Hotshot at Two
By Ian Nelson
It’s been two years since we launched our first topic and lots of exciting things are happening. We’re helping thousands of lawyers develop their skills, supporting innovative training at law firms and law schools across the country, and are hard at work on what’s coming next.
Late 2017 marked two years since the launch of our first topic, so we’d like to update everyone on where we’re at and where we’re headed. We also want to thank all of our customers and the many others that have supported us from the beginning.
We’re thrilled to be working with so many great organizations to help improve legal education and training.
Where We’re At
- A Growing Customer Base. Our subscribers now include 20 Am Law 100 firms and many other firms in the US and abroad. In addition, law schools such as Harvard, Stanford and BU are using Hotshot content to help students become even more practice ready.
- PD Teams are Integrating Hotshot into their Training Programs. Professional development teams are using Hotshot content to incorporate digital learning and blended learning techniques into orientations, business acumen training programs, summer associate programs, practice group and staff training, mentorship programs and more.
- 100 Courses Across Legal, Business and Technology Topics. We now offer about 100 courses across topics such as Accounting & Finance, Excel & Data Analysis, M&A Basics and Securities Offerings.
- Happy Customers and Happy Users. Customers that buy Hotshot renew their subscriptions (our 2017 renewal rate was 97%) and most are adding new content as we produce it. In addition, we receive overwhelmingly positive feedback from lawyers and law students.
- “Honestly? I love it.” Associate, Am Law 100 firm
- “I think the website is a great resource and will recommend to colleagues at other firms.” Associate, Am Law 200 firm
- Our Advisory Board is Helping Us Plan for the Future. We’ve formed an advisory board of PD leaders that are helping us shape the content and product. Board members come from organizations such as Fried Frank, Cooley, Axiom, BU School of Law, Bass Berry and Pillsbury.
- We’re Growing. In December 2017 we closed a round of funding, which will let us add more content and features and expand our team.
- We Won a “Most Innovative Legal Education Company” Award. We were named most innovative legal education company at Above the Law’s inaugural innovation competition.
Where We Started
We’ve come a long way from where we started.
Soon after forming the business, we talked to lots of people from different firms and schools about the concept of Hotshot. People were enthusiastic about the idea and agreed that there was a need. Clients had largely stopped paying for junior associate time and were no longer willing to subsidize training costs. In addition, the new generation of lawyers and law students had increased expectations about training, both in terms of substance and delivery.
While we were encouraged that there was interest, we realized that there was one small problem – we had no idea how to make a video.
So we walked over to B&H (a photo and video store in Manhattan), bought a cheap tripod and used a digital camera to make a video. We figured that if we could make one ourselves (no matter how bad), we’d be able to figure out how to make better ones. (We watched it again recently and it really was terrible – bad acting from the two of us, awful graphics – but it was a start).
After that, we hired a lawyer to write and present a script, a film crew to shoot it and we used Chris’s living room as a studio (an image from this course is above). The feedback on that video was “Yep – like that one – but more of them…and better!” So that’s what we did.
Soon after that we signed up a group of early-adopter firms who gave us terrific feedback and helped us plan the next topics and set of features.
Where We’re Headed
Our direction, as always, is driven by our customers. Based on feedback received last year, here’s what’s coming in 2018:
- Civil Litigation Basics. We’re launching our first litigation topic in Q2. It’ll cover the process and essential concepts of civil litigation, focusing on the practical skills and knowledge that associates need. This was the most requested legal topic of last year.
- Clients and Industries. This topic will help lawyers better understand their clients and the industries in which they operate. It was the most requested business skills topic of last year, and we expect to launch it in late 2018.
- Additional Topics. We’re currently looking for ideas on what else to launch in 2018, so please contact us with your suggestions.
- Continue to Work on Customer Success. We’ll continue to partner with our customers to help them create and support their innovative training programs.
Our long-term vision for Hotshot is what it was when we started. We want to help lawyers and law students – across all practice areas and experience levels – develop their legal, business and technology skills. So we’ll keep working hard every day to:
- Fulfill the need for just-in-time learning; and
- Help law firms, corporate legal departments and law schools create engaging, effective training programs that will complement their internal resources. Not only will they be able to give their lawyers the type of training the lawyers want, but the organizations can then focus on creating content that’s truly unique to them.
Thanks again for a great first couple of years. We’re looking forward to working with everyone in 2018 and beyond.
Ian and Chris