The first series of TrueView podcasts was created for prominent Boston law firm Goulston & Storrs to enable law students to download perspectives from current associates and partners on their experiences working at the firm.
"Law students receive a deluge of information from law firms all claiming to be different," said Beth Cuzzone, director of business development for Goulston & Storrs. "We wanted them to really understand our unique culture and what sets us apart so we asked current associates to answer the prickly questions that students want to know but are afraid to ask. Legal Insight helped us design a podcast series covering frequently asked questions about A Day in the Life, Having a Life and A Law Firm for Life, and deliver it in a powerful and immediate way."
This may seem ahead of the game if you consider local law firms which generally make use of flashy looking posters on law school notice boards and impressive sounding descriptions of firm culture and ethos to entice law students. On the other hand, this represents a shift towards a more engaging approach that law firms may need to start adopting if they have any intention of snapping up law students who are increasingly in demand. In the United States my impression is that there is such a need for good students and not enough to fill that demand that firms must adopt these practices if they have any hope of employing them.
In South Africa there is hardly a shortage of law students and many students have great difficulty finding positions after they complete their studies. Of course much of that is set to change as the Legal Services Charter is finalised and then implemented in the near future. Local law firms are going to have to attract more previously disadvantaged law students and keep them interested if these firms have any hope of retaining those employees long enough to promote them into higher positions and thereby satisfy the requirements of the Charter, whatever they may be in due course. The big question is who will adopt these technologies first? Of course another factor is that many, if not most, of these students can hardly be described as the "iPod generation" and may not own portable media devices. In that case (and I’d love to know the statistics on that), this may be the differentiating factor between the more affluent United States and South Africa.
Of course the use of a podcast doesn’t stop here. I have already advocated the use of a blog on a law firm’s web site to communicate better with clients. A firm could just as well publish a podcast for download by clients (who are more likely to have a portable media player of some kind) and which contains pretty much what these firms publish in their newsletters from time to time. In this case it is about making that content more accessible in other forms. Consider an executive from a client who may never get around to reading that newsletter but she does go to gym a couple times a week and her iPod nano is her constant companion. Why not give her a podcast with your firm’s latest news, information updates and views on current events so she can remain up to date while she gives that treadmill a good pounding in the morning.
Put a different way, a podcast can become an important extension of your marketing drive. It takes the content you are publishing straight to your intended recipient in a very personal way and with options to subscribe to podcasts, clients need not do anything except update their podcasts from time to time and click "Play" to keep in touch with you and your firm.
So, does your firm have a podcast?