A topic which is very relevant to the legal industry at the moment is that of the millennial generation, i.e. those who are anywhere between the ages of 18 and 35 this year: not only are they going to become the next generation of buyers, but the next generation of employees as well. Are traditional law firms prepared for this generation? "Millennials" as they are known, have different goals when it comes to where and how they want to work, because their life pressures are different. Although this article focuses on the US market, UK millennials find themselves in a similar situation; they are mobile, diverse, entrepreneurial, highly educated (and in debt as a result). Partnership is no longer the driving force and the holy grail.
The NewLaw market has partly evolved to try and accommodate what the Millennial generation are looking for, as this article highlights this, BigLaw has not addressed their issues and therefore succession is going to become a bigger and bigger concern, especially because the equity partnership structure depends on the pyramid structure and the next intake of lawyers. It is time to consider how to evolve law firm structures and working practices to attract and retain this next generation of talent.
Patricia Gillette, counsel and former partner at Orrick, contends that the situation for law firms "is far more dire than the industry realizes. We have to have a big influx of people every year," she says, "and if they start leaving after the third or fifth year, that is really problematic for the model, which is why the model has to change." [see Dicta, page 78].