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Fenwick & West law student recruiting

By March 13, 2012 No Comments

The Challenge

Led by its outstanding CMO Diane Hamlin, Fenwick & West’s aggressive marketing had successfully branded the 250-lawyer firm as the nation’s most skilled high-tech firm.  At the height of the Dot Com Boom, the firm had an overabundance of the most cutting-edge Silicon Valley work. Forced to decline challenging work from sophisticated clients, the firm urgently needed to attract more of the top law students and lateral hires.

In spite of offering some of the nation’s most challenging, cutting-edge work in a culture legitimately renowned for its collegiality, Fenwick was having curious difficulty with its law school recruiting efforts.

FM worked closely with the firm’s exceptional Marketing and Recruiting groups and its existing outside advertising agency. We conducted on-the-ground market research and focus groups at top law schools to identify the reason for the disconnect, which resulted in some surprising findings.

We quickly discovered the marketplace misperception that was causing the recruiting issues and developed a strategy to change these incorrect beliefs within the target audience — the top students at the leading law schools.

Together, we built a comprehensive marketing campaign to attract them to the firm, using the full range of marketing tools including advertising, revised website, public relations, online marketing, giveaways, on-campus activities, and many others.

Headline: “High-tech law at Fenwick & West. It’s not just for geeks.”

The Results

In the first three-month recruiting season, the firm’s summer-associate class more than doubled, from 29 to 71 top students, while maintaining extremely rigorous academic and interpersonal standards.

“I hired Ross to extend my reach when I had no bandwidth to execute on a major firm initiative.  Ross is not only a quick study, he is a major creative talent and brought so much to the table, it was overloaded with ideas before we were through.  He has superb personal skills and interfaces well with people throughout every level of an organization.  He is an equally talented writer and produced an abundance of collateral materials in a very short turnaround.

And this was not your “chop wood, carry water” garden variety marketing project.  My firm had decided to take on the challenge of “marketizing” its recruiting function.  No one had done this before.  

We were designing a program from the ground up.  I can think of no one else in the country who could have partnered with me so effectively and delivered so much in the totally lunatic time frame we committed to.

What I like best about Ross is that he allows me to do more because he is so focused and purposeful. 

While he is a thought-leader and communicator, he does not just analyze, recommend, or deliver ersatz wisdom from the 50,000-foot level.  He executes.  At netspeed and with good humor.  I can think of no higher praise.
Diane Hamlin, CMO, Fenwick & West, Palo Alto, CA