Published: Mar 15, 2011
Want a bunch of opinionated, do-gooder, technology-driven, confident, creative lawyers on your team? No? Well too bad because Generation Y is on the legal career scene (and has been for several years). And if you want to hire and retain this bunch, you’re gonna have to start thinking a bit differently. At least, that’s what Virginia Essandoh, diversity director at Ballard Spahr, advises.
According to Essandoh, Generation Y attorneys can generally be described as follows:
Lawyers in this group are 25 to 30 years old. Younger Gen Ys will be summer associates this year. They are skilled multitaskers, confident, team oriented and eager to please. Networking for them looks nothing like that of generations past -- a fact rife with implications for business development. Their sense of time is similarly unique, given the immediacy of information today. Like many Gen Xers, they attended law schools where women were a majority, and they expect diversity in their firms. And, similar to Boomers, Gen Y wants "what is best for everyone."
See Gen Y isn’t that bad—they’re multi-tasking pros, like to make people happy and play well with others. So how can you attract Gen Y attorneys to your team? Check out the below tips based on Essandoh’s analysis of the new generation of lawyers.
1.Embrace Technology. Generation Y is all about the latest in technology. If you want to impress this group, make sure that you keep up-to-date on equipment and technology trends.
2.Get a Life. Generation Y isn’t as impressed by a firm’s history and traditions—this generation wants to know how the firm fits into their lives. When recruiting, emphasize your firm’s work/life benefits, lifestyle attitude, mentoring offerings and attorney development. You can wow them with “nonfinancial rewards such as flexible work schedules, gym memberships, and cost saving/time saving services.”
3.Give a Little, Get a Gen Y. Members of Generation Y like to give back, so they’re going to look for firms that value public service. Promote your pro bono efforts while recruiting Gen Yers. And put the talk into practice—offer your attorneys ample pro bono opportunities.
4.Give Feedback. Generation Y is accustomed to instant access to information, meaning silence is not golden for this group. This generation also aims to please. Put those together, and you’ve got a bunch of eager attorneys seeking immediate feedback. Explain the review process to them, and advise them not to stress about the lack of instant feedback. But also push senior attorneys to get more transparent and provide informal feedback outside of the traditional reviews.
5.Play and Work Hard Together. Generation Y values team work and collegiality. Show them that your firm has a collaborative attitude on-the-job and is friendly outside of work.
Virginia Essendoh’s Article on Law.com
ABA Journal Source
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We’re under no illusions that this post is the first to address the question of what makes a “good” junior associate (given that a quick Google search will reveal numerous identical-sounding pieces). What makes this post different is the simplicity of our suggestions that can help you from Day One.
Being a lawyer is stressful. Many factors—demanding workloads, long hours, deadlines, billable hour requirements, pressure to secure favorable outcomes for clients, student loan debt, the demands of keeping up with ever-changing law, and innumerable others—contribute to this.