Marketers Laugh at "Super Lawyers"

Super lawyers "Super Lawyers" was the topic at my table at lunch yesterday at the "Strategic Marketing for the Modern Law Firm" conference in Chicago sponsored by the Ark Group.  A group of marketing directors were snickering at preposterousness of the Super Lawyers directory.

"They sent us a letter that three of our lawyers had been chosen," said the director of a prominent Ohio law firm.  "One was retired and another was dead."  So much for their rigorous selection criteria.  "So I called up and said I wanted three different lawyers in the directory.  They said 'OK.'"  Again, so much for their rigorous selection criteria.

"That's nothing," said another marketer at the table.  "Three of our partners were upset that they weren't selected.  So I phoned Super Lawyers and they added them.  Of course we had to buy some advertising."

The marketers laughed, and then sighed about how easily the lawyers were fooled.  All it took was one shot at their egos and the were ready to pay money to be in a meaningless directory.  I remarked that research shows that only blue collar workers are impressed by the Super Lawyers designation -- not corporate execs, GCs or referring lawyers. I've never seen a Super Lawyers listing in the office of any corporate leader who hired lawyers.

When I am advising a law firm on marketing, and see that they've put their Super Lawyers selection on their Web site or in a press release, I recommend they immediately remove them.  They are embarrassing themselves.  They are advertising to the world that the only ranking they can get into is one that sells advertising. They are announcing how insecure they are that their ego needs to be propped up with apparent praise.

Most law firm marketers know to steer their firms away from this claptrap.  But a new sucker is christened with a J.D. every day.

Trackbacks (2) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL
Legal Marketing Blog - September 25, 2006 2:07 PM
Readers of this blog know that I have been critical of the New Jersey Committee on Lawyer Advertisings recent ruling that prohibits lawyers from touting their being listed in either Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America&...
Larry Bodine Law Marketing Blog - October 30, 2007 6:11 AM
In a scathing review of the Super Lawyers directory, Karen Donovan said the ranking is "the cheesiest example of this phenomenon" in her article on I've been saying this for years, see Marketers Laugh at "Super Lawyers&quo...
Comments (7) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Thom Singer - September 14, 2006 9:50 AM

I know of one state wide publication whose first edition of a "Super Lawyers" publication was so wildly successful (in ad sales to the magazine) that the staff popped expensive champagne and laughed about how easy it is to sell vanity ads to law firms. They continue to make more with that one annual publication than any other they do all year. They call it the "easy money edition". I doubt that firms will ever learn, cuz even ones who know better fear that if they do not do an add it make them look bad to their peers.

KP - September 14, 2006 10:09 AM

Has anyone ever heard of "Best Lawyers in America"? Are they the same kind of deal?

Nathan Burke - September 14, 2006 1:04 PM

SuperLawyers? Who needs SuperLawyers when you can call yourself an Adequate Attorney? I think the Adequate Attorney awards is much more prestigious.

panasianbiz - September 18, 2006 10:15 AM

I was absolutely astounded when I read this post--first, because I'd never heard of the Super Lawyers Directory, and second, because I would have thought that designation meant something. Now I realize it is just a marketing scam appealing to vanity, not talent. I am so glad I read this post and got "educated" about this!

M. Farris - September 22, 2006 11:42 AM

This article made me gleefully giggle at the memory of a preening past boss who framed every super lawyer "award" he bought - and the funniest part is that he would use a 10 year old photo that was the lawyers' version of a glamour shot. Of course, his client base WAS blue collar workers, so maybe it was useful for him - but vain as well.

Ben Glass - September 22, 2006 12:48 PM

Now we are being pitched by Newbridge Media for something called "Ten Leaders." They sent it on fine paper (so I guess it must be better, right?), but at least they are upfront with all of the marketing costs associated with this "honor." They've got something called but for the life of me I can't figure out how it differs from Super Lawyers.

Stephen Clark - February 5, 2008 12:44 PM

Thank you for posting my response, Mr. Bodine.

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