Though the distinction is a bit questionable because it does not presuppose a homogenous class with uniform class attributes, there is enough commonality in attitudes and perspectives of those born in the mid- 1980s and after to be categorized separately as
. Generation Y is also referred to as the
, is considered to be more than 70 million in number, and represents the new generation of talents whose needs, attitudes, strengths and weaknesses need proper assessment by
Perceived traits in Generation Y
Though not applicable as universal truths, a few accepted and expected attributes that differentiate Generation Y lawyers from those of the previous generation indicate that Generation Y is:
- More Tech-Savvy
- Better multi-taskers
- More worried over work-life balance and family-centric
- More worried about “results”
- More amenable to teamwork
- More narcissistic and better attention pullers
Getting the best out of Generation Y
Being result-oriented, Generation Y professionals, especially new attorneys, sometimes arrive with unrealistic perspectives and attitudes. One thing that is seen universally is a lack of patience and urge to get immediate results. Something, which even if the law firm is ready to accept, the courts and the legal system are unable to deliver. For the law firm, orientation of the new attorney from Generation Y, and teaching him or her exact things that would maximize the realization of Generation Y potentials include:
- Providing help in prioritizing assignments
- Teaching that in the world of law firms and client interactions, lawyers need to make predictions based on their personal knowledge and often cannot access teams to do that
- Explain that professional success almost never happens overnight but takes time
- While informal communications are okay, a majority of situations demand formal communications
- Immediate results on completed tasks are not always visible
- If a senior forgets to appreciate good work it does not mean the senior is ignoring the good work
- It is better to try to solve problems on one's own, or at least up to a concrete level before asking for guidance or affirmation
- Emphasize, that once they are in the law-firm environment, their grades of yesteryear's do not matter, but what matters is present performance
, and the need of not discussing law-firm work in social networks or anywhere else except at the law firm
Handled wisely, most of Gen Y attributes are assets and not liabilities for law firms. However, in contrast to other sectors of the industry, the law firm practice, despite the ravages of the recession, continues to be steeped in ritualistic conventions and traditions. So, except in the cases of outstanding and international law firms, the proper absorption, accommodation, and utilization of Generation Y professionals into mainstream work remains a challenge. It's not a challenge to those from Generation Y, but a challenge to those who are in the management and belong to an earlier generation, trying to come to terms with new attitudes and perspectives.
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