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Your next job interviewer might be a computer program


Related article: How lawyers are mining the information mother lode for pricing, practice tips and predictions

The next time you apply for a job at a law firm, it may not be the human resources department that hires you—it may be its computer.

Apparently, more than a few HR execs are making hiring decisions by loading several dozen critical “success metrics” into their computers and leaving it to silicon wizardry to decide how can-didates stack up against the ideal.

Those who come closest to the ultimate get the interview.

The success metrics are based on the attributes of the most successful attorneys working at the firm doing the hiring, and they can yield some surprising recommendations.

Some firms are discovering that simply hiring a top student from a top law school does not always yield a candidate who is ideal for them, according to Caren Ulrich Stacy, president of Lawyer Metrics, a big-data recruiting service based in Bloomington, Ind.

“Almost every big law firm recruits the same top students from the same top schools,” Ulrich says, “but they probably should not. For example, the data at one firm may tell us that traits such as blue-collar work experience and publishing while in law school lends to success, while participating in law review and clerkships do not.

“At the same time at another firm of a similar size, geographic footprint and practice makeup, the candidate screening process should be focused on undergraduate grades and advanced degrees, but not on moot court or attending a top law school.”

Ulrich says some law firms are also using Lawyer Metrics to ferret out the key (and sometimes hidden) attributes of the attorneys at their firms who are the true rainmakers so they can hire, train and promote more people to make even more rain.

As for gaming the system: So far, there’s no word yet that complimenting the computer on the size of its hard drive earns you extra points. But it can’t hurt.

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