The large law firm talent arms race just got hotter; NYC first year salaries escalated to $160k. Money, however, is barely a weapon when you think about it. All firms pay the same, so cash is not a differentiator. There’s an easy and cheap way to differentiate. BigLaw has yet to use this weapon staring it in the face. 

In researching our just published large law firm blog directory, Joy London and I did not find any BigLaw blogs directed at law students.

Are Your Recruiting Efforts Geared for the Online Generation? in Law Practice Today (ABA, online, Oct 2006) describes how firms can use blogs in recruiting. It is simple and easy but unheeded advice.

Consider the cost of finding new talent: travel, admin overhead, and lawyer time. Firms sell students a product – their firms – but miss an easy way to explain and differentiate their product. OK, most firms have recruiting web pages – static and boringly similar.

A blog could bring to life a firm, its culture, and its personality . How much does this cost? Almost nothing. How do you motivate lawyers? Competition plus a reward. Host a weekly contest for the best short blurb about life and work at the firm. The winner gets a Starbucks card and her name on the blog. Other content being produced anyway – news on deals, press releases on laterals, substantive legal updates – can be re-purposed for a recruiting blog.

Money is fungible. Cultures are not. Blogs are not. Let a new arms race begin.

Update (3/22/07): I recently came across a very nice large law firm recruiting web site. “Real Deal” is Cadwalader’s recruiting web site. It has excellent production values but no blog.