By now, everyone knows the importance of creating client-centric content for your website. A great many of us would list attracting clients as the No. 1 goal of our site. But what about attracting talent? Don’t let your Careers page be an afterthought, especially when recruiting and retaining talent is such a time-consuming and expensive enterprise.
If you are a growing firm, your prospective employees are just as important as your clients. And turnover is costly, disruptive, and potentially destabilizing, if those clients are so thrilled with the folks doing the work that they follow them out the door. There’s so much to talk about here, we’re going to break this into two posts. Here, in part one, are some tips on how to use content to attract associates and some examples from firms that are knocking it out of the park.
Build a Careers Page That Sells the Steak and the Sizzle
Young lawyers want to know they will have meaningful work when they join the firm. So give them the data. Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC, based in Birmingham, Alabama, has a page specifically directed at law students, with details on their summer program and the kinds of stats that should tempt a law student who’s toying with Biglaw but isn’t sure it’s for them.
There’s a lot about the Lightfoot site that’s very well done. One of the key elements is that they provide stats — the steak — to back up the sizzle. Any decent writer can craft your sizzle, but uncovering the steak of the sale is an art. Here, Lightfoot has used content across the site that should impress potential associates and laterals as much as clients, such as this page on the Lightfoot Way. Creating content that appeals to multiple stakeholders is the key to connecting with your audience without cluttering your site with too many pages.
Other firms that have nailed this include Nutter, based in Boston; Robinson Bradshaw, based in Charlotte, North Carolina; and Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell, with offices throughout California.
Showcase Your Staff
Obviously, this isn’t a strategy that scales. But depending on your practice area, and how you structure your client service, your clients or members of their team are often dealing with someone other than the attorney leading the engagement. Giving your staff bios along with your firm’s lawyers shows the marketplace and each individual how much you value each contributor. You could say it puts the “E” in egalitarian. After all, the woman who runs IT at your firm is behind the scenes until the eve of an important filing and the client portal freezes up.
IP firm Durie Tangri, based in San Francisco, features staff quite nicely, with great photography and short breezy bios that nonetheless give you a sense of the person and build confidence in the firm overall.
Embrace Radical Transparency
Look at the example from San Francisco’s Shartis Friese LLP. It’s an Attorney Recruiting page that ostensibly speaks to potential recruits. And it is very successful in that, sharing information directly that prospects may otherwise need to investigate via Glassdoor, Vault or industry gossip channels. (The beauty of the copy is that it mirrors, I suspect, the transparency the firm has with clients when it comes to how matters are staffed and priced.) Openly sharing the billable-hours target, how the partnership is structured, and the fact that associates serve on management committees is a huge plus.
Note, too, how the page is short, uncomplicated and matter-of-fact, and thus convincing.
Have Direct Messages from Firm Leadership
Again, this is the kind of content that plays equally well with clients and prospective employees. Clients want to know that you treat those on their client team fairly. They want to know the people doing their legal work are duly rewarded and recognized, and to have a basis for faith in the firm. A client may stay with you through the rotation of three or four different associates on their case, but they will internally register that something is not quite right, and worry when it may impact them. Look at this message from Wiggin & Dana LLP managing partner Paul Hughes. It’s short, conversational, not too terribly specific, but warm and personable. It’s exactly the kind of page needed to encourage a prospect to linger just a bit longer on the site and dig further. And it provides the “feels” certain clients may be looking for.
It’s About Conveying Your Values
The point is this: Firms can do a lot to up their recruiting efforts by paying attention to the careers-related content on their site. But that content is also incredibly important in conveying your values to clients in a way that an “Our Mission” page never will. Put some attention there, and see what happens to “the feels” about your website, both in recruiting and client retention.