Building Loyalty with Millennials in the Legal Department

October 13, 2016

summer associatesBy the year 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce, and, therefore, 75% of legal departments. According to a recent report from Thomson Reuters, the biggest concern regarding Millennials is loyalty. So what can you do now to ensure you attract and retain the best Millennial talent? Three areas stand out:

Technology
Millennials’ comfort with technology reflects how they have grown up. Theirs is the first genuinely digital and global generation; millennials have never known a world without the Internet. Legal department leaders should take advantage of millennials’ tech savviness as emerging technologies continue to change the practice of law. For example, millennials’ technological expertise can be invaluable to legal departments that are implementing workflow or metrics software. Millennials’ comfort with technology also may make them more open to changes like the use of artificial intelligence in the practice of law. By providing the opportunity to lead in this area, millennials will understand the value they provide to the department; according to the report, bringing value is another key aspect that millennials look for in a position.

Decision Making
In-house teams can benefit from millennials’ desire to be more involved in the decision-making processes of legal departments. Bruce Tulgan, founder of RainmakerThinking, explains what millennials bring to the table: “They’re great at looking for ways to change, improve and improvise, which does lead to innovation.” While this may go against baby boomers’ inclination that less-experienced employees should “pay their dues” to earn a place at the table, millennials most likely view it more as another opportunity to personally make a difference at their work..

Mentoring and Work/Life Balance
Mentors, as well as work/life balance, are strongly valued by millennials. The importance they ascribe to both mentorship and work/life balance reflects the emphasis millennials place on relationships. At work, they want to interact with peers and mentors; they appreciate formal coaching opportunities as well as colleagues’ input on day-to-day work processes. Growing up with technology means millennials are accustomed to having information at their fingertips, but – especially early in their careers – they need guidance on what to do with it all.

As long as millennials believe that they’re making a difference at work, they may remain content in their current position; when they feel either that they’ve done all they can, or they’re encountering too many obstacles to making their mark, they’ll explore other positions.


 

Learn more about the generational shift and what you can do to prepare your department for Millennials in The Generational Shift in Legal Departments: Working with Millennials and Avoiding Baby Boomer Brain Drain.

Part of the Legal Department 2025 Series