Creating New, Competitive Advantage in Legal Search

When you’re in the business of matching credentials and chemistry, you need to have the right tools to deliver lasting results for clients and candidates. Having the right search software to make that happen – and engaging the best of your own search team – is a critical marker of success for top legal search consultants.

For business partners Madeleine Seltzer and Valerie Fontaine, success as legal search consultants is based on their extensive contacts and large database of law firms, attorneys and corporations. Success is learning everything possible about each client’s practice, client base and financial performance as well as its needs, goals and culture.

But that also requires the Seltzer Fontaine Beckwith team to bring an equal amount of market research and due diligence to the study of each candidate’s professional experience, academic achievement, rainmaking potential, interpersonal style and career objectives.

Team coordination and communication is essential to achieving these business objectives in today’s dynamic, intensively competitive legal market. That’s why it’s vital that they have the right search software at their fingertips – to capture and share information across the team intuitively and conveniently.

That reality became particularly clear for the firm when its software provider – which had provided search software for close to 20 years – stopped issuing updates nearly five years ago.

Valerie Fontaine recalls that the firm’s processes were being slowed by software that was growing old and unreliable. “It was falling more and more behind the times, and the demands of our business,” Fontaine says. “And even though our software licenses were up to date, we didn’t have the best software support.”

The Seltzer Fontaine Beckwith team began to research its options for updating its search software. It was referred to two well-known software providers, Seltzer says, but their products were more expensive and not as well designed as she expected given their prices.

More importantly, there were major functionality drawbacks to each of them. Both systems seemed overly busy and complicated. However, the team were immediately impressed with Invenias.

“Invenias is very customizable to the requirements of a legal search business because we are able to easily enter all the parameters we would want to search on that are particular to the legal search industry.”
Madeleine E. Seltzer

“We’ve been able to build in the capabilities we need and add the custom reports that we’re going to be using quite a bit. Invenias is the next step in knowledge management for members of the National Association of Legal Search Consultants,” Seltzer says.

“The huge, immediate plus for us was the integration with Microsoft Outlook,” Seltzer says. “We spend so much time dealing with e-mails, everything was just right there on our desktop and so easy to use. None of us are computer experts, so it is vital that Invenias is so intuitive and easy to use,” she adds.

“With our previous software, there was so much time required to copy and paste information from e-mails into notes,” Fontaine shares. “With Invenias, we no longer have to do that. We can find company web sites, check out online candidate profiles and connect all the dots on a search right there when we need it, integrated seamlessly with everything we’re doing to meet the demands of our firm.”

The difference shows, Fontaine explains, when anyone in the firm needs to build a file to import candidate lists. With the firm’s old, legacy system, it literally would have taken a week. Today, she says, Invenias allows hundreds of candidates to be entered into the firm’s information system in a matter of minutes. “We can send mass emails faster, too,” she adds.

The firm has achieved a real information advantage because the transparency of their data now makes it easier for everyone to see where searches are in the process, who has been engaging candidates, and how clients are interacting with its consultants. “We’ve all been able to work a lot more quickly because of Invenias,” Seltzer adds.

Another plus, Seltzer and Fontaine say, is the customer support they have received through the migration. “We were working hand in hand with the Invenias team, who really understood our requirements. As a result, the whole data migration process went very smoothly,” Seltzer says.

“It has been a very pleasant process,” Fontaine adds. “Everyone at Invenias has been wonderful to work with. It makes a big difference to know that there are people behind the software, making it easier and less intimidating to adopt. They’re on our side, and they are there to support us.