How to Stop Young Lawyers Moving On

Back to News

by Stewart Selling

The Problem

With Law firms working remotely, they are finding their people are feeling less connected and it is diluting their culture. Culture is one of the differentiators that attracts people to a law firm in the first place and makes people want to continue being a part of that firm. This lack of connection and not feeling part of the culture is resulting in an increased turnover in Law firms of up to 25% in the last year, especially among young lawyers. The problem is how to stop the staff exodus.

Cost of Doing Nothing

Doing nothing to stop the exodus of young lawyers is costly. Training new staff and getting them up to speed takes time. It costs firms thousands of dollars each year. Not having a stable base of young lawyers coming through the ranks affects a firm’s future. Today’s young lawyers are tomorrow’s leaders.

If you do nothing, staff will leave to join your more progressive competitors, and you will end up like such dinosaurs as Video Ezy, Kodak and others who failed to act and evolve.

Understanding the Disconnect – it has a Generational Dynamic

With culture eroded and people feeling less connected, young lawyers are missing the human connection they get from their work colleagues. With the confidential nature of the work, they should not work from a café or a shared workplace. More importantly, they are missing the mentoring from senior colleagues. Working remotely is a disaster for cultural and business health in law firms.

Partners need to understand that although younger people may have similar values, their priorities are different. There is a different generational dynamic happening. Where partners are Baby Boomers or Gen x, younger lawyers are Millennials. Partners need to understand what drives Millennials. Baby boomers would stay in a job for 20 years or more and put the job above almost everything else. Gen Xers opted for a work-life balance. Millennials look for a work-life blend.

They will vote with their feet not only if they are not being fulfilled. Ash Barty is a good example of this – walking away from tennis at the top of her game. Young lawyers are frustrated with working remotely and the lack of proper mentoring. On top of this, there is pressure to return to the old office and lose their flexibility.

The Solution

A recent Seek study showed that compensation and work-life balance continue to be the top two drivers for Millennials. As part of the work-life balance, flexible working was right up there along with mentoring for young lawyers. 

The solution to this conundrum is simple. A hybrid working arrangement with remote working split between time in the office. Not the same old office. Young lawyers today are looking for an exciting replanned and refurbished office for hybrid working arrangements with more open and collaborative spaces where teams can come together while still being safe. A place to flourish and reconnect. This will lead to resurrecting the culture and will reduce employee turnover.

Legal businesses should engage with their team to understand what they would need to increase their satisfaction and feel more connected to the firm. Incorp can help you engage with your team to find out what works for them and what works for the firm. Having an experienced consultant involved gets staff reinvigorated, because it shows you care are about them and value their input.

It improves the culture, reverses the disconnect and excites them about the future. Millennials want to feel connected and work in a caring culture that engages them.

Incorp has been working with some of the world’s largest and most innovative organisations globally since 1988, to help them formulate and implement people and property solutions that drive innovation and deliver sustainable competitive advantage.

We would welcome the opportunity to assist you and your team to create high-performance cultures and workspaces.