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Editorial: Reflections on This Year’s DOTY Submissions

Editorial: Reflections on This Year’s DOTY Submissions

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Whew! Managing the CEE Deal(s) of the Year submission process isn’t easy – and it’s getting tougher every year. But the arduous first stage of the process – collecting and organizing the submissions, creating the ballots, and transmitting them to the various shortlist panels – is over, and I now have a total of two whole weeks to focus on other things before the completed ballots will be returned to me and I will need to calculate the results, create the shortlist ballots, and send them out to the Final Selection Committee.

Indeed, we received a record 288 eligible submissions this year, from a record 22 jurisdictions, including an amazing 31 submissions from Poland and 29 from both the Czech Republic and Romania. There were also a surprising 9 submissions from Moldova, and while I’m not sure what exactly that means for that small country tucked between Romania and Ukraine, it has to be good, right?

One thing I was struck by, however, in reviewing the submissions and trying to prepare the ballots, is how few of the submissions followed the simple preparation guidelines, and I thought I’d address that quickly.

First, we asked for simple names of deals for listing on the ballot – things like “X’s Acquisition of Y.” We provided examples. Nonetheless, the vast majority of firms making submissions failed to understand this simple instruction, instead choosing to describe their deals as “Law Firm X advised on the largest deal in Country Y” or even something like “Project Magenta.”

We asked for all parties to be identified – and firms ignored that request. Firms also ignored the request that all law firms be identified – or identified non-law firms or simply suggested “all information in description below,” while still failing to include that information.

Those few – very few – firms that managed to fill out the (come on, let’s be honest, remarkably simple) submission forms accurately, efficiently, and appropriately deserve some commendation. And, needless to say, my thanks. If your firm is one that made submissions, I recommend you go back and look at them to see if you followed the simple instructions. Chances are you didn’t. But if you did – you have my gratitude.

And I’ll be honest – we made some mistakes ourselves as well. The 200-word limit for deal description was too restrictive, and it will be expanded next year. And despite my best efforts to balance the need for simplicity in the instructions and submission template with the need to be clear about exactly what information we’re looking for and why, it’s possible I didn’t always get it exactly right. I’ll reconsider and redraft it next year.

Still, ultimately, this once again demonstrates the true value of professional, English-speaking, informed, and aware law firm marketing experts. There are fewer of the best than you might think, and those firms fortunate enough to have genuinely excellent marketing experts should hold on to them tightly. Lawyers in CEE may not always recognize the significance of everything they do, and of how well they do it, but we do, trust us. And those law firm marketing experts that understand what we are trying to do – not just in the CEE Deal of the Year Awards, but across the board, with the CEELM website, magazine, and events – and understand how to get us what we need, simply, accurately, and quickly, so that we can get what we need to do done, are worth their weight in gold.

So to those rare law firm marketing experts who sent us completely accurate and well-prepared submissions – and to those partners who were personally involved in preparing the submissions as well, of course – thank you. To everyone else, no worries, I managed to get almost all the information I needed, eventually, but next year, maybe … follow the instructions?

Either way, and to all firms submitting deals for consideration, good luck! We hope to see you all at this year’s DOTY Awards Banquet in London!

This Article was originally published in Issue 7.1 of the CEE Legal Matters Magazine. If you would like to receive a hard copy of the magazine, you can subscribe here.