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How-to Chambers: Canada FAQs

The Chambers Canada team share the answers to questions asked during the How-to Chambers: Canada webinar, providing details and insights into all things relating to submissions and referees.

Published on 27 January 2022
Written by James Roberts
James Roberts

Changes to sections open to submissions in the Chambers Canada 2023 guide

What changes have been made to sections open to submissions this year?

The following submissions should include a wider range of matters: 

  • Agribusiness: one submission should now incorporate work covering both Agriculture & Food Products and Forestry.
  • Banking & Finance: please provide one submission covering Banking & Finance and Banking and Finance: Financial Services Regulation.
  • Capital Markets: we invite firms to submit separately for this area this year. 
  • Class Actions, Product Liability and Arbitration work should now be included in the submission for Nationwide: Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Please upload only one submission document, however we request that separate referee forms be provided. 
    Firms will have the option to submit separately for arbitration, but this is not required. 
  • The Nationwide: Corporate/M&A submissions should now also include work previously featured on the Private Equity submissions.

Firms will have the option to submit separately for Startups & Emerging Companies, but this is not required. 

  • General Business Law: Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Atlantic Canada. We will no longer be accepting practice area specific submissions for these regions. All work and client references should be submitted under General Business Law. 
  • Employment, Labour & Pensions: Nationwide – this submission should include work previously featured on separate Nationwide Employment and Pensions & Benefits submissions. The format for provincial employment submissions remains unchanged. Please upload only one submission document, however we request that separate referee forms be provided. 
  • Energy: We will no longer be accepting submissions for the Energy: Provincial Regulatory sections. These ranking tables will no longer feature in the guide. 
  • Hospitality and Retail matters should now be included as part of the Real Estate: Nationwide submission. 
  • Insurance: please provide only one submission covering both Transactions & Regulatory and Dispute Resolution. 
  • Intellectual Property: we are no longer accepting separate submissions for IP and IP: Litigation. 
  • Investment Funds: should include both transactions and fund formation work, as previously, as well as work previously included as part of a separate REITs submission. 
  • We have created a new chapter called “Projects & Construction.” Work previously featured on separate Projects: PPP & Infrastructure, Project Finance, Public Procurement and Construction submissions should now all be included here. Please upload only one submission document, however we request that separate referee forms be provided. 
  • Telecoms, Media & Broadcasting: work previously featured on separate Media & Entertainment and Telecommunications & Broadcasting submissions should now be included here together.  
  • Transportation: work and client references for Aviation, Rail & Road and Shipping should all now be included on one submission. 

We continue to accept a maximum of 20 client referees per submission, although for the submissions noted above firms may choose to provide additional referees, with a suggested maximum of 40 per combined submission. Please use our Referee Spreadsheet template, which can be downloaded from our Submissions Guidelines webpage. Please do not alter the format of the template. If you do not wish to fill out a given column, please leave it blank, rather than deleting it. 

Firms may provide additional work highlights for combined submissions, also up to a suggested maximum of 40 matters. 

The changes state that separate referee forms should be provided for the consolidated areas - does that mean we have a maximum of 40 referees total for the different areas or 40 per referee form?

You should provide 20 referees in separate referee forms for all subtables covered by the following combined areas:

  • Projects & Construction
  • Employment, Labour & Pensions
  • Litigation/Dispute Resolution

You should still provide only one referee form for other combined areas (e.g. Telecoms & Media, Transportation).

Can we provide additional work highlights for combined submissions?

Yes, you may provide additional work highlights up to a suggested maximum of 40.

Submissions Guidance for Chambers Canada 2023

If our firm has never been ranked and does not have a Chambers account, how do we begin our process to submit for the first time in this year's chambers submission?

Welcome to the wonderful world of Chambers submissions. The process can seem challenging to navigate without prior experience, but we are keen to make this as accessible and inclusive as possible.

Our website provides guidance on how to complete a submission form and referee spreadsheet, as well as the templates we would encourage you to use. We would also love to speak to anyone new to this process and would welcome any questions you may have. You can get in touch with us at [email protected]

What is the most important part of a submission?

The most important part of a submission is the work highlight section, where the practice group can demonstrate its credentials working for sophisticated clients on some of their most complex and challenging matters.

We would also encourage you to focus on the firm’s description of its own practice and its capabilities and your feedback on our existing coverage, which is invaluable in helping researchers understand the firm, its place in the market and any anomalies in our existing rankings.

Is the diversity section required?

We would strongly encourage firms to complete the diversity statistics section of the submission document, as this provides us with much more useful context for our research – however completing this section is not mandatory. 

In the submission form can you explain why you are asking in section B9 for “current or recent parental leave, significant childcare commitments or other part-time working” information and how this will be used?

The new column we have added to the submission form inviting firms to provide information about employees on parental or health-related leave is to support Chambers’ new leave policy – this covers parental leave, leave required for caring responsibilities as well as health-related absences and ensures that ranked lawyers will remain in the rankings for a set duration -a minimum of one year for health-related absences and secondary caregivers and 2 years for primary caregivers. Full details can be found on

The form in the past has only allowed for 10 publishable and 10 confidential. We can really do 5 and 15?

Yes, as long as the total number of highlights don’t exceed 20, you can split them up as you wish, e.g. 5 publishable matters and 15 confidential ones, instead of 10 of each. Please include all confidential matters in section E. 

Does it disadvantage a firm to submit mostly confidential matters?

We will review all matters included on a submission for ranking purposes, whether listed as confidential or publishable. There is no disadvantage to including mostly confidential matters as long as these are still provided with enough relevant detail for us to be able to thoroughly assess them.  

If we have one lawyer ranked, do we need to submit a complete submission (20 matters/20 referees)?

You can still use the full 20 matters and referees in this situation, but it’s certainly not obligatory to do so. We would also suggest using the B10 section of the submission document to tell us that the submission is just directed at one individual. 

If we consistently have the same lawyers on the list, should we diversify and highlight other lawyers and references that can speak about others on the team to hopefully highlight new lawyers in the rankings?

It is often worthwhile to include more highlights & references of non-ranked lawyers compared to the more established, already ranked lawyers. This is not to say that those who are already ranked need none of their highlights showcased or references put forward, but replacing some of their highlights and/or references with those of others who are yet to be ranked is a good way of potentially boosting the profiles of non-ranked lawyers.  

Do you offer extensions?

Please note that members of the Canada Research Team do not grant formal extensions. However we will accept late submission files, so long as they are uploaded during the relevant research period, although we cannot confirm that we’ll be able to contact all referees for late submissions.

If you are running behind, please prioritise the referee document, and the submission itself can follow later.

Do you interview every submitting firm?

Due to the sheer volume of submissions that we receive, we do not offer an interview to every firm that submits for each practice area, although we do attempt to interview a mix of ranked and unranked firms across all sections. We attempt to interview ranked firms every other year, but in particularly busy sections or busy research months we can’t guarantee the frequency with which a firm will be interviewed. Please rest assured that interviews are only a very small part of the research process and an interview, or lack thereof, has no bearing at all on your own rankings, which continue to be based on a review of your submission and feedback received from your clients and the wider market.

Referee Guidance for the Chambers Canada 2023 guide

Who make the best referees?

The best referees are those that can both offer an informed opinion as to the quality of their lawyers and have the time to speak with us. We thoroughly appreciate and continue to collect feedback from CLOs, GCs and other members of the C-Suite, however these senior professionals often have time constraints which prevent longer calls and will often only have experience with the most senior lawyers.

Instead, it can sometimes be beneficial to refer other referees, including Deputy/Associate GCs or other members of the client organization, who often have greater time available to speak with researchers and who can offer us insights on performance across the breadth of the team staffed on their matters, including junior lawyers.

How do you reach out to referees? What is the new survey?

Initial outreach is conducted over email, with clients offered the option of a telephone call or the ability to provide written feedback.

The referral process is under constant review and clients are increasingly being offered the opportunity to provide feedback via our online survey tool. Initial contact with clients is always made by email.

We have recently launched an enhanced version of our online self-completion tool for client referees to supplement our data collection capabilities. Surveys and automatic reminders are sent to clients and email notifications sent to researchers upon completion. Participants can self-select from a drop-down list of ten languages.

We have been monitoring participation since the launch of the new tool in early September and it is clear already that response rates are experience an uplift as a result.

What happens with referees who have multiple referrals?

When we make contact with a referee, we will ask them about all referring firms they have been put forward to discuss in both the current and previous US research cycles. This is regardless of practice area and location. Our researchers will then make this feedback available to all other relevant researchers using our centralised system for storing referee feedback. 

What do I do if one of my clients says they haven’t been contacted by Chambers?

We completely understand that emails get lost, accidentally deleted or caught up in spam filters, so the most important thing to do is to get in contact with the researcher assigned to the practice area and location you are submitting for (as listed on the research schedule). We’d ask that you collate the names of all the clients who haven’t heard from and their correct email addresses into one email, and send it to the researcher while research is still underway.

We will be happy to follow up, however we will do so in accordance with our own client contacting guidelines. Due to the confidentiality of our interviews, we won’t provide any additional information about whether we have tried to get back in touch with the referee or have been successful in speaking to them, however there would have to be a good reason why we would not follow up with them.

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