Law firms lose about $1 billion annually because of attrition, according to Thomson West. Being a young lawyer is marginally better than being a young investment banker (I have only landed in the hospital 2 or 3 times for overworking – I assume it’s a much more regular occurrence with bankers). But practicing law is still a tough gig.
And while my eyes usually glaze over whenever I see anything with “Millennial” in the title, this article from American Bar Association connects some dots for scenarios that I’ve seen play out repeatedly. In the span of a couple years, our firm lost a cadre of young lawyers – not to other firms or companies – but to become distillery owners, grant-writers, ultimate Frisbee managers, MFA students… the list goes on.
Here are some pointers worth thinking about:
– A Millennial lawyer will leave a job, not just when he or she is unhappy, but when he or she is not happy enough.
– Give associates time & space to integrate their personal & professional lives (“work-life balance” is so Gen-X).
– Figure out a real way to mentor new lawyers.
– Empower associates to contribute immediately.
– Focus on “doing well by doing good.” The days of asking an associate, “If you can use the hours, I could really use your help on a new deal,” are over. Instead, try this approach: “If you’re interested in helping an interesting client, I’ve got a great deal for us.”
That last one made me laugh because that quote is specifically mentioned in Broc & John’s “101 Pro Tips – Career Advice for the Ages” (but not quite in the way that you’d think). One of the most empowering things you can do for these new lawyers is to help them take control of their own careers – and recognize the benefits of sticking with it.
-Liz Dunshee, TheCorporateCounsel.net December 13, 2019