Sam Kellett needed to find a business project to earn his Masters of Business Administration degree at the University of Georgia. He wandered across the Athens, Georgia campus to the law school, where he observed what seemed to him an archaic campus recruiting process.
Back then, in 1996, he noticed 600 different employers came to court the second year law students in a hectic three week period. The campus recruiting staff had to book as many as 16,000 interviews in that 21-day time frame.
The prospective employers, on the other hand, had to sort through over 40,000 resumes to find the candidates they wanted. Kellett noticed that the nation’s big firms had to conduct 2,000 interviews during the three week recruiting rush. “It was a logistical nightmare,” he says.
Kellett researched the process at other law schools. One school limited its campus interviews to just 19 employers. When Kellett asked why, he discovered the school only had 19 wooden slots for students to submit resumes.(!)
Since technology was his strong suit, Kellett decided to come up with a software solution. He received an A on the assignment and decided to make his project a reality, becoming an Application Service Provider (ASP) ASAP after graduation. He pleaded his case to some angels who supplied the start-up funds for eAttorney. Today 70 employees work at the ASP.
The entrepreneur worked with the National Association of Law Placement, an influential trade group, which helped recruit 20 of the nation’s top law schools to test eAttorney’s first module, OCI+.† Every law school subscribed to the service after the test.
The Power Of Centralized Data
The Atlanta, Georgia-based ASP launched its recruiting module during the 1999 recruiting season. Kellett says OCI+ already services 60 of the nation’s 182 law schools. (“These are the schools with the most extensive recruiting programs,” he explains.) The ASP’s software is on the docket at 400 law offices of 125 different law firms.
Kellett realized he had to centralize the recruiting data to create the efficiencies that make the ASP model work. So eAttorney maintains all the information on its Web site. Students log in to post their resumes at the site. Law schools communicate with both parties from the site. Law firms log in to search, sort and rank the resumes.
One of the big benefits of the eAttorney recruiting program is that it saves time and travel expense for employing firms. Small firms often don’t have the travel budget to visit dozens of law schools. By signing up with eAttorney, they can interview candidates from coast to coast by letting their fingers do the walking across their keyboards.
But the program saves travel time for large firms, too. These firms recruit at large schools, but may miss a promising candidate who studied at a smaller or second tier law school. Now these big firms can be ubiquitous. A law firm looking for a law review student who speaks Spanish and wants to move to Texas can find the candidate by doing a simple search on eAttorney.
Students Have A Wide Array Of Opportunities
The law schools benefit because the paper chase is over. They no longer need to spend hours faxing resumes to prospective employers.
The students now have access to a larger pool of jobs since they are not limited to finding a job with the firms they interview on campus. With eAttorney they have access to positions across the country.
OCI+ , which automates an attorney’s front and back office, taught eAttorney’s staff how to manage a mission critical application on the Web. “We learned how to be an ASP,” says Kellett.
The founder realized he now had a sizable customer base who was familiar with eAttorney. They had an email address they were used to logging into. So the programmers went to work to develop another suite for lawyers, in a sense making these law students customers for life.
In September the company launched three more modules. The application’s New Controls allow attorneys to organize their information the way they practice law. Before computers were as ubiquitous in law firms as law books, lawyers placed everything they needed to know about a case in a file folder.
But when desktop computers arrived, lawyers were sentenced to putting pertinent information into the appropriate application. Attorneys wrote their briefs in one program. Their contact information went into another. They filled out billing information in a third. There was no way to organize all of this data by client matter.
EAttorney attempts to rectify this. Its programmers integrated its applications so lawyers can find all the data for one case in one central place. Kellett estimates that a task required 20 minutes of an attorney’s time will now take just five minutes using New Controls.
The personal ecommerce section deals with an attorney’s life outside the law. It includes games, music, financial, travel, and aggregated buying, among other things. “We want to be an attorney’s single point of access to the Web,” he adds.
Currently the ASP charges $75 per month per timekeeper, which can be either a paralegal or the billing attorney. A 22 lawyer firm would pay fees of $47,520 over a three year period. EAttorney estimates that if the lawyers decided to match its program in-house, the cost over a three year period would be $311,500. That includes $56,000 for hardware and maintenance and $240,000 for IT consulting and support.
“The only way to achieve this kind of integration is using an ASP,” says Kellett.
Lessons from the Outsourcing Primer:
- Centralization allows attorneys to practice law the old way having everything surrounding one case or client matter in one place.
- The ASP solution allows attorneys to have state of the art software and access to best† practices at a fraction of the cost.
- Outsourcing has made law student recruitment easy, eliminating thousands of sheets of paper and hundreds of wasted hours.
- Using an ASP allows law students and law firms a wider choice of job opportunities.