Client references are a critical component of the research.
Our number one tip here to choose the most effective and the most current/active client referees would be to choose clients who:
- have a good working knowledge of the team and its reputation and have worked with the department over the last 18 months;
- are available, willing and responsive with good enough English to speak for 5-10 minutes on the phone;
- know the team well enough to be able to describe its strengths, some of the lawyers on the matter. Don’t include the busiest CEOs – they will not have the time to speak to the directories. In-house counsel are better as client referees than CEOs because they are more likely to respond, know the law and know your team;
- Don’t limit referees to clients – consider other professionals such as accountants or surveyors. If you get referral work from law firms in other jurisdictions, you may include lawyers from those firms as referees – they are not competing with you and can provide valuable feedback;
- And have given specific permission to be used as referees. Ensure that all clients listed are willing to assist. Tell the clients that the process is confidential and the 5 questions can be answered in 5-10 minutes.
Speak to the client referees:
• to get their approval to include their names;
• to let them know that a directory researcher will be calling/emailing them so they don’t dismiss the contact as cold-calling/spam;
• and to let them know IFLR will contact them in April-May.