Associates with three to five years of experience continue to be in high demand and, despite usually falling into the often-maligned millennial generation, they aren’t behaving differently than their predecessors.
The market is looking for attorneys with this experience level right now, according to Randi Lewis, managing director of the law firm practice group at Major, Lindsey and Africa, and that demand is not new. Attorneys with at least a couple of years with a firm have earned enough experience to be comfortable and knowledgeable but still have room to grow and be trained at a new job.
“Typically, people come into a practice area but it just takes a couple of years for you to do things more than once, more than twice, more than three times, to be comfortable knowing what you’re doing,” she said.
Lewis said attorneys in that three-to-five-year range who are thinking about moving need to do so now.
“People kind of learn the hard way because they’re eight years out and they start looking and find out they’re not want the market wants,” she said.
Millennials, defined by the Pew Research Center as individuals born between 1981 and 1996, are between 22 and 37 this year. Pew found millennials made up the largest share of the workforce in 2015. Many do not identify with the term and are more likely to ascribe negative attributes to their own generation.
But Lewis was hesitant to paint millennial attorneys with a broad brush. She stressed there is no one-size-fits-all legal career.
“I really think it depends what people’s goals are rather than whether they’re millennials or not,” she said.
For the most part, Lewis said, if attorneys like their firm’s culture and believe they have good opportunities, they want to stay.
“I do think that millennials, just like any other generation of attorneys, do have loyalty to their firms if their firms are treating them right and they have a good culture,” Lewis said.