Thursday, February 10, 2011

New Website

It can be difficult to keep your programming teeth sharp while studying in law school, but I've done just that. I'm happy to say that after learning a host of technologies (see previous post), my new website is largely complete.

The result is Resumé Launchpad. I got the idea for the website while applying to law firms during the end of my first year of law school. It's a tedious process. There are widely published databases containing the firm names, human resources representative names, and email addresses. So the process normally involves building a generic cover letter, copying and pasting the appropriate information into the cover letter, and blasting the email off.

When you first start, you try to customize the cover letter to each firm. It wouldn't be uncommon for me to spend a good twenty to forty minutes per cover letter. But after doing a dozen of these and receiving only form rejection letters, you begin to realize that quantity is more important that quality. Then you literally just modify the name of the firm and recipient and send the email blindly hoping for the best.

I ran into problems. I tried tracking everything in excel, but on several occasions I sent the my application to the same person twice. Worse than that, sometimes I would copy & paste incorrectly and get the firm's name, the recipient's name, or their gender wrong. After sending nearly a hundred cover letters like this, my programming instincts got the better of me and I decided to automate the process.

So I put together a database of legal employers from widely available sources (all legit). Then I wrote a python program which was kind of like a mail-merge on steroids; it could send hundreds of customized emails to various recipients stored in a local database.

Finally, the day of reckoning came. I put together my cover letter, resumé, and other attachments and let my program do its thing. I sent about three hundred emails in a couple of minutes. What would have taken me hours and days took only seconds.

It was successful. I got a number of interviews at some very prestigious firms. At the time, I didn't see it as a product, but more as a tool to make life easier for me. The idea to build a general-purpose web interface to my program started percolating.

The rest is programming history. I learned how to put together a modern complex site and two weeks ago I launched it to the world.

So if you're an attorney, law student, paralegal, or legal secretary and you're looking for legal work, check out

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