working directly with you over the past 12-18 months.

TIP

Make sure referees know that they are being put forward for the research process and that they are both happy and likely to participate.

Your referees do not need to be your client’s most senior point of contact. Sometimes it is worth choosing someone who you think would be more likely to respond and it can be better to pick someone who has seen more of your work up close to provide feedback. It is good to include a variety of referees including both longstanding clients, and those who have started working with you more recently. It is also preferrable for there to be a correlation between the submission work highlights and the client referees put forward. We will not mention specific work highlights to your clients unless they bring them up first

What happens once we’ve uploaded our submission and referees?

We will review your submission during the research period for the section(s) you’ve submitted for, as well as contacting your referees and investigating the firm during our wider market research. We may get in touch with you to set up a call with one of the legal professionals to discuss the market in more depth, but this isn’t a guaranteed or essential part of the research process

What is Chambers’ process for contacting referees?

We reach out once at the start of research and in most cases will send out periodic reminders. Initial contact is via email, offering either a phone call or the opportunity to fill in a written survey. Our questioning is very general, to allow as much room as possible for the referee to provide their view.

We generally ask the client:

  • how the relationship came about
  • what kind of work the barrister(s) did for them
  • for their positive and negative opinions of the practice as a whole and the lawyer(s) individually and repeat this to cover all firms and individuals the client has been referred for.

Many referees are referred for multiple firms or multiple practices within the same firm. When interviewing these clients, all current referrals are on display to the researcher. The researcher will cover all outstanding referrals in one comprehensive interview.

TIP

Prioritise clients with direct, recent experience of working with the team in the relevant practice area.

We typically see better engagement from clients when they’re aware that they have been put forward as referees before the research is underway, so they know to look for an ‘@chambers.com’ email. If clients report that they haven’t heard from Chambers when they were expecting to, then please feel free to report this to the researcher or a member of the research team.

TIP

Check in with the researcher at the beginning of the research period for an estimate of when emails will be sent out.

What steps is Chambers taking to ensure it highlights women lawyers/solicitors

We place diversity and inclusivity at the core of our research processes. Our researchers carry out dedicated calls with women attorneys and younger partners, as well as encouraging all law firms to send in a referee spreadsheet which is gender-balanced. We are taking these steps to broaden the sources we speak with to eventually compile our rankings, so that we broaden the pool of attorneys we hear about and investigate.

These changes had a tangible effect last year, with increases in the number and proportion of women lawyers/ solicitors ranked in the Guide.

Women now comprise 51% of barristers ranked in our Up-and-Coming category

The importance of considering diversity when creating a submission

We strongly encourage firms to complete the sections of the submission focused on Diversity & Inclusion, as well as being mindful of communicating the firms approach to D&I when compiling the text of the submission.

When are rankings released?

Research is carried out over 6 months, running from January to July. Firms that achieve rankings are typically notified of their inclusion shortly after the end of research, with the full rankings released 10 in mid-October.

1 Masimize your referee fedback

Referees do not have to all be clients, if this is not possible or practical for you. We also understand that in some more sensitive areas, such as criminal defence or personal injury, you may not be able to put us in touch with any clients at all. You are welcome to also put forward other lawyers, including barristers or even fellow solicitors, as well as professional advisers you have worked with recently on matters. Examples of third party referees we regularly speak with include insolvency practitioners, forensic accountants and legal professionals in other jurisdictions. All we ask is that the individuals in questions still have experience working directly with the team over the past 12-18 months.

2 Choose yout referees carefully

Referees do not have to all be clients, if this is not possible or practical for you. We also understand that in some more sensitive areas, such as criminal defence or personal injury, you may not be able to put us in touch with any clients at all. You are welcome to also put forward other lawyers, including barristers or even fellow solicitors, as well as professional advisers you have worked with recently on matters. Examples of third party referees we regularly speak with include insolvency practitioners, forensic accountants and legal professionals in other jurisdictions. All we ask is that the individuals in questions still have experience working directly with the team over the past 12-18 months.

3 Be as specific about your works az you can

On each submission you can provide up to 20 work highlights demonstrating your recent activity in the practice area or sector at hand. These can be publishable or non-publishable in whatever proportion you prefer, as long as they do not exceed 20 in total. The most useful work highlights for us are ones that give us information about a specific deal or case, as well as details such as a client name and full matter value where possible.

Consider this when you are deciding which matters to include and whether they ought to be included as publishable or nonpublishable. If including a work highlight in the non-publishable section allows you to give us more specific information, we recommend doing so. Nothing marked confidential on a submission will ever be used by us for anything other than internal ranking purposes. On the other hand, if you are really not able to tell us anything at all about a case, this might be one to consider leaving out.

4 But don’t overdo the matter description

Although we ideally need certain details, such as matter values and client names, brevity and clarity are key when describing the work itself. A short summary including the current status of the matter, any novel features and why it was important to the client will provide everything we need. Some matters may require a longer description, but you don’t want your standout points to be lost through information overload. Some other key areas of information to fill in are specifically called for in the submissions form, including which partners were involved, cross border elements and the other firms advising on the matters. These provide vital context to your submission

5 Showcase your wider team

If aiming for a firm ranking, don’t allow your submissions to be dominated by one individual. Make sure to highlight up-andcoming partners and associates. Give them the opportunity to put forward clients on your referee spreadsheet and include their names on your work highlights. This can make a huge difference when assessing bench strength and deciding whether a department should be ranked or just an individual lawyer

6 Get tips and advice from the chambers team

Please head to our dedicated page for 2023 submissions where you will find helpful resources to equip you to prepare for successful submissions.

This page offers a simple way to find the answers to your questions around submissions, watch ‘How-to’ webinars and download our Chambers Submissions Kit, a useful resource with all you need to know around submissions.

Click here to learn more