While certain awards may appear impressive at face value, they are not always indicative of an attorney’s skill, effectiveness, or commitment to their clients.
Some awards are not merit-based but rather purchased or result from participation in a pay-to-play scheme, diminishing their credibility and value. Additionally, some organizations that offer these awards aren’t highly regarded or don’t have a rigorous selection process, making the accolades less meaningful.
Don’t get me wrong, it does feel good to be considered for and to win awards, but some just aren’t that important to me.
Paying for Plaques
One of the issues facing reputable law firms across the U.S. is whether the award is given so that you will pay hundreds of dollars for a plaque or thousands of dollars for an insert in their publication..
Winning an award can be a prestigious and humbling experience. It can also feel a little like a scam if it’s not coming from a reputable body or one of which the attorney is familiar.
I’ve won many awards over the years, including Super Lawyers, Corporate International, Global Law Experts, Foreclosure Defense Law Firm of the Year in Illinois, the 2023 Midwest’s Top Rated Lawyers from the National Law Journal, and more.
The problem is the plaques. Some of these award issuers are looking for $175 or more per plaque. Others want to publish articles about the firm for an additional fee.
I’m not interested in buying my way to the top. Having an international reputation is irrelevant to my Northshore clients.
A Hyper-Local Focus on Illinois
Minchella & Associates puts the focus on local clients. This hyper-local focus means most awards aren’t important to me, even if they’re real. Measuring the value of a law firm in plaques is unrealistic and could be misleading.
Super Lawyers and Leading Lawyers are two awards I do value. These are local awards in Illinois. They show support from attorneys who know of my work and respect the job I do. It’s an honor to be appreciated by peers knowledgeable in the Illinois foreclosure and real estate transaction and litigation sector.
I’m known for teaching as well as practicing law. It’s rewarding to be recognized for these and other local accomplishments like my work with:
- The Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association
- The Illinois State Bar Association, Real Estate Section Council
- Association of Foreclosure and Consumer Protection Lawyers
- Columnist for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
Building Trust, Not Collecting Trophies
To me, the greatest reward is not in plaques or certificates, but in the trust and respect of our clients, colleagues, and the Illinois community we serve.
The focus is not on gaining accolades but on delivering quality, ethical, and robust legal services to those who need it. Indeed, awards can serve as external recognition of a job well done, but they are not the ultimate measure of a successful legal practice. The satisfaction of our clients, the respect of our peers, and the positive impact we make on our local community speak volumes about our commitment and dedication, not the plaques I put on my shelves.
These are the “awards” that genuinely matter, the ones that cannot be bought or negotiated for, but earned through hard work, integrity, and an unwavering commitment to service.