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ASK THE MAM — DIRECTORIES, DIRECTORIES AND MORE DIRECTORIES

DEAR MAM: There are many attorney directories out there–MH, Best Lawyers, Who’s Who, Chambers, Lawyers Diary and Manual, etc…Using criteria such as how long the publication has been in existence, who receives it, how many people receive it, and how much it costs, which ones would you recommend to use and which ones would you recommend to ignore? SINCERELY YOURS, MD, New York, NY

DEAR MD: This is a question I receive daily. Just yesterday, I returned a solicitation call for a “Best Attorneys”, A “Who’s Who”, and a “Best Lawyers”. No kidding! The “Best Lawyers” was actually a forwarded e-mail from a “winning” attorney asking the same type of questions that you are asking.

Because I’m in a nice mood today, I’ll avoid calling any publication out on the carpet. Like Superman, Supergirl and Superlawyers. However, I usually ask attorneys this question: “Which do you use?” and “Which do your clients use?” The answer is generally neither. Most of these publications are ego-driven, vanity sells that impress two people-yourself and your grandma. Maybe, if you are single, a hot date. But, that is less likely.

Your questions about how long a publication is in existence or who gets it or how much it costs are meaningless to me. I receive lots of books that I never crack. I only care about whether it positively impacts a business development effort. My usual approach at most firms is to keep Martindale (with a pared down listing; I want you to read the full bio at the firm web site); often buy the firm listing in Chambers USA (although they are starting to annoy me, especially by billing me in UK funds); might buy an expanded listing in the rare local rag that is honoring lawyers if the firm is selling legal services to the housewives (and househusbands) that read it (i.e. consumer-driven practices). I do not care about expanded listings, ads, plaques and which publications you bought ad space in. The next GC that tells me he or she has used one of these publications (outside of the aforementioned two) will be the first. I’ve heard MH. Some read Chambers. The rest get play in the attorney’s bio and sometimes in a local press release about it. There is no harm in the freebies.

And do not even get me started on all the online stuff. That makes the publications look legit.

Hope I answered your question. Thanks for writing. Sincerely yours, THE MARKETING ATTORNEY