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Recruiting summer associates can be tough. The competition for the best students from the best schools around the country has only increased as firms have grown — some at exponential rates. At Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, we are vying, just like our competitors, for this small group of top students. But how could we revamp our recruiting materials to help us best compete in the war for talent? Every on-campus recruiting season, the scenes at law schools around the country are the same: career center tables piled high with recruiting brochures jumbled together. It can be hard to stand out from the clutter. But some firms have managed to do it with success. Take Pillsbury Winthrop, for example. With Greenfield/Belser Ltd., a brand design and marketing firm specializing in the legal industry, Pillsbury created a swatch book of “15 Questions” every student should ask before joining a firm. On the back side of each swatch, an associate from Pillsbury answers the question. Not only did the recruiting piece inform about Pillsbury, but the firm heard that students were carrying the 15 questions into other interviews. Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, known for its playful bulldog advertisements, integrated the firm brand into its recruiting brochure, which features lawyers with their canine companions. And Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe created a buzz with the firm’s “Catch a Break” video game on their Web site. There, high-scoring players could e-mail Orrick for prizes that included sweat shirts and T-shirts. But for each one of these memorable recruiting pieces, there are plenty of others that students forget — or simply throw away. From the start, K&L’s goals were clear: • The firm hoped to reach beyond pure recruiting and build a truly informational piece in conjunction with our professional development team. • We looked to convey our commitment to diversity and to point to the recent appointment of Carl Cooper, who we believe is the first management-level chief diversity officer in a national law firm. • The format and shape of the recruiting piece had to be unique enough that students, deluged with brochures from all sorts of firms, would be more likely to hold on to it than to toss it. • Anything we developed needed to maintain — and, if possible, even strengthen — the firm’s existing “Challenge Us” brand and campaign. It had been more than two years since the last time Greenfield/Belser and K&L collaborated on the firm’s recruiting materials. This time, we wanted to give more-specific information about the firm’s professional development program, which is centered about K&L’s Legal Practice Institute, as well as the firm’s nationwide network of offices. In the creative meetings that followed, a number of ideas were bounced around, from handing out luggage tags with the recruiting brochure to mailing materials in a box that would stand out due to its shape and size. But what resonated with all of us was the idea that K&L, with its Legal Practice Institute and national offices, had the recipe for success as a lawyer. From that, the idea of recipe cards developed, 18 in total, focusing on curricula from the institute, such as practice management or client development, and outlining the firm’s cities and clients. With a look and feel similar to flashcards, we thought the cards would have a double-meaning to students. And the unique shape — much different from the standard 8-1/ The cover card, which exhorts recruits to “challenge us to help you become the complete lawyer,” put the “Challenge Us” slogan front and center. The message for diversity appears on the very first wiro-bound card, a purposeful position that shows the importance we put on that subject. Other cards explain K&L’s support system, built by the firm’s recruitment and professional development teams. We let students know they can get tips on running dynamic client meetings, guidance on the exercise of good judgment, and time management tools, for example. The city cards provide the perfect spot for associate quotes about life at K&L and a quick overview of facts and trends, deals and suits, and pro bono work and clients. With the target audience for this recruiting piece consisting mainly of 20-something students, we spent time making sure the content and images were fun and lively. K&L’s much-loved color bar, which appears on every single card, lent us the idea for the bold colors used throughout the piece. We employed red, purple, green, teal — and more. The results from the new campaign began to ring up nearly immediately. Attorney interviewers reported back that a number of students, who had been mailed the recruiting cards at the start of fall, brought the pieces to their interviews. As for the students who accepted our employment offers, the 95 people in our 2004 summer associate class and the 55 that will be starting as our first-year associate class constitute the largest, academically strongest, and most diverse groups in our history. Susan V. Fried is chief officer for recruitment and development at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart LLP, and Jennifer Myers is a copywriter at Greenfield/Belser Ltd., a brand design and marketing firm specializing in the legal industry.

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