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Law360: How to Manage the Millennial Lawyer

law360.jpgIn today’s Law360, reporter Matthew Bultman writes on How to Manage the Millennial Lawyer. This is certainly one of the years’ hottest law firm management topics, and my interview with Matthew came on the heels of my panel participation in Bridging the Generational Divide: How Millennials Can Communicate with Baby Boomers and Succeed in the Workplace at the recent ABA Business Law Spring Meeting in Montreal.

“Running a major law firm has always had its challenges, but firm leaders in recent years have found themselves facing a new question: how to best manage millennials, a tech-savvy generation that values flexibility and wants meaning in work,” writes Bultman. “The truth of stereotypes around millennials — that they’re entitled, job hoppers, nonconformist — is debatable. But what is true, according to the Pew Research Center, is that the generation now makes up the largest section of the workforce.”

“You can’t keep things status quo or business as usual,” said Micah Buchdahl, the president of law marketing company HTMLawyers Inc. “There is a realization in BigLaw that you have to make these shifts if you’re going to attract the same caliber of talent you always have. A failure to do that will not put you in the market for the best talent that’s out there.”

Among the topics that the article addresses is the realization that at some point these millennial lawyers will be leaving your law firm. Loyalty is a two-way street–and the belief by some is that neither party are fully committing to the other. The concept of the “cradle to grave” law firm gig is extremely rare.

“Nobody on either side believes you’re coming in for life,” Buchdahl said. “The expectation is you’re going to take a job and get experience, and take another job and get more experience.”

Another concept highlighted is the need for instant gratification and quick feedback. There is also an expectation that your voice will be heard by management. In the end, to a great extent, it is about providing meaning beyond comp.

Embrace their love of technology. Make sure work-life balance is real, with serious flexibility from hours logged to time in the office. And as I’m quoted in saying, “One of the millennial traits that often comes out is the dollar is not the driving force. So people are really looking closer at other elements and components.”