Millennials have been the butt of jokes for at least ten years now. A funny thing happened in that same period though. The millennials grew up!
That presents a problem for people in the business world, including attorneys. Those “lazy young millennials” we’ve all been joking about? They’re your new customers. Your new clients. Your new colleagues. Your new hiring pool.
And they aren’t going anywhere. On the contrary, they outnumber their elder generations, and they’ve gone from punchline to major economic force in the blink of an eye.
So perhaps the time has to come to reconsider our perceptions of millennials and our willingness to take them seriously.
Today, we present the first in a two-part series that considers the role millennials play in the legal market — both as new hires (in this, Part 1) and as high-value clients (later this month, in Part 2).
As it turns out, they might be the single best opportunity your competitors aren’t exploring or targeting.
Who Are the Millennials in 2017-2018?
Conjure up an image of a millennial in your mind. Who do you see? A college student posing for a selfie while driving 90 miles per hour to the nearest Starbucks for an all-day latte binge?
That’s the stereotype, but the real millennials — the ones who can help make you money— look more like this:
- Ages 20 to 36 (born between 1981 and 1997 (give or take) depending on the definition you use)
- Parents with possibly more children on the way
- Recipients of advance degrees
- Project leaders, managers, etc.
- Community activists
- Caretakers for their aging parents
- The primary decision makers for their households
In other words, just like every generation of young people before them, millennials have matured into full-fledged adults. Many of them are smart, vibrant, hip to the latest trends, and have a lot to offer as members of your firm.
“But why should I invest in a Millennial if they’re inexperienced, or if they’re going to leave us in two years?”
We hear you, but look, there’s nothing unique to millennials about that concern.
You’ll find unmotivated or unqualified people in every generation, and with any new hire, there’s always the risk that they’ll move on to a new opportunity in a short period of time regardless of age.
So don’t miss out on a promising field of applicants — not to mention the largest field of applicants! Instead, trust your hiring instincts and choose the best person for the job, even if they belong to the millennial generation.
How Do You Hire a “Good” Millennial?
We’re going to let you in on a little secret… hiring a good millennial really isn’t any different than hiring any other good employee. You’re still looking for the same skill set, the same personality, and the same strengths of character. And you can absolutely find all those things among millennials.
Of course, you might want to figure out what you mean by “good.” We recommend making a list of the attributes you’d like to find in your next hire. For example:
- Hard worker
- Spends time in the office vs. working remotely
- A great researcher
- Writing experience
- Previous law firm experience
- An established book of business (less common among millennials, but not unheard of)
- Detail-oriented focus
- A “Yes man / woman” vs. someone who challenges your firm to do things differently and contributes to its success!
Next, we suggest ranking your list of attributes in order of what matters to you the most. Voila, you have a hiring rubric. And it really doesn’t have to look much different for millennials than for anyone else.
The Benefits of Hiring Millennials for Your Law Firm
Whether you’re looking for a new paralegal, support staff member, or an associate attorney, there are several compelling reasons for considering a millennial’s application.
For starters, as we’ll touch on in Part 2, millennials are going to comprise a larger and larger portion of your client base in the years ahead. Having millennials on staff can help your firm seem diverse, approachable, and “with the times.”
Millennials bring different perspectives and new ideas to the table too. They grew up in the internet era. They are digital natives. They’re tech savvy. The lessons of law school are still fresh on their minds.
The right millennial hire could ultimately become the person who suggests the next game-changing idea for your firm. Never resist innovation or new schools of thought!
Talk to Our Experts for Tips on Becoming a Millennial-Friendly Law Firm
The bottom line is that millennials are here, and they’re old enough and populous enough now that your business can’t afford to ignore them.
The majority of the work force is not going to adapt to you. So you should start thinking of ways to adapt to them. That might mean a modest evolution for your law firm, a change in the way you think about this once-maligned generation, and maybe even new employment incentives to ensure you recruit the best of the best from their age group. After all, plenty of other organizations (including law firms) are already embracing them.
Later this month, we’ll look at why millennials are an imperative but oft-overlooked client demographic for attorneys (especially in the personal injury market). This is something we talk to our clients about all the time.
Network Affiliates is a leading legal marketing agency with more than 35 years of expertise in our field. Part of our job is to identify trends and help our clients respond to them creatively and proactively.
Undoubtedly, the emerging millennial market is one of the most pressing trends in the legal sector right now, and there’s so much you can do — from your hiring to your messaging to your client intake procedures — to make sure you capitalize on this ripe opportunity.