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When Howrey Simon Arnold & White revamped its summer associate program in 2001, our firm management realized that we needed not only a new and dedicated Web site to highlight the program but also a new online application process. We are an international law firm with four offices in California, as well as offices in Washington, D.C., Houston, Chicago, London, Brussels, and Amsterdam. (We also have an affiliated company, the CapAnalysis Group.) We focus on three practice areas: antitrust, intellectual property, and global litigation. Our “Howrey Bootcamp” summer program doesn’t follow the traditional law firm summer agenda. It is a concise five-week program, which includes an intensive two-week trial advocacy simulation for all summer associates. Since the inception of Bootcamp, our summer recruiting has evolved into an entirely online process, with on-campus and in-office interviews being granted only after the completion of an online application and the submission, online, of a set of application documents. Any initial worry that students might find this extra step a turnoff was unfounded. We have found that students embrace the smoothness of our online application process, where they can return for updates on their status as often as they like. Indeed, www.howreybootcamp.com stands on its own now, instead of playing a minor role in the firm’s main Web site. It is devoted to every facet of the summer associate experience, including a day-by-day description of the two-week trial clinic, the linchpin of our Bootcamp experience, and links to the program instructors and team coaches as well as to former participants. In the middle of the Bootcamp “online experience” is the all-important application link to apply to Bootcamp. TIME FOR A MAKEOVER In early 2004, we decided it was time for a makeover. A new look and feel was in order, a revamp to reflect input from our student applicants. After all, they are our target audience. Our in-house team included other members of our recruiting staff, Teresa Janezeck (Los Angeles), Janet Monell (Houston), Terry Ruggiero (Chicago), and Leslie Weipert (D.C.). The IT department’s main representative was Frank Rathgeber, and hiring partners Joanne Caruso (Los Angeles) and Richard Ripley (D.C.) rounded out our group. In order to design a Web site that would attract the types of students who excel at Howrey, we decided to work with consultants who have a track record in other areas of marketing and design for the firm. Much of the work was handled in-house, and we also contracted with consultants from the Washington metropolitan area, including J Street Consulting (for planning), Sugaimunson (for copy and design work), and Westland Printers (to handle our printing needs). For multimedia assistance we turned to Lone Media, of Tenafly, N.J. Our outside consulting fees ran about $35,000 for the project, not including travel. The outside consultants were invaluable. J Street Consulting conducted extensive research, identifying our target audience and how best to reach and hold them through their Web visit. Our consultants helped us conduct anonymous surveys, querying students who had applied for Bootcamp about both the positives and negatives of the program. They also held focus groups with former Bootcamp participants, many of whom are now associates at the firm. The next step was to organize the research (which included four years of our own historical data) for our expanded Web makeover team, which included chief marketing officer Mary Young, creative director Christina Goldschmidt, and marketing coordinator Kelly Rash. NATURAL-BORN LITIGATORS Soon, our new Web site began to take shape. Our objective in creating an exciting new Web site was to have each student’s visit be memorable and even fun. So we developed an online quiz for students to find out their litigation potential. The decision to add the “Are You a Natural Born Litigator?” quiz was twofold. First, it’s fun and shows Howrey’s light-hearted side. It also helps us to tell students, on a serious note, why our summer program fits their personality and career goals by providing them with feedback based on their answers. The quiz, an important design element of our site, uses flash media technology, and for this we had to go outside our IT resources at Howrey. IT consultant BMF Designs, of St. Petersburg, Fla., helped us create the quiz and integrate it into the design of the Web site. This was a cost-effective and humorous way of enhancing the Web site. The other elements of the site were created internally by our Web team. We had frequent brainstorming sessions and created a style guide for the Web team to use as they developed the navigational links to each part of the Web site. The Bootcamp logo, a mainstay of the site, is featured prominently on every page of the Web site. Consistency in using the logo ensures continuity in name recognition of the face-lifted Web site. How do we make sure that students know about our Bootcamp recruiting Web site? The research we conducted gave us many helpful suggestions. There is now a direct link to our application on several law school Web sites; we promote the Web site address to students from the early days of our contact with them; we encourage law schools to have students visit and apply; and of course, word of mouth, the all-important “buzz” of student referrals, still has huge impact. We have seen expected and unexpected benefits from this collaborative creative makeover process: •�The Web site attracts a new generation of tech-savvy law students. •�We have reached out to schools that, traditionally, we would not have had the resources to visit. Our diversity in schools and students has increased, as have total applications for our summer program. •�The paper flow of r�sum�s, transcripts, and writing samples has drastically decreased. •�The hiring committee has immediate access to a student’s information as “wired” conference rooms allow us to display applications and associated materials at each committee meeting simultaneously, no matter the member’s location. Most important, we’ve revamped our Web site based on the wealth of resources from the program’s four-year history and created an interactive Web site that is catching the attention of law students, law schools, and even clients. Janet Brown is manager of recruiting for Howrey Simon Arnold & White’s D.C. office. Rebecca Barrick Grady is the legal recruiting officer. This article originally appeared in Law Technology News , an ALM publication.

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