According to Pew Research, Millennials have overtaken Baby Boomers and Generation X as the largest generation in the workforce, and this has been a source of contention for many companies. Millennials have a higher job turnover rate than any other generation, and the legal profession is no exception. A surprising 70% of entry-level associates who leave their firms do so within five years of arrival.
On the surface it may seem like Millennials don’t want to work (long) but that isn’t the case. They simply want a flexible workplace that complements their specialized skill sets.
So, who are Millennials and what do they need?
Attributes of Millennial Attorneys:
While the age ranges are debated, Millennials are the young lawyers in their late 20’s and early 30’s. They were the first generation to enjoy widespread access to computers and the internet and, as a result, developed a different skill set than their older counterparts. In addition to being networking ninjas—an asset to any law firm—Millennials are:
- Technologically Advanced: This generation understands technology and knows how to use it to their advantage. Millennials conduct research quickly and efficiently and can pretty much prepare legal documents in their sleep.
- Comfortable with Rapid Change: Millennials haven’t always been connected—that’s what makes this generation unique. They experienced and embraced a sudden technological shift and are accustomed to fast-paced environments and tight deadlines.
- Multi-taskers: What might look like a distracted young attorney is more likely to be a master multi-tasker. Millennials aren’t just more comfortable using multiple devices to complete tasks; they’re more productive when they do so.
- Family Oriented: This generation experienced a significant rise in dual partner work lives, meaning a delicate balance between home and family responsibilities. And they like it that way. Millennials are considered more family-centric than previous generations.
- Collaborators: This is a generation raised with team sports, school clubs, group projects and social networking. Millennials attorneys like tackling cases together and value collaborative activities that encourage teamwork.
What Millennials Need in a Workplace
Millennial attorneys need a workplace environment where they can utilize their specialized skill set. In every industry, work is changing, and law firms that adapt will reap the benefits of recruiting and retaining top talent.
So what do Millennials want?
- Flexibility: A flexible schedule is very important to Millennials. In fact, 69% feel that regular office hours are unnecessary and 50% consider themselves available for work 24/7 via email and phone. A Millenial attorney’s ability to transcend the boundaries of his or her office is not just characteristic of their generation–it’s a quality that, if channeled properly, could prove itself invaluable. With a case management software that can be accessed from any computer or mobile device, like PracticePanther, you’ll be able to quite literally take your entire practice with you wherever you go, allowing you to decide exactly what hours work best for your work.
- Team collaboration: Millennial attorneys aren’t necessarily looking for the big corner office. They like open office spaces where they can collaborate, and believe they are more motivated (and productive) when working as a team.
- Technology: If a law firm has outdated technology, young lawyers are going to take a hard pass. A recent poll reports that 93% of millennials said updated technology was important to them, and 48% considered it extremely important.
- Diversity: This generation is more diverse than previous generations—48% of Millennials report ethnic diversity compared to 28% of Baby Boomers. They expect a workplace that accurately reflects the faces of society.
- Financial Planning: Millennials learned a hard lesson in economics during the recession, and they’re focused on financial planning. Law firms offering benefits like Tuition Assistance and matching 401k plans will fare well with this generation.
Millennial attorneys are a diverse population of professionals who will shape the future of law. Firms offering flexibility, collaboration, and diversity while providing updated technology and long-term financial incentives will find that Millennials are a loyal and hardworking generation too.