Monday, September 15, 2008
Posted by: Joe Libertelli
The School of Law received official word last summer that 84% of the Class of 2004 and 81% of the Class of 2005 have been admitted to a bar in at least one jurisdiction. Eighty percent of the Class of 2006 who took the D.C. Bar examination passed it the first time. Congrats!
Alumni Cooperation in Strategic Planning
Last year, as a part of the School of Law’s strategic planning process, over 570 law alumni completed an on-line survey designed to obtain alumni opinions and advice on the School of Law program. This participation level represents approximately half of those alumni for whom the School of Law has current e-mail addresses.
Alumni Pledge Campaign
In September 2007, the School of Law began a new development effort focused upon enlisting alumni to make multi-year pledges in support of one of several specific funds or to general support. As a result, over 90 alumni made typically five year pledges in amounts ranging from $100 to $10,000 per year. The School of Law is greatly encouraged by these results, achieved as they were through a single mailing and three e-mails to the alumni list. With the assistance of the new Development Director, Jaye Lopez, and the making of individual telephone calls to alumni who have made donations in the past, the School of Law anticipates doubling the total multi-year pledgers during FY 2009.
With the quick success of the alumni multi-year pledge campaign, the School of Law has been able to increase the number of alumni donating and the total amounts donated for the past few years. With the help of our new Development Director, the School of Law anticipates easily exceeding last year’s total donors and amounts given.
Scores of alumni have expressed an interest in making monthly credit card donations, which has not been possible with the School of Law’s current technology. As a result, the School of Law has contracted with YourMembership.com for on-line community software which includes the ability to take recurring donations. This capacity will be available for the September End-of-Fiscal Year campaign.
New On Line Community Software
In addition to the ability to take recurrent credit card transactions, the School of Law’s new web software will feature a number of other important upgrades in functionality. For example, as a content-management system, it will permit the various Directors and senior staff to directly control content without involving the Webmaster.
The new software will also function as an “on-line community" allowing alumni to update their own records, set their own “permissions” as to who may view their records, will facilitate mentor relationships, and will streamline event organizing for the School of Law generally as would be attendees “self-register” for School of Law activities. Students and alumni will be able to post their resumes in a searchable system; employers will be able to post jobs and internships, sign up for career fairs, search the resumes, etc.
Alumni Group Self-Organizing
The software will also allow alumni, student and other “constituents” to self organize into “groups” such as the “Class of 1999” or “Latino Alumni” or “Alumni/Student Immigration Law Group” or the “New York City Area Alumni” or “Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Transgender Students” etc. The School of Law will be able to delegate control over group “home pages” to alumni (or student) administrators who can maintain those pages, including “Class Notes” sections, photographs and calendars of events.
“Wiki” on History of the School of Law
Online communities cannot work without active involvement by the “community” targeted. In the case of alumni, we hope and expect that the new site will be greatly more interesting and “sticky” (alumni come to the site, stay longer, and come back more often) than our current site.
In order to draw attention to the new site, it will be necessary to launch, in effect, a public relations campaign touting its uses. In addition to the usual means of generating such publicity, which will include post-card mailings, phone calls, and, of course, e-mail blasts, given the unique and, somewhat convoluted history of our law school, we believe that the creation of a “wiki” on the history of the School will engage many alumni, former and current faculty and staff, and others to collaborate as they add their pieces to the saga. Since users will have to register to participate, we expect a number of heretofore passive onlookers to find the motivation to reveal themselves and what they know of the long and winding tale of how the School of Law became what it is today.
Photo File Sharing
The School of Law (and, in particular, Alumni Director Joe Libertelli) has long taken numerous photographs of students, staff and alumni at the many events that take place weekly or more often during the School year. Heretofore, the photographs disappeared from public view and only a small fraction of them ever reappeared on the School of Law website or in a publication. Recently, the School of Law posted a portion of the 2008 Honors Convocation photos on the on-line service “Flickr” – to rave reviews by the newly minted alumni. The School of Law now plans to harness alumni and student “vanity” by making all photos available online at the new Website, which, when up and running, will allow the posting of an unlimited number of photographs.
Video File Sharing
Even more exciting than the regular posting of photographs on the School of Law website will be the sharing of digital video of the many important panels, discussions, speeches and other events that the School of Law hosts on a regular basis. Long requested by alumni, access to recordings of these events online will make the School of Law website all the more attractive and “sticky” as alumni and other “friends” of the School of Law, no matter where they are, or what time of the day or night, will be able to keep abreast of the latest programming.
Above: Newly-minted alum, Will Burns, '08