As the deadline for IFLR1000 2019 looms on 27 April, we round up some key insights to help you prepare as impressive submission as possible for IFLR.
What is new at IFLR? Tell me about the categories – what do you want?
There are no major new changes to the submission template or requirements from law firms but to be taken more seriously, plan to provide up to 20 matters in the categories of:
M&A: M&A transactions, private equity M&A, joint ventures, spin-offs and more.
Capital Markets:
Bond/note issuances, IPOs, secondary offerings, private placements, as well as derivatives and asset-backed securities.
Banking & Finance: Acquisition finance, corporate finance, mezzanine finance, revolving credit, real estate finance, refinancing and debt restructuring.

Project Finance and Project Development:
Infrastructure projects, energy and natural resources projects, PFI/PPP, and BOT projects.
Submission: The Ranking
The primary and secondary factors which feed into the rankings are client feedback and the complexity of the legal work respectively.

Submission: Work highlights
IFLR looks at the quality of the work not the quantity. They suggest 20 deals as a guideline. If a firm is involved in more than 10 significant deals in an area, it should include all those deals. If a firm was only involved in five significant deals, it should not try and bulk up a submission with work that is not relevant.
We look at the merits of each deal in isolation and evaluate its complexity rather than assuming a cross-border deal is more complex than a domestic one.
Historical track record does play a part, if it has been an unusually quiet year, IFLR will look at a three-year view on firms (if need be).

There is no me in Team
As you try to go up in the rankings, one of the assets that characterizes firms in higher tiers is strength in depth – meaning a good raft of senior associates and junior partners – so always a good idea to add 2/3 names to show bench strength, ensure they are on the work highlights and can be described by enthusiastic referees.
Clients – Value and Numbers
Client referees should be able to provide an assessment of a firm’s recent transactional advice (i.e, be commenting on a deal that involved significant legal work by the firm in the 18 months previous to the research commencing).
IFLR evaluates who the client is and the work the client is providing feedback on. If a firm was involved in a complex project financing, a large M&A and a debt restructuring, they would want to speak to the clients involved as we are looking to review how a firm performed on its most challenging deals.
In some cases, the position of the referee has an impact. A good reference from the CEO of Bank Lemui potentially carries more weight than a reference from an associate at a referral law firm. It is not a matter of seniority, it is about how much experience the referee has in their market and with working with law firms there.
IFLR contacts all referees at least once. Initially, we send an email inviting referees to provide feedback over the phone or through our online feedback survey. We then arrange calls those that would prefer to speak over the phone. Those that do not reply to the initial contact either with an email or by completing the survey, will be sent reminders.
Interviews For Clarity
IFLR arranges interviews with partners at the firm when we need clarity or extra information about the matters and general firm developments mentioned in the submission. All financial and corporate lawyers have the opportunity to provide their feedback on the rankings via the IFLR online survey which is available on the research guidelines page of our website.
Top Tip: Focus on what IFLR1000 need from you; spend some time thinking about who your best referees may be and what was particularly innovative or challenging about the highlights submitted.

Key Dates
Submission Deadline: April 27

Please submit these files by emailing the documents to [email protected].
New Rankings Published: November 2018