Women Are More Critical Than Men of Law Firm Management, Compensation Structure and Business Model
Hanover, MD – April 4, 2019 – A new study conducted by Major, Lindsey & Africa in conjunction with Above the Law showed that 40% of millennial lawyers view partnership as their long-term career goal. That number is far higher than that of any alternative career path. Millennials’ interest in becoming partner comes despite the belief that partnership is much less desirable than it was a generation ago and that the law firm business model itself is fundamentally broken. The survey polled more than 1,200 Above the Law readers from U.S. law firms.
“There’s no question that this generation operates differently than their predecessors, and the law firms that are best situated for future growth are the ones that are open to changing the status quo,” said Ru Bhatt, Managing Director in Major, Lindsey & Africa’s Associate Practice Group. “Law firms need to work with millennials to address their concerns or otherwise risk putting themselves at a disadvantage for attracting talent in a highly competitive market.”
The survey also reveals key differences in the experiences of male and female attorneys. When asked how long they would like to work at their current firm, 33% of male respondents said they want to make partner at their current firm, compared to 26% of female respondents. Meanwhile, after partnership, men are more likely to see themselves as in-house counsel in 10 years, whereas women aspire to go into non-profit and government work.
The difference between the perspectives of men and women are most visibly pronounced on issues such as sexism in the workplace and the gender pay gap. 45% of women strongly agreed that law firm culture is sexist, compared to just 14% of men. Meanwhile 56% of women, and only 18% of men, strongly agreed that there is a gender pay gap. Women were also more likely to prioritize diversity and inclusion: 63% of women strongly agree that a diverse and inclusive workforce should be a priority compared to 37% of men. Women across the board were more critical of law firm culture, compensation structure, and business model.
“It’s clear that men and women have different priorities, which suggests that there may be internal friction and growing pains as firms continue to evolve,” said Michelle Fivel, a Partner in the Associate Practice Group of Major, Lindsey & Africa. “Balancing their unique interests and concerns will need to be top of mind for law firm management as the field continues to grow more diverse.”
Additional key findings include:
The full text of Major, Lindsey & Africa’s 2019 Millennial Associate Survey: New Expectations, Evolving Beliefs and Shifting Career Goals is available here.
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