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Choate, Hall & Stewart Uses Video and Design to Launch Innovative New Recruitment Website

By

Greenfield Belser, a Finn Partners Company
July 24, 2007

Choate, Hall & Stewart Uses Video and Design to Launch Innovative New Recruitment Website

The Boston law firm of Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP today launched an innovative new recruitment website that integrates reality-TV style vignettes, professionally acted commercial videos, vintage film footage, and a healthy dose of humor. The goal of the new recruitment site is to communicate the many benefits of working at Choate—compared to some of the impersonal mega law firms that Choate competes with—in a whimsical and engaging way that young attorneys can relate to.

“Law firms don’t typically come to mind when people think of creative, out-of-the-box websites and marketing,” said William Gelnaw and John Nadas, co-managing partners at Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP. “We wanted to break that mold.” 

The new recruitment website was created by Washington, DC-based Greenfield Belser and includes three main sections:

  • Choate vs. “Megafirm” Clips – Four professionally acted commercial videos highlight, in a lighthearted and funny way, what it’s like to work at Choate. The clips showcase two actors – one playing an associate from Choate and another playing an associate from “Megafirm” – bantering about life at their two firms. The themes cover Choate’s key recruiting messages: Choate associates get to do meaningful work early in their career, Choate associates have some say in their choice of practice group, Choate respects the boundaries between work and personal life, and the value of working at a firm with one office.
  • Choate Vignettes – A series of reality-TV style clips profile Choate’s attorneys musing about Choate’s culture, the work environment at Choate, and why associates should choose the firm. For example, some of the videos on the recruitment site include: a day in the life of two associates, three Choate lawyers together on a conference call in which the roll call for “Megafirm” goes on forever, Choate’s “Pizza Night” with associates debating who makes the best pizza in Boston, and an associate interviewing students in the firm’s pro-bono Citizen’s Schools program.

In another series of 15 videos, summer and young associates take turns talking about something interesting they do outside of the firm. These clips provide a look at the diverse group of people who work at Choate. The series was shot with a red (Choate’s brand color) leather club chair, which was dubbed the “Choate Chair,” and now has a place of honor in the firm’s library.

  • Vintage Film Footage – Silly film footage from the 1920s, 30s, 40s, and 50s is creatively combined with added voiceovers or title cards to reinforce Choate’s core recruitment messages. One spot called “The Horrible Boss” shows a silent slapstick comedian jumping around, ripping his hair out, and screaming. Intermittent title cards explain: “The boss you fear,” “You won’t find here,” and “The coast is clear.”

“We take our clients and recruitment of the best and brightest very seriously, but we try not to take ourselves too seriously,” added Gelnaw and Nadas. “We wanted to give law students a real, personal, and engaging look at our firm and we are thrilled with the result.”
 

Choate’s new recruitment website is part of an overall redesign of its firm website. Choate last revamped its website two years ago when the firm introduced its new brand identity. The new site continues to build on the firm’s award winning brand – Choate won three first place “Your Honor” awards from the Legal Marketing Association in 2006 for its strong brand identity program.

Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP is a leading law firm with nationally recognized practices in private equity, business and technology, litigation, intellectual property, wealth management, and insurance/reinsurance. The firm’s clients range from Fortune 100 companies to leading venture capital and buyout funds to technology startups. Choate has been named to the Boston Business Journal’s list of the “Best Places to Work” for the past two years.

In the news

“Legal eagles have landed - online”
Boston Herald
By Laurel J. Sweet
10/12/07

“It’s Fun, Law”
By Andre Yeo
The New Paper (Singapore)
10/1/07

“Why Microsoft is taking everyone at Facebook value”
By John Naughton
The Observer (England)
9/30/07

“Law Firms Go a Bit Hollywood to Recruit the YouTube Generation”
By Karen Donovan
The New York Times 
9/28/07

“Law firms inspired by YouTube”
United Press International (UPI)
9/28/07

“See the Lawyer, Be the Lawyer”
By John Wallbillich
The Wired GC
9/28/07

"Adding a little humor to those firm podcasts"
By Sheri Qualters
The National Law Journal
8/27/07

"YouTube and The Law Meet on Choate Recruiting Website"
By Larry Bodine
Larry Bodine's Blog
8/17/07

"The Web is, like, so cool for law firm hiring"
By Lisa van der Pool
Boston Business Journal
8/3/07

“Associates Close Up”
By Amir Efrati
The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog
7/26/07

A wonderful site translates into great results

8/28/07: “Our site created amazing buzz at an Equality Committee meeting I attended this morning. The Committee is a collaborative effort of the Boston Bar Association, the Massachusetts Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Foundation and the Women’s Bar Association and deals with the relative lack of women in positions of leadership in the law, so the members are all at the partner level—not our target audience for the recruitment site. Nonetheless, when I arrived at the meeting everyone was talking about our videos and thought they were great. People who hadn’t yet seen the site were making notes to themselves to do so.”
- Karen Troake, Partner, Choate, Hall & Stewart

8/24/07: “Steve has been out on the road interviewing law students and he says the new Web site makes a noticeable difference. A typical interview will start with a student smiling and remarking that he or she liked our Web site. Steve smiles and responds that we had fun making it and you can see we don't take ourselves too seriously. He says the Web site establishes rapport before the interview even starts. I asked him how often students would mention the Web site in the past and he said in hundreds of interviews (which he conducts in a given year at Choate), not one student has ever said a word about our Web site prior to the launch of this site.” 
- Betsy Huntley, Director of Marketing, Choate, Hall & Stewart

8/17/07: “We just returned from the Vault Diversity Career Fair in New York and I must say it was a very successful trip. We collected roughly 80 resumes and definitely got our name out there. The thumb drives were the biggest hit and we heard from many people that it was the best giveaway at the fair. We ran out of them by mid-afternoon. At several times in the afternoon, Chris Edwards and I were "in the weeds" so to speak and could not give out promotional material fast enough to the lines of students waiting to talk to us. Highlight of the day was two giggling 3L female students from UConn who knew Ron Crawley from his days as President of BLSA and were so excited to know that he had a video on our Web site. They were definitely going to spread the word at UConn and were clearly Ron fans. I had students coming by even after the fair was over and I was pulling brochures from the already packed boxes. We really did make our mark.” 
- Robin Ketterer, Director of Recruiting, Choate, Hall & Stewart