Those Kids Want It All Right Now

The words echoing in the mouths –and thoughts — of the entrenched baby boomers and remaining first generation founding partners at firms are not all that flattering about today’s young lawyers. When asked to describe these Gen Y lawyers, we hear laments like,

“No fire in the belly”
“Not willing to work hard for what they want”
“Want everything now — not willing to wait”
“The office is dark at 5:30 and on weekends”
“No loyalty”

But make no mistake. This generation will take over our firms, and they will transform it to meet their own needs. The question is how peaceful a change will it be at your firm? How prepared to change, in order to hold onto this generation of talent, is your firm ? Or are you going to live in denial, and fight it to your own bitter end?

Arnie Herz has been posting such questions lately on his blog, Legal Sanity, and linking to additional good food for thought. Take a look at his post entitled “what will drive change in law firm culture?” and “can law firms change to meet lawyer-user demand?” in which he succinctly states, “Change is an inevitable part of life. Sometimes we refuse to do it until we’re sufficiently jolted by an event or experience that leaves us with no other choice. . . . I’m more convinced than ever that the time is ripe for law schools and law firms to welcome and engage the conversation about changes they need to make to sustain the legal profession into the future. There are plenty of current and pending lawyers who are ready, willing and able to share their ideas and insights on the issue. ”

No doubt about it, change is in the wind. It is inevitable. My way or the highway will not work for firms which want to survive. Talk to these young lawyers. Understand what they want and need. Law firm leaders need to work to find ways to peaceably incorporate change into your firm to accommodate a new model.

Lots of food for thought.


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