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A few years ago, as Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker expanded its global size and reach, we launched new recruiting programs. From the start, we knew that Micron System Inc.’s LawCruit, our existing desktop-based recruiting application, would not serve us very well in these new regions and time zones. While LawCruit is used by many of the nation’s law firms, it had not been updated or upgraded at the time to include recent technological advancements (editor’s note: see letter to the editor, below). Looking forward, we felt certain it would not help us reach our new goals. So it was time for a change. We would either purchase a new system or design one in-house. PREPARING FOR THE CHALLENGE Paul Hastings has 15 offices and 950 attorneys, and focuses its firm on corporate, employment, litigation, real estate and tax matters, serving Forutne 500 and Forbes International 500 clients. We have four offices in Asia, three in Europe, and eight in North America. Having worked on a variety of systems, we were aware of many of the pitfalls of existing recruiting software. Our first step was to undertake a year-long review of the recruiting process and its computing needs. While this may sound like an ominous task, it was, in fact, one of the easiest parts of the overall process. We expected the planning stage to last at least a year. The review process was assigned to a seasoned recruiting department administrator, Michele Ward, our attorney recruiting coordinator, who was also a power system user. She was selected because of her comfort and knowledge of database systems and their user-defined characteristics. Ward worked on the project throughout the year, soliciting input from nearly all of the recruiting staff along the way. She outlined the goals and variety of functions needed of a new database system, and began to redefine these goals and functions into “semi-technical” terms that flow like a software program. The end result was a series of workflow processes that framed our needs. The processes included rapid candidate data entry, an online application form, law school system uploads and integration, export for word processing and e-mail, interview scheduling and tracking, export for reporting, multiple office access and functionality, international candidate processing and high volume, reliable operation. Managing recruiting data is far from rocket science, so these processes were very clear and easy to follow for both users and technical staff. As time progressed, she added more detail to these processes. The goal was to fully define all of the system’s functions while addressing all of our anticipated future needs. All of this work was done before contacting the IT department and enlisting its support and input. OFF-THE-SHELF VERSUS IN-HOUSE After completing the Workflow Process Document (WPD), we contacted the IT department and scheduled an initial meeting to discuss our needs. They were pleasantly surprised by the WPD and immediately agreed to help us find the best option. We began by reviewing and fine-tuning the WPD to ensure that we all were on the same page. The next step involved searching for and reviewing off-the-shelf products. This step continued for about three months. After reviewing a wide variety of existing products, including Octago, BrassRing’s namesake software, and an updated version of LawCruit, we elected to pursue in-house design and production. At the time, we were not able to identify any systems that would service our 15 offices and our recruiting programs with efficiency and dependability. The next step was to involve our knowledge management (KM) department and discuss what we could create together in-house. In just one meeting, we determined that we could develop at least 85 percent of the functions that we ultimately desired in just a few months’ time. The best off-the-shelf product would have provided only 50 percent with no real promise of future developments and functionality. So, we held our collective breath and dove in. Little did we know at the time we could design and launch a new system in several months and save considerable time and resources along the way. The end result was our e-Recruiter database system, which launched on Aug. 5, 2003. While we had agreed to keep our meetings to a minimum, the design phase of the project required input from a variety of people to ensure its success. We started by forming a project development team including a KM developer (James File), a recruiting administrator (Ward), a sub-committee of recruiting users, and Project Manager Vanessa Olivacce. File handled all technical design and systems development devoting approximately 85 percent of his time to this project for three months, while working closely with the recruiting administrator in creating all user-defined functionality and systems design. The subcommittee included recruiting staff from a variety of firm offices, all of whom were power users with substantial recruiting experience. Their participation ensured a comprehensive and credible product with full buy-in. Lastly, Olivacce developed a timeline for production and deadlines dedicating a much smaller portion of her overall duties. The team members met in varying combinations throughout the development of e-Recruiter over a three month period. During the design phase we addressed the goals outlined in the original WPD. This document was converted into the e-Recruiter Development Document using VisualStudio .NET, Dreamweaver MX, SQL Server 2000 and Visio 2000, to build the system in three months. REQUIREMENTS � A Web-based application with global access for easy upgrades and maintenance. � Simultaneous, multiple candidate applications and statuses, allowing for tracking a single candidate through separate recruiting processes in separate offices. � Global source assignment, to track the points of entry for multiple recruiting statuses for multiple offices. � Language tracking fields, to record the speaking and writing abilities of candidates from all language backgrounds. � Multiple-office interview scheduling and tracking. � An attorney interface, to provide attorneys access to a customized calendar of candidate interviews and communication history. � Firmwide reporting with export. � Enhanced speed, stability and reliability. The key to success in this critical phase was devoting sufficient resources to the product design. It required the greater majority of File’s time and at least one-third of Ward’s regular work week. Without this strong and consistent commitment, the project would not have been successful. From start to finish, conception to implementation, the project took just shy of a year and a half to complete. However, most of this time was used in a leisurely approach to user preparation. The actual development, testing and implementation were completed in just four months. The project came in at a cost of about $69,100. Not only did we gain a great new global recruiting database system that is used equally by our offices in Asia, Europe and the United States, but we have developed strong ties between the recruiting and KM departments. As a result, the subsequent system development, training design and development, and regular maintenance of e-Recruiter have been quite easy and virtually meeting-free. James File is a knowledge management developer ([email protected]) and Anton Mack is managing director of attorney recruiting ([email protected]) at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, both based in Los Angeles. Letter to the Editor Dear Editor, I read Building Our Own Software by James File and Anton Mack in the January 2005 edition of Law Technology News. The article was well written and made a number of points with which I agree. The article starts off with comments about LawCruit that are valid. In 2003 an investor group purchased Micron Systems, because it saw that LawCruit had a large client base and outdated technology. Since the acquisition, Micron has spent more than $800,000 developing LawCruitWeb and updating Micron’s technology. Micron now offers state-of-the-art, browser-based software to the legal community. We have more than 50 software developers who continuously update Micron’s products, add new features, and respond to users’ requests. Since LawCruitWeb’s release in the late fall of 2003, the response to the software has been overwhelming. Five of the top 10 law firms have purchased LawCruitWeb, and orders for LawCruitWeb continue to arrive at a blistering pace. For example, in a recent month, more than 30 law firms purchased LawCruitWeb. Firms are buying LawCruitWeb because it automates the entire recruiting and applicant-tracking process, it is available at a very reasonable price, it is very easy to use, and it is effective for global, large, multi-office firms and small law firms with a single office. Moreover, LawCruitWeb can be installed locally on a law firm’s servers or provided by Micron Systems Inc. as an ASP-delivered application. For those interested in learning more about LawCruitWeb or seeing a demo, we recommend talking to our clients and contacting us. David E. Wit Co-CEO Micron Systems Inc.

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