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Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin - Fall 2014

of the medium to large law firm makes it difficult to meet billable hour requirements and also spend a lot of quality time with family. “Young associates want it all. There seems to be a real disparity between the lifestyle that the young associates want to live and the hours that they are willing to work,” says one partner at a local firm. “Sometimes it seems like young lawyers want to make large salaries but don’t want to sacrifice or work as hard as is necessary,” he continues. But the tension between a younger lawyer’s priority to spend time with family and the hours necessary to make a firm profitable is resulting in some young lawyers leaving firms (even upon making partner) for lesser paying in-house or public sector positions. These positions offer opportunities to work fewer hours and make a salary workable in a dual income family. And many young lawyers have double-income households, which necessitates flexible schedules. In many cases, both partners share in domestic and family responsibilities. “My wife is a doctor and I can’t expect her to always be the one to pick up our son from daycare at the end of the day. She needs to work late as much as I do,” says one Generation Y lawyer. “There are days that I need to leave work to meet the plumber because my husband can’t do it,” says another young lawyer. This perspective, however, is countered by the Baby Boomers’ reminder that they were the first generation of dual-income families. An additional theme of the Millennial Generation is that they work in order to do what they love. “I went to law school to make a good living, but I don’t love practicing law… I do it so that I can travel and see the world,” says one young partner at a large firm. Contrary to the Baby Boomers who put work first and are considered “workaholics,” many young lawyers are dedicated to their hobbies, such as cycling or painting, which they look forward to after work and on the weekends. No News Is Good News, Right? Born and raised during a time when information is literally at their fingertips, young lawyers often complain that older lawyers do not provide enough feedback regarding their work product. “‘No news is good news’ is hard for our generation,” says a young lawyer in her 5th year of practice. “We need explanations and communication,” says another young lawyer. This can often be difficult in a fast-paced practice where older lawyers are less inclined to provide feedback because they didn’t necessarily need it themselves. For example, Generation X lawyers, especially those born in the early years Generational Challenges of the generation, are not necessarily “team players.” In fact, some of the defining characteristics of Generation X include “self-reliant,” “free agent” and “entrepreneur.” Thus, they are less likely to provide feedback or constructive criticism to younger counterparts. “Even just red-lining a document is helpful,” says another young lawyer. “We need to know how to improve.” More than one-fifth of the Association’s active members are lawyers under the age of 40, and that number is increasing. Thus, the issues raised in this article are relevant and important to the future of the legal profession and how bar associations might respond. Please share in the conversation, and e-mail any thoughts, comments, suggestions or experiences that might inform our next article to Jessica Powers at jessicabpowers@aol.com. G (Endnotes) 1 To learn how millennial you are, take the online survey conducted by the Pew Research Center at http://www.pewresearch.org/quiz/howmillennial are-you. (I scored 94 out of 100.) 2 See Pew Research Center: Social and Demographic Trends and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation: The Millennial Generation Research Review. Pharmaceutical consulting & exPert Witness services After twenty-five years in executive and management positions with pharmacy organizations and pharmaceutical manufacturers, and after six years of service as Secretary to the Alabama State Board of Pharmacy, Herb Bobo is pleased to now provide services to the legal community. Expertise includes all phases of operations, licensing and regulation. herb bobo consulting herbbobo@cox.net Licensed Pharmacist since 1973 Birmingham Bar Bulletin/ Fall 2014 31


Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin - Fall 2014
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