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harveyspecter993

Making Sense of Lexpert and Chambers

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On Lexpert for instance, how big is the gulf between a most frequently recommended firm, a consistently recommended firm and a repeatedly recommended firm? Are the differences between the categories significant enough that if you were interested in M&A for instance you would be doing yourself a significant disservice by going with a consistently recommended M&A practice over a most frequently recommended one just because you happened to like the people at the former more?

Likewise with Chambers, would a band 1 real estate practice at one firm be vastly superior to that of a band 3 or 4 real estate practice at another firm or are the differences between bands minuscule?

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I think they're relevant, but far from definitive. A Band 1 firm probably has more expertise and does more volume of work than a Band 4 firm in the same area. But is that firm any better than a Band 2 firm? Should that be the basis for where you choose to work? Not necessarily so. 

First of all, know that these rankings are marketing fodder that firms submit to because they know clients and students care about it (practicing lawyers a bit less so). I know at my firm for example, our Business Development department expends significant amounts of time and effort just putting together applications, granting interviews and submitting packages every year to submit to Lexpert, Chambers etc. Takes up months out of their year doing this. 

Second, these rankings don't capture complexity and expertise. I think an issue is that these ranking publications over-index on corporate over litigation, and they over-index on "large deals". A very vanilla capital markets offering for $2 billion or something gets more weight in these rankings than a highly negotiated, super nuanced $150 million acquisition for example. The smaller deal may require better lawyering skills and may even lead to higher billings for the firm, but these things are not captured in the rankings. 

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On 6/10/2019 at 2:49 PM, OzStudent said:

Second, these rankings don't capture complexity and expertise. I think an issue is that these ranking publications over-index on corporate over litigation, and they over-index on "large deals". A very vanilla capital markets offering for $2 billion or something gets more weight in these rankings than a highly negotiated, super nuanced $150 million acquisition for example. The smaller deal may require better lawyering skills and may even lead to higher billings for the firm, but these things are not captured in the rankings. 

The point that deal size does not necessarily equate to complexity is a good one, but it should be kept in mind that this would really only be applicable if you were comparing one deal to another deal in a vacuum (and keeping in mind that rankings are by practice area, so an M&A deal shouldn't necessarily be pitted against a corporate finance deal). As a general matter, a firm ranking in band 4 in Corporate Finance isn't going to get a $2 billion capital markets mandate (or many capital markets mandates at all) in the first place. So if you were to consider where to practice in terms of long-term career development, you would see a greater volume of deals (and by extension, a greater volume of complex deals), a wider range of clients and more people to learn from at a firm that ranks band 1 in corporate finance instead of band 4 in corporate finance.

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23 minutes ago, testcase said:

The point that deal size does not necessarily equate to complexity is a good one, but it should be kept in mind that this would really only be applicable if you were comparing one deal to another deal in a vacuum (and keeping in mind that rankings are by practice area, so an M&A deal shouldn't necessarily be pitted against a corporate finance deal). As a general matter, a firm ranking in band 4 in Corporate Finance isn't going to get a $2 billion capital markets mandate (or many capital markets mandates at all) in the first place. So if you were to consider where to practice in terms of long-term career development, you would see a greater volume of deals (and by extension, a greater volume of complex deals), a wider range of clients and more people to learn from at a firm that ranks band 1 in corporate finance instead of band 4 in corporate finance.

So which of lexpert and chambers is more reliable? For example, Lexpert has Stikeman in its highest category for real estate but chambers only puts stikes in band 2 for that category.

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In terms of OCI, people generally have the best luck by cross-examining their interviewers on their practice group's Lexpert/Chambers ratings.

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4 hours ago, harveyspecter993 said:

So which of lexpert and chambers is more reliable? For example, Lexpert has Stikeman in its highest category for real estate but chambers only puts stikes in band 2 for that category.

I guess all you can conclusively say is that Stikeman has a great real estate team. 

I guess my overall point would be that these rankings are "directionally" useful, but not "definitively" useful. Many times, I don't think any Band 1 firm can definitively call themselves head and shoulders above any other Band 2 firm (save for exceptions like Goodmans Restructuring and Blakes Competition or something like that). However, a Band 1 firm is probably almost always more sophisticated than a Band 4 firm in the same area. Good data point, but it would be smart to do more research to get a better feel. 

If you are really interested in Real Estate for example, you would look at the rankings, but also the Partner profiles on the website to see 1) how many Partners they have as a proxy of how large that practice is at the firm and 2) scroll through their experience to see the type of client roster that they regularly service. 

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14 hours ago, harveyspecter993 said:

So which of lexpert and chambers is more reliable? For example, Lexpert has Stikeman in its highest category for real estate but chambers only puts stikes in band 2 for that category.

Hard to say but I agree with the general sentiment being conveyed here that these rankings are useful but not definitive.

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On 6/11/2019 at 8:33 PM, harveyspecter993 said:

So which of lexpert and chambers is more reliable? For example, Lexpert has Stikeman in its highest category for real estate but chambers only puts stikes in band 2 for that category.

I don't know why people are avoiding answering the question, the answer is obvious. It varies by practice group. If my firm is ranked higher in M&A by Lexpert, then Lexpert rankings are more reliable for M&A; if my firm is ranked higher in litigation by Chambers, Chambers is more reliable for litigation.

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