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The Young and the Restless

If your firm has been spending big bucks on branding, paying fat bonuses or packing associates off for courses at Harvard Business School, too bad, so sad! You've just wasted your partners' hard-earned money.

Rather than those high-priced items, young lawyers care much more about squishier things like firm culture and work/life balance, according to a new survey of more than 1,200 lawyers (over 90 percent of the respondents were associates).

So does that mean that associates want to revolutionize Big Law or eventually drop out entirely?


Here are some highlights from the Major, Lindsey & Africa survey:

  • Firm culture ranks as the No. 1 factor in millennials' calculation about job offers.
  • Work/life balance is the second most important factor.
  • Only 50 percent ranked compensation as a key factor.
  • The least important considerations are the firm's prestige and training.

To me, these young lawyers are either delusional or lying through their teeth. Or just a bundle of contradictions.

Get this: Despite reports that millennials are disillusioned with the game, an astonishing 44 percent predict that they will be law firm partners (34 percent expect to do so at their current firm). What's more, 66 percent say they are "confident" or "very confident" that they will achieve their career goals.

What's with the high self-regard? Unlike many of their predecessors, this group truly wants to be lawyers, says MLA partner Michelle Fivel, one of the study's authors. "They chose to go to law school during or after the recession. They went in with their eyes wide open."

Another surprise: This generation is more smitten with making partner than going in-house. "There's been a shift, and they understand there's more stability with firms," says Ru Bhatt, an MLA managing director who co-authored the report. "They feel better informed about firms," adds Bhatt, noting that law firm compensation has been steadily rising.



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