The first time law firms found themselves fighting with the technology industry for talent, it was the 1990s. Tech startups offered stock options, the chance to work on cutting-edge matters and a suit-free office environment. “At that point we were losing pretty junior folks directly to true startups,” recalls a management committee member of an Am Law 25 firm. “It was a real cosmic shift in our talent pool [and] drove cultural change like law firms going business casual.”

In the age of the millennial generation, tech is again a tough rival to law firms’ associate recruitment and retention efforts. Leaders at firm after firm point to technology companies as the biggest draw for young associates who are looking to make a change. But this time, it’s different.

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