As submission season begins to blossom, we caught up with longstanding Chambers Global editor, Ed Shum, to find out a few key pointers to help Israeli law firms through the season.
What is new at Chambers? Are there any new practice areas to be introduced regarding Israel?
Ed: As far as Israel is concerned, we are keeping the practice areas we had before. This included expanding and splitting out the TMT and Transportation sections last year.
At 15 practice areas we are at the upper end of any jurisdiction, although we will consider further expansion moving forwards.
Are there any new changes to the submission template or requirements from law firms?
Ed: The submission upload system has been updated, and firms are now expected to correct referee uploads at the point of sending. If there are any errors, firms should factor that in when setting aside time for uploading!
How important is the submission process?
Ed: The submission process is very important. It is the ‘voice’ of the firm – as we do not primarily aim to speak to lawyers about their own firms when we get them on the telephone. The submission provides context by telling us exactly what the firm is doing. This context can help make client and peer feedback much more meaningful. While we occasionally do seek other sources of information, the submission is the main source of factual information about the team and its work.
What is a good number of matters to include? Can we include matters outside the time frame? How do you view publishable and confidential matters in decision-making?
Ed: 20. No more. More has no benefits, and can serve to create a less focused submission. Aim for matters in the year up to the date of the submission – there is some flexibility (to ensure there are no gaps), but ideally we would prefer not to have older matters. Publishable matters and confidential matters are treated equally for the purpose of research.
What kind of work do you consider to be complex or innovative?
Ed: What is innovative or complex will depend mostly on context and the market will have an opinion on this too.
Whether litigation or project finance, there are some areas where matters are ongoing for quite some time. How important is it to show you new instructions?
Ed: New vs ongoing isn’t critical as the market will know whether a continuing matter is important and impressive. That’s the key.
What type of referees make the most useful referees for your researchers?
Ed: Useful referees are contactable and helpful! They should generally be open, and whether answering by telephone or e-mail, should share their knowledge and opinions freely. Ideally, they will know more than one firm, so they will be discerning purchasers of legal services!.
If we provide 20 referees, do all of them get contacted? We are concerned with referee fatigue – do you have a policy in place to help avoid that or what would you recommend?
Ed: We aim to contact all referees, time permitting. We have systems to avoid over-contacting clients, and can talk to clients about multiple matters in one go, rather than multiple calls. There are logistical challenges, but we have evolved systems to cover all reasonable situations – to maximise feedback while minimising fatigue.
With Jewish holidays quite frequent at this time of year, how rigorous are the deadlines?
Ed: Deadlines are rigorous, but we would rather have a slightly late submission than no submission. No explicit deadline extensions will be given, so firms simply have to gauge the risks of a late submission themselves. All late submissions are in a ‘queue’, and we process them time permitting. Holidays are a concern – but we treat all firms equally in this respect.
Will an interview help me climb the rankings?  What do your researchers hope to get from an interview?
Ed: Interviews do not directly help a firm climb the rankings. We seek interviews to get a better understanding of the market and to garner feedback on the rest of the market. Lawyers have an interest in giving us their views on the market, but they cannot ‘talk themselves’ to a better ranking, per se.
Lastly, Ed, what would be your number one tip?
Ed: Follow the process (including factoring in time well in advance) and closely follow advice on how to take part and your firm will be maximising its chances.