As part of their job scope, lawyers must create and maintain offline versions of specialized documents, or ‘Deal Sheets’. Lawyers are able to make use of these deal sheets in connection with their job searches by submitting it along with their resume. It also can be utilized as a marketing tool to help with rainmaking and client development.
The goal of the deal sheet is to give its reader a more in depth understanding of a lawyer’s career experience than is provided by their resume alone. It highlights a lawyer’s accomplishments with concrete examples in a clear, concise and crisp manner.
Current professional networking sites such as LinkedIn are not meeting the needs of many lawyers working in Big Law firms. Big Law is characterized mostly by work with corporate clients (usually very large ones) and includes everything from litigation to tax to M&A. The specialized nature of the work, and the demand for information that goes beyond what’s contained in a LinkedIn profile, requires many additional documents: pitch decks, deal sheets, team books, etc. Additionally, there is no set formula for organizing a Deal Sheet. Lawyers currently use their own methods as part of a pitch deck to showcase to new clients. The key was to come up with a standardized structure that meets the objective of highlighting lawyers’ accomplishments.
With this challenge at the forefront of our minds, we received feedback through user interviews and surveys with lawyers across the field to get a quick and dirty idea of what their day constitutes. All of them do not update their deal sheets that often, due to their already busy schedules, and lack of a quick and efficient method/template to build their deal sheets on. We found that 80% use LinkedIn once a week to stay updated on what their connections are up to. More importantly, we discovered that some of them use it as a career development tool (as opposed to job searching)– not the way we would normally use LinkedIn for.
“LinkedIn already connects me to other professionals, so that’s covered. I would want to connect based on the deals I’ve worked on, that’s the new angle.” – Phil
It also came to light that it is currently very difficult to get info on recruiters have contacted lawyers through the proper, legal channels, and secondly, there is a lack of access control, if any at all, over who can view a lawyer’s full profile details on professional networking sites.
A critical question I asked myself was: ‘how do you translate raw transactional data (a lá spreadsheets) into intelligent, engaging insights that can be made actionable by viewers?’ As a result, I researched extensively on data input methods and infographics to find effective ways to present back information in a more meaningful and understandable way for the user.