Give Up Trying to Manage Millennials – Work with Them Instead
Utah State Bar Innovation in Practice Committee
There are many articles advising firm managing partners on how to attract and retain young lawyers. And many focus on describing the millennial generation’s formulaic traits. They then proceed to list the ways a firm can embrace millennial culture in order to keep those young attorneys loyal and motivated. Ultimately, these articles ignore the basic principal that no attorney, regardless of their age, wants to be stereotyped and then “managed.”
Attorneys of every generation bring a unique perspective and differing life experiences, which can contribute to the growth and success of any firm. Young attorneys have much to learn during the decades of experience that await them in the practice of law, but they also bring a fresh set of eyes to the business aspect of law. Firms could benefit from embracing a young attorney’s strengths by engaging them in decision making when implementing new technology, strategizing business development opportunities, redesigning office space, or determining where to develop expertise in emerging areas of law. Engaging attorneys to contribute to the business aspects of a legal practice acknowledges and respects past accomplishments, accelerates integration into the firm, educates on the fundamentals of practice management, lays the foundation for leadership training, and ultimately builds a sense of ownership in the business before reaching partnership.
Law firms are among the slowest industries to embrace change, particularly with respect to technology. A firm could embrace generational differences by leveraging young attorneys’ understanding and familiarity of technological tools. The creation of a technology committee – comprised of associates, partners and support staff – to test new legal technological tools that a firm may be considering would engage attorneys while providing the firm with realistic and meaningful feedback on the potential utility or shortcomings of any technology it may purchase. Obtaining feedback on...