Hi, all: Bruce MacEwen here, President of JD Match and also founder of Adam Smith, Esq. (more about me at: http://www.adamsmithesq.com/about/
Thanks for the spirited discussion. Just a few points:
My partner Janet Stanton and I started JD Match first and foremost to help students.
We all know firms will basically do fine and schools don’t visibly seem to be hurting just yet either; but when we see train wrecks like two classes piling on top of each other during the great recession we were motivated to try to begin to bring some order, transparency, and efficiency to the OCI process—which pretty much everyone involved admits is dysfunctional.
A fundamental premise of JD Match is that we work entirely alongside conventional recruiting efforts. We provide an additional overlay on top of traditional OCI and everything else you’re already doing and should be doing. We replace nothing; we only give you more options. From that perspective, why would you not be interested in JD Match?
Why have we been asking students to pay? First off, firms are paying too, handsomely—make no mistake! They have real skin in the game. But the strong consensus of advice we got was that firms wanted students to take JD Match seriously as well and therefore wanted it to cost something, not nothing. That said, we are offering substantial discounts (up to half off--$49 not $99) and incentives such as the gift cards you’ve heard about, in order to encourage you all to join. In the larger context of what’s at stake, our prices are extremely modest.
A few specifics.
Nothing could be more mistaken (or, frankly, hurtful to hear). We are serious people working very hard to offer something to improve a broken market. But second, trying to game this market would be an instant career-ender for us. Both Janet and I have serious reputations to protect, particularly among AmLaw 100 and Global 50 firms: Abusing that trust would represent insanity on our part.
Actually, the reality is a lot simpler: JD Match benefits from network effects. The more students who belong the more valuable it is to firms and vice versa.
And yes, this is Year 1 for us. That’s why we need to encourage everyone we possibly can to sign up. Is it a challenge? Obviously. Are we applying every tool we can bring to bear to it? You bet—and if you have other ideas, please let me know (bmacewen at jdmatch dot com).
I said we started JD Match primarily to help students and we did.
First, JD Match can help you be discovered by more firms, including firms that haven’t visited your campus, interviewed you, or even know you exist.
Second, JD Match can give you timely, unfiltered market information throughout OCI about which firms are truly most interested in you: We’ll be running the matching algorithm once a week from early August through mid-September, and a few more times after that.
Third, after OCI is all over we’ll be running an entirely separate, second algorithm which is a recommendation engine (a la Amazon’s “we have recommendations for you”). This algorithm will automatically draw up a composite profile of students law firm X ranked highly, find other—unmatched—students resembling that profile, and present them to the firm to handle as they see fit. One last chance, as it were, for those without offers after OCI is all over.
Obviously, not, as many of you have remarked here. No more than going to law school in the first place guarantees anything, or applying for anything guarantees acceptance.
But JD Match is one more suite of options on top of everything you’re already doing. Have you really got so much to lose by trying it?