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The Ultimate Guide to Legal Awards

By November 2, 2021No Comments
legal awards

Practicing law is known as one of the oldest professions in the world, and the industry continues to be very competitive. There are many types of legal awards; some are peer-nominated, others are based on the publication’s research, and some are based solely on merit. Recognization by legal awards gives lawyers and/or the law firm credibility. Yes, the nomination forms can sometimes be time consuming. But it is worth the time invested if the firm or lawyer submitted is selected. You can then use this to create publicity.

At Fort Lauderdale- and Aspen-based public relations agency Durée & Company, we assist our legal clients with drafting award nominations, submitting them and making sure that they are aware of any upcoming legal awards that they may qualify for. Below are some of our tips for navigating legal awards.

1. Research.

There are numerous local, regional and national award opportunities that lawyers can be nominated for. However, make sure to thoroughly research the opportunity and confirm the award’s legitimacy. At Durée & Company, we’ve helped our legal clients vet numerous award opportunities that are not what they seem at surface value. Most prominent awards do not charge to submit a nomination. That’s not true for all, but if an organization is charging to submit a nomination, we make sure to dig deeper to know the outlet in which our clients are submitting. While researching, make note of the awards with approaching deadlines, and make those nomination forms a priority. Some award examples include:

    • Florida Trend Legal Elite

Florida Trend invites all in-state members of the Florida Bar to name attorneys whom they highly regard or would recommend to others. An outside vendor tabulates all ballots, and attorneys scores depend on the number of votes they received. They apply more weight to votes from outside their own firms. For Florida Trend Legal Elite, there is no official nomination form. Attorneys must log in with their Florida Bar number and nominate other attorneys.

    • Daily Business Review Florida Legal Awards

There are a variety of categories for the Florida Legal Awards. They include Attorney of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Distinguished Leaders, Real Estate Transactions, Unsung Heroes, Innovators, On the Rise, and more. For this nomination, there is an online form to fill out, and the questions are in depth. They ask for references, education, past and present employers, previous award recognitions, important cases, and a few personal questions for the nominee about their experience in the legal profession.

    • Daily Business Review Most Effective Lawyers

This is another award opportunity from Daily Business Review. Most Effective Lawyers nominations are categorized by the attorney’s practice area. An attorney must have a significant positive result or win for their client within the past year to qualify. The Florida Legal Awards focus on the attorney as a whole. The Most Effective Lawyers, however, focuses on the attorney’s cases and successes within the past year.

    • South Florida Business & Wealth Legal Awards

This online nomination form typically asks a few broad questions about the lawyer/law firm’s most significant achievements, standout qualities, and how the nominee has impacted the community.

    • South Florida Legal Guide

This online nomination form is very similar to South Florida Business & Wealth Legal Awards. In addition, they require the nominee’s top practice area and Florida Bar ID number.

    • Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is a national award where anyone can nominate an attorney online. There are no in-depth questions. They just require the nominee’s specialty (attorneys can submit up to three practice areas), firm name/address, phone number and the attorney’s email.

    • Super Lawyers

Super Lawyers is another prestigious national award. Attorneys must, however, log in to their account in order to nominate lawyers. No self-nominations allowed.

    • Martindale-Hubbell

This is probably the most in-depth nomination as there are multiple steps required. It requires more than just a standard nomination form. First, an attorney must contact the Customer Support team and requests a peer rating. Then, the attorney who wants to be peer rated must compile a list of at least 18 peer references who are already rated on Tip: have a few more references in case some don’t participate. After compiling the list, attorneys should reach out to their peer references to inform them of an email from Martindale-Hubbell about peer rating. Then, peer references have about two weeks to respond to the email. Martindale-Hubbell will then contact the attorney with either the results of the review or provide the opportunity to submit additional names.

    • Fort Lauderdale Illustrated Top Lawyers

This award is based off an online peer-review survey created from the research of PRS (Professional Research Services). Inclusion in Fort Lauderdale Illustrated’s Top Lawyers is based solely upon one’s standing within their peer group.

2. Review requirements, questions and gather info.

In Florida, most awards require lawyers to be in good standing with the Florida Bar. Many of the nomination forms have similar questions, such as biggest accomplishments, charity involvement, what makes the nominee unique, primary practice areas, and more. Make sure that nominee will to answer all of the required questions and meets the requirements before starting the nomination to avoid wasting time. Some submissions also require a high-res headshot (5×7 in 300 DPI), so be sure to have that photo ready to upload along with the submission.

3. Draft nomination and submit.

Most of the time, it’s easiest to start the nomination by reviewing the attorney’s updated bio and pulling information from there. There will likely be other questions the nominee will need to assist with answering. Be sure to review any written materials that are already on file that could be used as an answer. Double check all questions are answered and any additional required materials are handy. Once everything is final and ready, submit your nomination. Some may require an online form to be completed, and some may require you to email them the nomination. Make sure you read through any FAQs and submit the nomination as required.

4. Monitor for announcements.

Some awards will note the date the honorees will be notified in advance. Others do not, and nominees must lookout for a notification email. All nominees should be sure to occasionally check their junk email folder in case an award confirmation ends up there.

5. Publicize the win.

Many legal awards have an embargo date. This means honorees cannot publicly announce their win until that specific date. Honorees can certainly, however, start drafting materials for the announcement. Have a press release and blog, social media posts, and eblasts ready. Once the embargo is lifted, everything is already final/approved and the announcement can be distributed across all platforms. Be sure to update any online bios to reflect the award win.

At D&Co, we have extensive experience nominating lawyers and law firms in a variety of practice areas for local, regional and national awards. We help clients navigate the submission process and draft strong nominations that put our clients’ best foot forward and give them the best chance of selection. It’s also important to note that these legal awards are in addition to general business awards that other publications offer, such as South Florida Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, South Florida Business & Wealth’s On the Rise, South Florida Business Journal’s Influential Business Women, and many others. If you are looking for assistance with legal awards, or are interested in public relations for your law firm, call 954-723-9350.

About Durée & Company, Inc.

Durée & Company, Inc. is an award-winning, full-service public relations, marketing and special events firm founded in 1999. The firm has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Aspen, Colorado. Durée & Company serves the corporate, agency and nonprofit arenas for local, national and international clients. Services include public relations, social media, marketing, digital marketing, content development, advertising, special events, branding, radio promotions, affiliate marketing and more. Durée & Company clients include well-known names in yachting, business, real estate, hospitality, travel, health and wellness, cannabis and psychedelics, art and culture, fashion, nonprofit organizations, cryptocurrency and technology, legal and professional services. Durée & Company is a member of PR Boutiques International™ (PRBI), an international network of boutique PR firms. To learn more, call 954-723-9350; go to; or Join the social conversation and follow Durée & Company on FacebookInstagramTwitterYouTube and LinkedIn at @DureeCoPR.

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