As sure as night follows day, solicitors, barristers and law firms greet the release of the latest league table with the odd dollop of false humility
Two of the biggest feeding frenzies in the British legal profession involve the publication of league table directories.
At the gala events to release both the Legal 500 and the Chambers & Partners directories, lawyers prowl aggressively — like lions circling buffalo at a watering hole — around large tables of books.
Once given the unveiling signal, they invoke sharp elbows, leaping over each other in a scrum for a copy — and then tear through hundreds of pages to check whether they are up, down or in at all.
The advent of social media has added a fresh twist to this undignified bonanza of self-glorification — the humble tweet. This involves individual lawyers, law firms and chambers taking to the Twitter to proclaim: “Oh gosh, well I never expected that … am/are I/we really that good?”
Yesterday’s publication of the 500 has not disappointed.
DAC Beachcroft public law specialist associate Eleanor Tunnicliffe — who also describes herself as a “Labour activist” — provides the archetypal example:
Delighted to be recommended in Legal 500 🙂 for providing "wise and helpful advice" and having ahem "encyclopaedic knowledge". No pressure.
— Eleanor Tunnicliffe (@ejtunnicliffe) October 2, 2014
Another comes from family law barrister Lucy Reed of St John’s Chambers in Bristol — can they really be talking about me …?!!!
Quietly astute and able. Not sure they are actually talking about me but pleased to be ranked as a leading junior by…http://t.co/lYvS9KlGw7
— Lucy Reed (@Familoo) October 1, 2014
Helen Neville, a medical negligence solicitor at Wales-based law firm Hugh James — whose Twitter profile makes a point of naming her fiancé (sorry lads) — takes a jolly hockey sticks approach to humble bragging for the whole firm:
— Helen Neville (@LawyerHelenN) October 2, 2014
And magic circle players are by no means exempt from a little bit of humble trumpet blowing:
RT @JR_Legal500: The firm with the most leading individuals this year is Allen & Overy, followed by Linklaters and Clifford Chance. Well…
— Allen & Overy (@AllenOvery) October 1, 2014
11 Kings Bench Walk employment and discrimination law barrister Harini Iyengar adopts the world-weary approach:
After 15 years, finally I've got named in the #legal500 🙂 'She provides high-quality advice, and is genuinely interested in her clients.'
— Harini Iyengar (@Harini_Iyengar) October 2, 2014
Then there are those that wheel in family members to humble-brag on their behalf. First up, Gillian Stern, who is very proud of her hubby: (Stern’s main tweet was deleted after our story was first published, but the Legal Cheek art desk has produced this handy recontruction to assist current readers.)
Followed by Susan Stephens, who is gushing over her daughter:
Excuse this moment of maternal pride as elder daughter makes UK's top Legal 500 again for 4th year running \o/ Hip Hip Hooray!!!
— Susan Stephens (@Susan_Stephens) October 2, 2014
However, both tweets fail to let the wider cyber-universe know the names of the lawyers themselves.
Moving on, we have something a little more ominous. Barrister Peter Glenser from 9 Bedford Row promotes his “short and sweet” Legal 500 recommendation … in firearms law.
My Legal 500 quote: ‘Extremely knowledgeable in firearm licensing; not afraid of fighting tricky cases.’ Short and sweet.
— Peter Glenser (@PeterGlenser) October 1, 2014
Glenser’s Twitter profile confirms everything we suspected the bar gets up to at the weekend.
And then there’s this moment of pure honesty:
Thomas Connelly – described by #Legal500 as "Thomas Connelly – not found"
— Thomas P Connelly (@LegalCheek_Tom) October 2, 2014
While lawyers have a love-hate relationship with the directories, the poor schmucks in law firm and chambers marketing departments confine their emotions to hate alone. Whole cadres of staff are devoted to a never-ending round of tedious form-filling and chasing recalcitrant partners for examples of stellar work.
Any legal sector marketing staff keen to make their anonymous views of the process known, please avail yourselves of the Legal Cheek tip line.