It doesn’t matter which form of media you prefer to consume, you’ve probably heard about “The Millennials.” Newsflash: They’re already in your law firm.I’m Roy Strom, the millennial author of this weekly Law.com briefing on the changing Big Law business model. You can reach me to expel your angst about millennials here: [email protected] .
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Newsflash: The Millennials Are Coming. And Big Law Isn’t Ready
On some very basic level, LinkedIn seems like a great place for millennials. It’s “social.” It’s “media.” That’s all the rave. Right?I don’t really know. I know you can find stories about millennials killing LinkedIn . They want to kill almost everything !I’m a millennial (against killing) but I wouldn’t say I’m a big LinkedIn person. I’ve clicked “connect” on about 10 profiles in the past year, yet I’ve amassed 688 “connections” at the moment. I do know this: Lawyers are all about LinkedIn. I became fully convinced of this on Christmas last year, when I received at least a dozen invites to connect. It was as if lawyers finally had some down time and they spent it hunting for connections on LinkedIn. Could be worse, Buzzfeed tells me !All of which is to say two things: There is probably a disconnect between “millennials” and “lawyers.” But Aly Háji, a recent law and MBA graduate from Canada’s McGill University in Montreal, picked a good place to release notes on his graduate work study of millennials and Big Law: “An Exodus Explained: Millennials at Law Firms.”Háji’s survey of millennials at law firms and law firm leaders showed a common theme that should be troubling to law firm management: On every question he asked, millennials had a dimmer view of law firms than the law firm leaders.Asked to rate whether traditional law firms were “the ideal” work environment for millennials, millennials responded with an average of “3,” while law firm leaders were closer to a “4.” It was the same story when asked if law firms had adapted to the unique needs and values of millennials. The latter thought less had been done on that front than their leaders.Háji said those answers reflect an “urgent need” to implement strategies to align law firm culture with younger lawyers. But when asked about various strategies that could accomplish that, the same story emerged: Leaders thought more had been done than the millennials.The widest gap came with regards to something I’ve written about in the past and still think is one of the best ways for law firms to cater to younger lawyers: Giving millennials channels to bring their ideas forward and promote those ideas within a firm. On that score, leaders gave their firms a score of about 4.2, indicating at least “discussion” had been had about the idea. Millennials answered with a 2.5, indicating there was at least “awareness” but no “discussion” of that idea.I’m not really surprised there is a gap in how law firm leaders and younger lawyers view their law firms, since they can’t even agree on LinkedIn. But I do think Háji’s study is one more reason for law firm management to spend more time listening to younger lawyers and investing in their careers in Big Law. I’ve written before about training and mentoring programs that would go a long way toward accomplishing that goal.Hopefully the disconnect does not lead to more law firms fighting with talented young lawyers as they try to leave. That’s also something being written about lately . You can learn more about Háji’s study by listening to his recent interview with “Building New Law,” a podcast sponsored by Counter Tax Law that has had some well-known guests in the legal innovation space.
Roy’s Reading Corner
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