By Larry Bodine
Summer Associates Sound Off
To entice the iPod generation, Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff, a 130-lawyer firm in Cleveland and Columbus, is making a novel use of podcasting for recruiting. As part of “The Benesch Beat,” a series of business law podcasts on its Web site, the firm has posted an MP3 recording titled “Summer Associates Speak Out!” Click on the entry at www.bfca.com/docs2/podcasts.aspx and you’ll hear summer associates Rebecca, Calista, Angela and Christian talking about their experiences working at the firm from May to August of this year. Rebecca says she likes trademark law and litigation. Calista learned about corporate and transactional work, noting, “Some law firms are all about wining and dining. I wanted to grow as a young professional and that’s what Benesch has to offer.” Angela says, “What’s really nice about working at Benesch is that you get to apply the things you learned in law school.” And Christian discovered he likes suing people. “I like litigation, the adversarial part. I like to be persuasive as opposed to objective and let someone else decide who’s right or wrong.” This kid will go far in the profession.
No More Cornfields
You wouldn’t drive your car without checking the speedometer. Similarly, you should not have a Web site without regularly checking your traffic statistics. If they indicate that your market might be oblivious to your site, consider these quick fixes. Search engines don’t index graphics, so get any Flash graphics off the home page. Put text there instead. Both search engines and visitors want to see content on the home page. Also, search engines target <title> tags, so be certain that yours contain your major practices and the industries you serve. Many a Web site is like a billboard in a cornfield—hastily built with almost no one looking at it. Don’t let one of those sites be yours.
Avoiding RFPs for Suckers
A lot of RFPs are simply fishing expeditions that result in nothing more than wasted time for the firms that respond to them. How can you tell which ones aren’t worth the effort? Here are red flags. If the company won’t reveal its legal budget, it may mean that the company is losing money, can’t pay its bills and is just kicking tires to attract a lowball bid. Also, if the company won’t answer any questions—such as what it wants to see in the bid, who else is bidding, or who will decide the winner and when that will happen—the RFP is probably wired and you’re just window dressing. And stay clear of online, “reverse auction” RFPs, where bidders keep going lower. Every time there is a bid, the auction remains open another 20 or 15 minutes. (General Electric has been noted for these.)