Content can do more for your law firm than just marketing. It can take your recruiting efforts to another level.
Today, most law firm owners and marketers know the value of content marketing and thought-leadership marketing content when it comes to their firms’ marketing and business development efforts.
They know how important it is for attorneys to convey knowledge and wisdom about the areas of law they practice to past, current, and prospective clients and referral sources in the form of marketing and business development content.
But what a lot of attorneys and law firms do not know is that they can use content for other purposes beyond marketing. Particularly, recruiting.
Recruiting is an area in which I do not see law firms crafting much content despite how important that area is to all law firms’ growth.
Given how similar most law firms are in terms of compensation and culture, especially Big Law and boutique firms, the firms that create compelling recruitment content could gain an edge over their competitors who have not yet received the memo about the benefits of a recruiting content program.
If your law firm has not yet begun a recruiting content program, or has one and is not quite sure about the direction it is going, here are six ways your firm could use content as part of its recruiting efforts to improve the quantity and quality of the candidates it’s attracting.
Show prospective lateral partners how well your firm integrates and supports lateral partners
If your law firm wants to attract lateral partners, it should create content that answers the questions and assuages the concerns a would-be lateral partner might have about bringing their practice and their book of business to your firm. You and your colleagues likely already know what these questions and concerns are going to be based on previous discussions with prospective lateral partners.
Even if you don’t know what these questions and concerns are, begin conceiving and drafting content that speaks to what you and your colleagues think they would be.
For example, much has been written about the difficulties law firms have faced integrating new lateral partners. Your firm could publish content that highlights successful integrations of lateral partners at your firm.
For those partners concerned about administrative support, you could publish content that shows off the wide range of support your firm provides partners, from paralegal support to marketing and business development support.
If your firm has a good track record of partners cross-selling the firm’s services, create and publish content regarding that track record so prospective lateral partners know your firm has a culture of partners helping to grow each other’s book of business.
Showcase the work of associates to attract law students, judicial clerks, and prospective lateral junior associates
The new and lateral associate candidates looking to make a move to your firm are probably looking for either more hands-on work or control over their practices and careers. Create content that speaks to both.
Spotlight junior associates who are getting more responsibility and hands-on experience than associates with the same seniority at other firms tend to get.
Likewise, show how associates can take control of their practices and careers, such as by being encouraged to develop business or to investigate and build niche practices that could be pillars of your firm for years to come.
Talk about your firm’s homegrown partners to catch the eyes of prospective lateral mid-level and senior associates
I bet the lateral mid-level and senior associate candidates your firm interviews often ask about their partnership prospects should they join your firm. That’s not a surprise. Only the ambitious (which, naturally, makes them the most attractive) lateral associate candidates are going to ask that question.
So why not create content in which your firm’s homegrown partners talk about their experiences, including how your firm lets associates know exactly where they stand regarding partnership prospects and gives them the resources they need to develop and improve those prospects?
Prove your firm is walking the walk with diversity, equity, and inclusion
There’s a high probability that the staff, associates, and partners your firm is courting will be evaluating your firm’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts as they decide whether to have, or to continue having, conversations with you and your colleagues about joining your firm.
Sure, they’ll be interested in learning what your firm is planning on doing regarding DEI, and your firm should continue publishing such content. But consider focusing your firm’s efforts on crafting content that explains the initiatives already in progress and indications that the initiatives are working. Obviously, initiatives that have increased the opportunities at your firm for staff and attorneys of diverse backgrounds to prosper and lead should take priority.
Flaunt the breadth of your firm’s administrative support
Yes, I mentioned administrative support above in connection with prospective lateral partners. But the truth is, your firm can bolster its standing with prospective lateral associates and staff members by highlighting the support the firm provides all its attorneys.
Prospective lateral associates will want to know they will have colleagues they can delegate tasks to that would otherwise take them away from their core legal work. They’ll want to learn about the ways your firm’s paralegals, administrative assistants, tech support personnel, knowledge management team, and marketing and business development departments can help them excel at your firm.
Of course, would-be paralegals, administrative assistants, tech support personnel, knowledge management team members, and marketing and business development department employees may also want to hear about their soon-to-be colleagues.
They may be enthused by the prospect of joining and contributing to a team that is operating at the top of its game as shown by content addressing the work your firm’s administrative teams are doing.
But they might be downright giddy at the prospect of joining a law firm that makes it crystal clear through its content that it knows just how important its administrative teams are to the success of the firm and its attorneys.
Put your firm’s innovation bona fides on display
Law firms are rarely bashful when talking about their innovative practices and cultures. But all too often, the primary place law firms do this talking is in press releases blasted out to the media and then archived on their websites for all of eternity.
If this describes your firm, consider crafting content targeting lateral attorneys and staff members that discusses your firm’s innovative practices and culture. After all, the people attracted to forward-thinking, innovative law firms are likely to be the people you want applying to open positions at your firm.
Tell lateral attorneys and staff that your firm values innovation and creativity by showing examples of how your firm’s attorneys or staff have seized upon the opportunity to innovate and create new practice groups, products, or services. Naturally, your firm will want to talk up the successful new ventures. But there is still value in discussing the ones that were conceived and developed but not commercially successful. That’s because what’s important here is proof that your firm values the ability of its people to think outside the box and to come up with creative solutions for clients’ problems that can boost the firm’s growth.
Take your content beyond marketing
Content is a fantastic marketing and business development tool. Some people would say that in today’s world, it is a mandatory tool. But your firm can put content to good use beyond helping build your attorneys’ books of business.
A strategic content program targeting prospective lateral partners, associates, and staff members can give your ongoing recruiting efforts a boost.
It will help position your firm optimally in the eyes of these audiences as they seek new positions at new employers.
It will help assuage concerns they might have about joining your firm.
And it will help your firm attract ideal job candidates by giving them numerous reasons why your firm should be the next (and last?) place they move to in order to develop their skillsets and careers.
Wayne Pollock, a former Am Law 50 senior litigation associate, is the founder of Copo Strategies, a legal services and communications firm, and the Law Firm Editorial Service, a content strategy and ghostwriting service for lawyers and their law firms. The Law Firm Editorial Service sets free the knowledge and wisdom trapped inside Big Law and boutique law firm partners by collaborating with them to strategize and ethically ghostwrite book-of-business-building marketing and business development content.
Thinking about bringing on an outside writer to help your law firm strategize and create recruiting content? Click here to schedule a 30-minute Content Strategy Audit to learn if collaborating with an outside writer is the right move for you and your firm.