This story is part of a series exploring how law firms and others in the legal industry are adapting to manage their millennial workers, from recruitment and real estate to training and technology and beyond. Read our overview here.
Millennials make up about only 31 percent of the lawyers at most of the biggest firms in seven of Florida’s largest cities—a smaller number than the national average of 43 percent.
According to date collected by ALM Intelligence, millennials are now the largest generational group of lawyers at large and midsize firms across the United States. At the national level, millennials (ages 18 to 36) outnumber the 33 percent of lawyers from Generation X (ages 37 to 52) at firms in the Am Law 200 and The National Law Journal’s NLJ 500. They also outnumber the 22 percent of baby boomers, the data shows.
In Florida, however, millennials make up a smaller percentage—in part because some of the nation’s larger firms have smaller outposts in the state. The largest firms tend to employ the greatest percentage of associates, and therefore millennials. Also, the data does not include Holland & Knight, one of the largest firms in the state.
Of the seven Florida cities included in the research, large to midsize firms in Miami employed the largest number of millennial lawyers—781—or 35 percent of the total number of lawyers at those firms. Their offices in Pensacola, which had a considerably smaller overall headcount, actually employed a larger percentage of millennials—36 percent. In Orlando, 29 percent of the lawyers in firms of that size are millennials.
At the large firms in Jacksonville, 34 percent of lawyers are millennials, while in Tampa, millennials make up 33 percent of the lawyers. In Naples, the proportion of millennials at larger firms is 28 percent.
The Role of the Legal Sector
Bridget Maguire, founder and CEO of Premier Legal Advantage, a legal recruiting firm that services the Am Law 200, said the difference in the proportion of millennials from one region of the country to another is driven at least in part by a region’s predominant legal sector.
For instance, the smallest percentage of millennial lawyers in Florida—23 percent—is at firms in Tallahassee, the state capital. This is attributable at least in part to the fact that a considerable amount of government relations work is done there—a practice area for which firms tend to hire laterals with more experience or who have established contacts.
Another factor, according to Maguire, is that Florida is not a major deal center. Although an increasing number of big deals have been coming to South Florida, the kind of major deals where young lawyers gain experience, confidence, training, clients and direction are largely done in New York.
“The major money center cities are still the draw for people to develop their careers because there is a greater volume of work in New York that can subsidize the growth and development of a young attorney’s practice,” Maguire said.
And then there is just size. The largest firms in terms of numbers of lawyers or profits per partner tend to have larger offices in key U.S. cities such as New York, Washington and Chicago. Those also tend to be the firms that have the highest proportion of millennials.
“While it’s growing, the Miami legal market has a tendency to have offices that are on the smaller side when you compare them to offices in New York, Chicago and Washington,” Maguire said.