Changes are evident all over the legal landscape as the inevitable transition takes place from baby boomers to Generation X to the millennial generation. According to a report by global legal services firm Cushman & Wakefield, 43% of all attorneys are now millennials. This is a significant number, although not so surprising considering the millennial age range currently spans ages 22 to 37. While there is obviously a fair bit of overlap near the transitional ages, for the most part each generation has its own clearly defined characteristics and tendencies. For older lawyers from one of the previous generations, it has become essential to both understand millennials and learn to work with them effectively.
“[Their] top 5 [priorities], other than money or compensation, are all about warm, fuzzy things—a collegial work environment, work-life balance, mentoring, and exposure to clients,” – Cushman.
A closer look at these priorities:
Collegial Work Environment
With the steady transition toward digital and virtual work, less emphasis is being placed on big corner offices and more on creating a relaxed, collaborative work atmosphere.
They don’t see work and life as separate entities, they want their job to be integrated into the rest of their life. Millennials are more receptive to flex-time, freelance, or consultancies. It is important to be adaptable if you are going to keep your millennials around to replace the retiring generation.
Teamwork and participation are key focal points for millennials, so offering collaborative programs to share information and ease the changeover is a great way to break down the barriers between the generations.
The first steps in preparing your firm for the millennial generation is to recognize that changes are coming, then to embrace those changes with a spirit of openness and flexibility. Try to understand how the goals of these younger attorneys differ from yours and incorporate those differences into your firm.