Trying to Recruit Gen Y Lawyers? Focus on Innovation and Lifestyle Rather than Tradition

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Law firms recruiting Generation Y lawyers may want to cut the description of their history and tradition on their websites and brochures.

Lawyers in Generation Y—which includes those up to 30 years old—typically have an expectation of change, according to Ballard Spahr diversity director Virginia Essandoh, in an article for the National Law Journal. They support innovation and creativity, expect up-to-date technology, and have a sense of fair play and civic responsibility.

Lawyers in this generation may also have an affinity for Baby Boomer lawyers—those between the ages of 47 and 65—because of close relationships with their parents.

Law firms need to keep these traits in mind in their efforts to recruit and retain lawyers from this generation, Essandoh advises. Rather than emphasizing law firm history, employers should focus on innovation, mentoring, training, lifestyle and work-life balance benefits, she says. Gen Ys will appreciate nonfinancial rewards such as flexible work schedules, gym memberships, and services that save time, according to Essandoh’s article.

It may help if the perks will impress the parents of Generation Y lawyers, since parental opinions may be important as new lawyers choose the law firms where they want to work, Essandoh says. Parents may be more likely to endorse a firm that demonstrates concern for the well-being of its associates with wellness programs, cab vouchers, and dinner programs for late-night work, she writes.

Feedback is also important to this generation, which craves communication and transparency, according to Essandoh. Be careful about negative feedback, however. “Receiving less than the top grade without explanation could cause motivation and engagement levels to drop quickly,” she says.

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