Courting Law Students | Article

stack of law books on a filing cabinetBefore an ASP made life easy, recruiting law students required almost as much paperwork as the Microsoft trial and was anything but brief.

Stacy Moore, director of attorney employment for Baker Botts LLP, a major law firm in Dallas, Texas, must work closely with the nation’s law schools. In the old days, before the ASP solution, law schools sent a stack of resumes to Moore, who handles on campus recruiting and lateral hiring. Then she had to sort and resort the resumes according to differing criteria to ferret out who the employment committee wanted to interview.

The paper work was daunting. The University of Texas Law School typically sent 200 resumes. Moore had to whittle the number down to 40 candidates. Then she had to repeat the process for 24 other law schools. “I was bombarded with paper,” she says.

Since her desk was never big enough, she’d create piles on the floor. She’d sit on the floor, shuffling papers. She estimates sorting, copying and filing resumes took as much as seven hours. Then, it took her another 500 hours to enter the students’ information into the firm’s database.

After making her selections, Moore had to photocopy the resumes and make a set for each of the five partners who sit on the employee committee. Once the partners made their choices, they brought the piles back to her.

50 Hours Scheduling Interviews

Moore then let the campus recruiter know who Baker Botts wanted to interview. Attorneys interviewed the students on campus. Then the employment committee met again to determine who they wanted to fly to Dallas for a full day of interviews. Scheduling these interviews took another 50 hours.

The goal of this grueling process is to select 35 second year students who will spend six weeks at the firm participating in its summer program, which Moore also supervises. The partners get to watch the students perform in their work setting, so they can render an accurate verdict of who they want as associates the following year. It’s also a chance for them to court the candidates they want.

Outsourcing pieces of this process to an ASP has made the recruiting regimen “easier, faster and more efficient,” judges Moore. Baker Botts uses the On-Campus Interview Plus (OCI+) services of eAttorney, an Atlanta, Georgia ASP. Currently 300 law firms are using the eAttorney programs. Like most ASP solutions, eAttorney standardizes the on-campus recruiting process.

OCI+ automates the entire interview process, making it easy for law schools and law firms to communicate and coordinate registrations and interview schedules. When law students arrive in the fall of their second year, they submit their resumes to eAttorney’s confidential interactive database. Participating law firms have unlimited access to this database.

Compressing The Process To Just An Hour

Many of the fields are required, allowing employers like Moore to sort by them. “I don’t have to print out the resumes or get down on the floor any more,” says the employment executive with a sigh of relief. Now she can sort by grade point average, undergraduate degree or hometown sitting in a comfortable chair in front of her computer. The computerized process takes about an hour, she reports.

Spending long hours at the photocopy machines is also barred. Now, instead of delivering piles of paper to the partners, they attorneys simply access the OCI+ database themselves. They can even vote for their favorite candidates on-line by putting a check mark by their names. The eAttorney system then tallies the results for Moore.

OCI+ lets Moore schedule her interviews with the click of a mouse. Recruiters input their interview notes directly into the database so the law firm has instant feedback. No information has to be redirected.

In addition to increasing efficiency, eAttorney has allowed Moore a better use of her time. Typically, when a law school sent Moore the resumes, she had just 24 hours to determine who the firm wanted to interview on-campus. “I moved pretty quickly through those pieces of paper. “Would I lay down my life that I didn’t miss a terrific candidate? No way,” she says.

Before outsourcing, the most important part of the screening process was meeting the school’s deadline for delivering the interview list by its deadline. She suspects there were times the lawyers didn’t have a great deal of time to carefully address the stacks of papers, either. There were times things moved so fast she sweated the process. Now they have the luxury of more time to study the candidates. “I’ll be more confident about my selections,” she asserts.

Customer Service Makes Outsourcing Work

Moore says the law firm “never hesitated” to outsource this process to its ASP. After the first seven months on the system, there are no strikes, in her opinion. She has never gotten cross with eAttorney’s customer service. Every time she has phoned with a problem, a customer service rep has answered the phone promptly and remained on the line until the situation was resolved. “They aim to please,” she says.

She also likes the fact that “eAttorney is a work in progress.” She believes the ASP listens to her needs and wants to hear her ideas about how to perfect the product.

In addition to saving her time, choosing an ASP has saved the law firm money. Moore believes OCI+ saves the firm $40,000 a year.

Lessons from the Outsourcing Primer:

  • ASPs can automate processes that are heavily dependent on documents.
  • Standardizing a process saves hundreds of hours and dollars.
  • Outsourcing allowed the law firm to spend more time selecting top candidates since it automated the time-consuming details.

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