Brooklyn Law School: A (Legal) Case of Dynamic Reconstruction with Sitecore

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Brooklyn Law School SiteCompany: Brooklyn Law School
Nestled into downtown Brooklyn, N.Y., Brooklyn Law School has been educating lawyers-to-be for more than 109 years. Founded by William Payson Richardson and Norman Heffley, the small, original basement facility on Ryerson Street welcomed a founding class of 18 students. The school boasts a diverse community and welcomed an incoming class of slightly fewer than 500 students in 2010.

(www.brooklaw.edu)

Business Challenge
By 2008, Brooklyn Law School was working with a website that was about 8 years old and served the school's internal and external audiences. The outdated site was becoming insufficient as high volumes of prospective students turned to the internet for information on colleges and universities. The school found that many users had to click up to seven times on links from the homepage to find what they were looking for. There was also an issue of content redundancy. However, in order to create a more dynamic site, staff members needed a service that could integrate with their existing databases.

Vendor of Choice: Sitecore and Weymouth Design
Founded in 2001 by five technical colleagues, Sitecore offers web content management software (CMS) as well as portal software to construct easy-to-use, unique website experiences. The company has 700-plus partners trained and certified to bring content management to its users. Sitecore is used by mid-size to large organizations including Toshiba America, Inc.; Canon, Inc.; and Microsoft.

Since 1973, Weymouth Design, Inc. has provided creative solutions to clients, focusing on visual communications in print and online. It is a certified partner of Sitecore; the two have worked on numerous projects together.

(www.sitecore.net; www.weymouthdesign.com)


The Problem in-Depth
Brooklyn Law School did not use a CMS system prior to making the decision to rebuild the website. This meant it needed someone with both HTML and PHP programming capabilities to do most of the site work. That usually fell into the hands of Sarah Rau, the online communications manager for the school, as well as the project lead for the 10-member website redesign team. This slowed down the updating process and limited the ability of the external affairs department to effectively communicate with the online community of prospective students, alumni, and the legal academic community.

In order to revamp the site, the team searched for a CMS that would support its existing database-Datatel, Inc.'s Colleague. According to Linda Harvey, assistant dean for external affairs, about 85% of the site's audience was prospective students, and the school wanted the ability to tailor content and market the site in a more appropriate way.

"There was wonderful programming and terrific faculty, the program was very flat with our old website," says Harvey. "So we were looking to amplify it with video, with more interactive features, and just be able to present the law school in a much more dynamic fashion that really would complement the school that we were and are."

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