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01/26/2006 Meeting Notes

Posted by Erica, 1/26/06 at 7:02:16 PM.

Please note that all live notes are taken by attendees, and are permanently editable by all blog group members. In note-taking by multiple parties during a running event mistakes of both content and attribution are highly likely. Live Notes are not a reliable source of quotable material; all notes are (sometimes significant) on-the-fly paraphrases by the various note-takers. When possible we attempt to return to the live notes and edit them to greater accuracy, but this is not a guarantee.

Meeting notes are a best effort – comment with or blog your corrections.


  • TS: Toby Stock
  • j: j Baumgart
  • Jesse (new from last week)
  • AH: Ann House
  • EG: Erica George
  • BI: Bill Ives
  • AW: Amanda Watlington
  • MW: Mal Watlington
  • Z: Zachary (new from last week)


  • Toby Stock:
  • We wanted to make info about HLS much more easily accessible than it is on the main HLS site
  • Themes: HLS is good for public service, pre-legal scholarship, international law, connection with faculty
  • He does podcasts, using an iRiver, posts interviews with members of HLS community. Mixes them in every few entries. 8-10 min podcasts.
  • Rants: Combatting the myths about HLS. One he edited later on.
  • Lots of need to be tactful in presenting things
  • Showcasing student stories, ie student experiences over winter term.
  • MW: Is the goal dissemination of information or establishment of conversation? In this case it really is distributing the information, but just to showcase it in a much better way, in one consolidated place.
  • TS: I devote about 10 min each morning to updating the blog.
  • TS: Most of the links I point to are internal HLS.
  • BI: This is still a blog despite being intended as informational not conversational in that the content is more informal, personal, different kind of content than the rest of the HLS website
  • TS: This is between your average blog and the kind of news articles that the HLS communications dept. would put out, for example.
  • AW: What’s the traffic like?
  • TS: Maybe 2,000 visitors/week, maybe 700 downloads/podcast. The applicants are the audience.
  • Jesse: Might be good to facilitate applicants looking for unvarnished opinions. Perhaps showcase student blogs, etc.
  • MW: Tracking & sometimes showcasing people quoting you in their blogs
  • EG: Might ask some students to agree to have their blogs highlighted, in a blogroll on the right, of HLS students’ blogs
  • Zachary: Could have some guestblogging, realsitic contextual opinions, from current students. Might be good strategy to help combat the corporate monolith image. You could screen their posts before posting.
  • Z: If you were first in Google for one phrase, what phrase would it be?
  • TS: I’d almost like them to come to the blog before the website for typing in “Harvard Law School admissions,” because it shows it (HLS) off well.
  • TS: So far, I’ve never looked at a single blog of an applicant. We don’t really have the time to look at outside material much
  • Z: Do people leverage technology, sending in materials or something?
  • TS: Now and then people send in videos or dvds. Nobody to my knowledge has made anything more interesting or modern than a film.
  • Z: How would you measure your impact on swaying candidates to Harvard with the blog?
  • TS: Not quantitatively at all, but anecdotal.
  • Z: What other benchmarks of success are there for the blog? When you look back on it after a year, what will be the markers for you?
  • TS: I’ll take a look back in the summer. See what I missed talking about. Did I get across the themes I wanted? What were the gaps in discussion? What’s new that I can show. Should I put pictures in, video, vlogging, etc? Adding more interesting pieces.
  • Z: Do you hope the alumni community will participate in the blog?
  • TS: I do interview alumni and profile them, post their emails etc. So I do plan to show off the cool things alums are doing. The more I can let other people talk about their experiences with HLS the better this will be.
  • AH: Was this your idea?
  • TS: Really, probably credit goes to my old business partner. And John Palfrey suggested the podcast.
  • MW: Does Yale have one?
  • TS: No. Univ of Chicago has a faculty blog, but not an admissions one.
  • EG: Maybe student organizations could blog?
  • Z: Is corporate law/bigfirm still as big at HLS? Are you finding that the interest sets are more streamlined here?
  • TS: The number of employers that show up on campus… There are hundreds of big firm recruiters. It’s the easier path. But we’re really diverse. Many people do public interest law, clerkships, academia, government. The size of the student body means our class can be more diverse. But the money at big firms can be hard for students to turn down.
  • EG: Any way we can help you?
  • TS: I’m always looking for new ways to reach out, new ideas…
  • TS: I tell students who comment that they like the blog, that it’s one example of how HLS is not as impersonal as they may think it is.
  • Z: This also humanizes the process. People appreciate the sense of transparency and authenticity, of sensing a two-way street. That helps people feel confident in a freedom of spirit of intellectualism.
  • Jesse: Actively encourage students to blog, podcast,
  • TS: And that would be a project for Berkman…
  • Z: Lenses on HLS… Provide a few profile people who could provide a focus, a way in
  • AW: To show a vibrant intellectual community.
  • Z: What if the prospective students bug the featured student bloggers?
  • TS: Our student leaders get random emails all the time
  • Z: Is the web becoming more important as peoples’ lives are more and more lived online?
  • TS: Most people get their info online, from schools’ websites, from peers on discussion boards, etc.
  • AW: Do you monitor how the HLS “brand” is portrayed online?
  • TS: In doing the blog I personalized HLS – people talk about what I am doing now, not just what “HLS” is doing. They look at my personal history, for example. So I need to be careful that the school won’t be hurt by that.
  • Z: Becoming a public persona: How do you reconcile that with a private online life?
  • TS: I don’t have one.
  • Thanks Toby!
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