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Law360: 3 Secrets to Retaining Millennial Attorneys

law360In the September 13, 2016 edition of Law360, reporter Kevin Penton writes on 3 Secrets to Retaining Millennial Attorneys. He interviewed me, along with Michael Di Gennero, a senior director with Lateral Link, a recruiting agency; and Danielle Goldstone, a senior consultant with Laurence Simons, a legal and compliance recruiting firm.

In a nutshell, the three tips amounted to expanding options for advancement, being flexible, and being wary of change. The conversation with law firm management regarding what is needed to attract and maintain millennial talent seemingly occurs every day. I’m not sure I agreed with Di Gennero’s take that younger associates want to stay long term but are pushed out by advancement policies. I think the last three associates I worked with extensively at (smaller) firms have already bolted. I don’t think it was me…and each time I was told that it simply wasn’t “a fit.”

I agreed with Goldstone on the importance of work-life balance, with a realistic amount of vacation and personal days—assuming you are really allowed to take them. There is a difference between being given the time and being allowed to actually use it—without “penalty.”

Younger attorneys are generally not as interested in being offered a membership to a country club as they are in having access to benefits such as longer vacation hours, paid parental leave, child care, job training or flexible working arrangements, said Micah Buchdahl, president of HTMLawyers Inc., a law marketing company.

Another topic I discussed with Penton was the law firms that don’t have any interest in changing…and seek those that desire what they’d consider to be more traditional things. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

“They’re folks who are often described within the firm as being old-fashioned,” Buchdahl said. “Their attitudes are the same as that of a law student coming out 10 years ago.”

In the end, I’d say to make sure that the firm culture and approach to a 2016 workplace matches up with your personal professional development plan.