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BOSTON-Law firms are adding podcasts to their recruiting arsenal in the war for legal talent. Boston’s Goulston & Storrs and Cleveland’s Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff started recruiting-related podcasts in the past month. Philadelphia’s Pepper Hamilton plans to launch a podcasting center linked to its Web site this fall. Podcasting is distributing audio or video files to devices such as Apple Computer Inc.’s iPod portable device for access at the user’s convenience. Students want to get as close to the source as possible when they’re evaluating firms, said Doug Husid, co-managing director of 185-lawyer Goulston. “When they’re listening to their peers and colleagues, it’s a more powerful message,” Husid said. Goulston used this year’s summer associates as a focus group to sound out what kinds of things they wanted to know but were uncomfortable asking during the recruiting process, said Jen Smith, the firm’s legal recruitment coordinator. The firm settled on 16 podcasts, ranging from 40 seconds to a little more than two minutes with such titles as: “How does work get allocated? Could I get stuck doing work for only one partner?”; “Can you have a life outside of Goulston & Storrs?”; and “How does the Goulston compensation system impact an associate’s work?” In August, Benesch Friedlander added “Summer Associates Speak Out!,” a roundtable with several of the firm’s summer associates. The firm said 299 podcasts were downloaded from its site in August, which includes offerings on such topics as doing business in China, electronic document discovery and retention, and issues facing entrepreneurs. The ‘cutting edge’ Larger firms are interested in the best students and podcasting is a clever and convenient way to help students get acquainted with the firm, said Mark Avsec, an intellectual property attorney at the 125-lawyer firm. Since Avsec is also a musician and music producer, he’s able to produce the podcasts in about three to four hours for a few hundred dollars each, including studio time. “You get more of a flavor of if you think this is a good firm for you,” Avsec said. “It’s a multimedia way of experiencing it, rather than just a two-dimensional way.” Five years ago, 400-lawyer Pepper Hamilton kept pace with its competitors by enhancing its Web site. Podcasting is the next wave of technology, said director of recruiting Meg Urbanski. “It’s just one more way to reach that very savvy consumer-the newest lawyers,” Urbanski said. The firm plans to use testimonials to attract law students and lateral hires to the firm, and produces podcasts on substantive legal topics as a resource for current and prospective clients. In an “exceptionally hot” marketplace for law students and laterals, the podcasts help the firm stand out, Urbanski said. “It sends the message that Pepper is progressive, Pepper is cutting edge,” she said. “There’s a dual message of reaching them and conveying a message of being on the forefront of technology.”

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