I was attending a marketing event last week and we all got to talking about the reaction of the old guard to the new generation of lawyers entering law firms today. One of the attendees Dorothy Sitek shared one take on the generation gap that she in turn picked up from a presentation by business coach Karen Elliot:
These professionals entering the work force today are your children. You were the ones who raised them. And how did you raise them? You raised them to contribute to the conversation at the dinner table. You raised them to have an opinion, and to know how to express it. You raised them to be confident and to value themselves.
What are these new associates looking for? More then anything mentorship, training, and a place where they can contribute and where they feel valued.
Our law firms haven’t traditionally been great at these things. So as Blane Prescott of Hildebrand writes, if you really want to invest in associate retention at your law firm the first place to invest is in training your partners to be good mentors. And the second is in investing in training programs and coaching for your associates to give them the support that they value.
My view is that money becomes the bottom line for associates only when other needs are not being met. More than anything these new associates are looking for a place to put down roots and build a practice. The important question this raises for senior partners out to bring in talented new recruits: “Does your law firm provide fertile ground for growing a practice? “