Managing Client Needs with Cross-Generational Leadership

Source: The National Law Review

By Eilene Spear

Everyone knows the generational stereotypes: Baby boomers are loyal and hardworking, people who believe in putting your nose to the grindstone and getting work done but who may have a difficult time working the latest mobile technology. Gen Xers are independent and skeptical, while millennials are tech-savvy, Instagram EVERYTHING, and are aggressively interested in collaboration and work-life balance.

In law firms across America, these groups are comingling and working together to manage client matters and relationships. The panel The Ties that Bind: Building Cross-Generational Leadership at the 23rd Annual Marketing Partner Forum discussed the business imperative of building a diverse, multi-generational client team to fortify legal services. NLR took the opportunity to speak with the moderator Amanda K. Brady, Global Practice Leader at Major, Lindsey & Africa... about generational issues facing law firms.

The first thing to keep in mind is what a general counsel wants from his or her outside counsel. GCs want a team that will work together and get the job done, and the law firm team should represent the business needs and goals of the client. General counsels want attorneys who make their jobs easier, and law firms are expected to meet the needs of the client. Amanda Brady says, "The client doesn't need to meet everyone working on the matter, but my sense from the GC is that they really appreciate getting to know key attorneys working on their projects so they are more comfortable conducting follow-up communications."

Traditionally, the senior attorney has the relationship and brings the client to the firm. Junior attorneys do the work, while the partner manages the relationship, allowing the junior attorneys opportunities to interact and meet with the client along the way. Brady says, "The obvious challenge is for the junior attorney. They don't bring as much experience to the table, so they have to tout the experience of the more senior attorneys and work as a team." Collaboration is essential, and making sure junior attorneys are brought to the table is an important part of keeping the relationship viable as the years go by.

Read more of this feature at The National Law Review.

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