Meet the expectations of millennial attorneys

The global business consulting group of Cushman & Wakefield estimates that in just six years, more than half of all law offices around the U.S. will be filled with a generation notorious for killing off entire industries and spending an excess amount on avocados. 

All jokes aside, Millennials have received their fair share of criticism over the past decade, being described as “lazy” and “entitled” when it comes to how they work and live. In reality, Millennial attorneys aren’t looking for bean bags and foosball tables in the office. Their requests are far more practical.

They understand technology, look to it for answers and expect firms to provide the most up-to-date systems and processes.

HR solutions company TriNet found that nearly 90 percent of Millennials would feel more confident if they received regular check-ins with their superiors. Although independent, this generation of attorneys is still looking to learn and find guidance from firm leadership.

The 2019 Mindset of the Millennial Law Student Report found that when law school students were asked to rank various firm attributes, 85 percent said work/life balance was important to them. 

Despite this reality, many law firms lack insight into the generation, which creates challenges for appealing to and retaining Millennials. According to the Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute’s 2019 State of U.S. Small Law Firms Report, 66 percent of attorneys stated technology was the biggest difference among lawyers of different generations, followed closely by work/life balance with 58 percent.

What these numbers show is that what worked in the past for your firm might not hit the mark for your Millennial attorneys. By recognizing the difference between previous generations and this group of talent, your law firms will be better positioned to meet their expectations. Focus on taking these small, yet effective, steps to motivate and inspire attorneys in your firm.

Provide tools to work smarter
The life of any attorney typically means working untraditional business hours. But offering ways for employees to work in their own time and own space make long hours easier to handle. Legal software such as cloud-based applications, online chat and call services and AI research tools all aid in increased productivity, even when someone might not be in a physical office. This is especially important to Millennials, with 93 percent reporting that working for a company with updated technology, services and solutions was an important factor when choosing a workplace. 

Increase office engagement
Engaged employees are 87 percent less likely to quit their jobs. Finding ways to incorporate engagement in the office doesn’t have to be a difficult task. It could be as simple as setting up monthly happy hours, birthday parties or work anniversary celebrations. And remember to seek your associates’ input on cases, projects and business development efforts. Millennials want to know their voice is being heard. Taking an interest in their opinions is a surefire way to increase workplace satisfaction while decreasing the threat of turnover.

Implement 360-feedback
According to How Millennials Want to Work and Live, only 17 percent of Millennials say feedback they receive from superiors is meaningful. Because guidance is essential for this generation, firms need to have a clear and frequent way of providing genuine feedback. Methods such as 360-feedback allow each attorney the opportunity to share their opinions with others in the office, creating transparency between leadership and associates while helping promote consistent and open communication in the office. 

Get more insights on law firm culture

For more information on ways to create the right work/life balance for attorneys of any generation, read the Thomson Reuters white paper, “Striking the right balance between work and home”