IN AN unprecedented move, the rankings held by firms nominated in the 2005 Fuji Xerox Australian Law Awards are able to be seen live at the BigPulse voting site linked to www.lawawards.com.au. While the number of votes awarded to each firm are still suppressed, firms are ranked in each award category based on the number of votes they have received.
In the 24 Practice Area Awards, the top-tier firms are already showing their class with Australia’s big six firms dominating the top rankings and only one award, The DG Thompson Driscoll + Matters IP Award, which was being led by IP specialist, and apparent dark horse, firm Choy Lawyers as Lawyers Weekly went to press.
Rankings are changing on a daily basis as in-house counsel and other consumers of legal services flock to the forum and cast their votes. As some firms set up impressive leads in some awards, others are separated by the slimmest of margins. Mallesons Stephen Jaques was leading more Practice Area Awards than any other firm last week.
“Being able to see who is ranked where is bound to spark greater interest in the poll,” said Ralph McKay, founder BigPulse Opinion Markets. “We believe the process is far more democratic if voters are able to see how the rankings currently stand at any given point in time as people are able to tap into others’ opinions as well as redress imbalances if they believe a worthy contender is too far down the chain.”
“Although it’s still akin to calling a winner in a federal election at 6.30pm EST, there’s no doubt some awards will remain in roughly the same order as they currently stand, while others will vary wildly,” said David Hovenden, publisher of Lawyers Weekly and organiser of the Awards.
Registered voters are able to vote as many times as they please, however only their last vote in each award category is counted. Voters are able to select up to three firms in each category.
The Australian Corporate Lawyers Association, which has endorsed the Awards, has been a tremendous driver of votes, with many of its members answering the call to cast their vote. With more than $4000 worth of prizes to be won, the short investment could turn out to produce some handsome awards. Voters are reminded that the more categories they vote in, the more times they will be entered into the prize draw, with each vote counted as a separate entry. Casting a ballot in all 33 awards will result in 33 entries into the draw.
Although interest in who is winning what awards is immense, the organisers of the event will be scrambling the rankings prior to voting closing so that the final winners on the Awards gala dinner in June will still hold some surprises.
Private practice lawyers are reminded that they can still be part of the fun by voting in the nine Premium Awards, said Hovenden, provided that they do not vote for their own firm. Voting is scheduled to close on Monday 16 May.