The next generation of law firm leadership will be Millennials. They are the next big hit for law firms. The Millennial Shift is inevitable, and it’s already happening. Millennials, are also known as Generation Y following Generation X and preceding Generation Z.
Researchers and popular media use the early 1980s as starting birth years and the mid-1990s to early 2000s as ending birth years, with 1981 to 1996 a widely accepted defining range for the generation. Most millennials are the children of baby boomers and often the parents of Generation Alpha.
This generation is widely regarded for its familiarity with the Internet, mobile devices, and social media, which is why they are sometimes termed: digital natives.
The Millennial Shift might worry some folks who are currently in leadership roles or are shareholders. You may believe Millennial Attorneys are lazy and have little to no work ethic. You may believe Millennial Attorneys are too impatient and unwilling to pay their dues. You may also believe Millennial Attorneys need to be coddled and receive constant positive reinforcement or that they are arrogant and too willing to leave one firm for another. Let me tell you now: you’re right, but you need a few little tweaks.
The Millennial Shift presents a great competitive opportunity for today’s law firm.
While every generation has its pluses and minuses, Millennials have an edge over most everyone else in the workplace. This edge sets them up for success on the job–and in life in general. Here are some specific advantages Millennials have over their co-workers.
Millennials aren’t just there out of necessity. In fact, 65% of them say that personal development is the most important factor in their careers. They are eager to learn, and they want to grow. They’re intrinsically motivated to succeed. The paycheck isn’t the important thing here–they will succeed because they want to, and because it’s important to them.
Millennials, due to their timely generation of birth, are usually very well versed in technology. They are able to pick up skills which are much more difficult for their older co-workers to process at the drop of a hat. The remarkably fast technology uptake rate of Millennials is something that cannot be ignored. While millennials are indeed tech-savvy and social-media hungry, they grew up in this fast-paced environment,” Wang says. “Which means they’re used to having to make this distinction between what’s personal and what’s work.” Millennials have also grown up with social media, and they understand it better than any generation ever has. They also understand the potential it has to spread awareness and information. After all, social media is their life.
Compared to past generations, Millennials are the most educated generation in history. Pursuing higher and higher levels of education can only set up future generations for the better, creating a ripple effect that will last long into the future.
Many think of this generation as having a “me first” attitude, but that’s simply not so. In fact, in the office, other generations were dubbed “The Me Generation(s)”–but millennials have been graced as “The We Generation”. Millennials are generally great with teamwork and collaboration, as long as it helps them create the best work.
Millennials are often known to be impatient, wanting everything right away (after all, it’s the generation that has grown up with any piece of information at their fingertips with the advent of the World Wide Web). However, this makes millennials tenacious in the workplace, constantly working towards finding answers and getting things done as soon as possible.
Although often viewed as both a blessing and a curse, the ability to multitask is undeniably useful in everyday life. Trying to balance a hundred things at once is something not everyone can do–and something that Millennials easily do best. With the plethora of stimulation at their fingertips, it makes sense that millennials have developed the useful tool of compartmentalizing to achieve maximum efficiency.
Millennials are digital natives, meaning that they’ve practically grown up with the rise of social media. As companies evolve to have a more online presence, millennials are already waiting on the other side of the finish line, ready to use our social media expertise in the workplace.
As a law firm with its eyes on the future and considering the current state of the global crisis brought about by the pandemic, it will be a wise move to harness the advantages you can get from millennials in your firm.