You probably know that artificial intelligence (AI) solutions are changing the legal profession—and hopefully they’re changing your practice too. But are you aware that your firm’s adoption of technology can also help you attract—and keep—the best and brightest of the upcoming generation of millennial workers?
Millennials—the generation born between 1981 and 1996—represent 35% of the current workforce; within 10 years, nearly half of all workers will be from this younger generation. With this shift, firms that fail to attract millennial workers, or that cannot keep them engaged and productive in their practice, will suffer.
Broadly speaking, these young employees have different values and goals than Baby Boomers or Generation X. Millennials tend to prioritize meaning and inspiration in their work over financial security. They demand flexibility in work locations and times, accepting that they will be constantly connected to work. Additionally, they seek challenge and growth to an unprecedented extent. Adopting the right technologies can help your firm meet these needs and bolster your ranks of excited young talent in at least three distinct ways.
Technology allows millennials to contribute value.
The overwhelming majority of millennial workers are in search of a career that they can feel passionate about, regardless of its financial rewards. It is probably fair to say that no one feels passionate about document review or contract review. When your firm adopts technological solutions to these mind-numbing, repetitive tasks, it demonstrates to millennial workers that they will be able to focus on the human elements of lawyering and contribute true value within your workplace.
Additionally, millennials will have little patience for doing work that they know can done better and faster by computers—including much of document review for discovery, proofreading and contract analysis, and other tedious tasks.
Technology allows millennials to stay connected and work flexibly.
Growing up with mobile technology has created an “always connected” mindset in this upcoming generation of workers. Most millennials expect to be connected to work even when they are not physically in the office. However, the flip side of that coin is that millennials value flexibility in their work arrangements, both through variable work hours and remote working or telecommuting options. Millennials as a rule appreciate that much of their work can be done from literally anywhere.
Using technology solutions in your practice will both allow your firm to provide that flexibility and will actively demonstrate that you are progressive and adaptable within the boundaries of your professional obligations.
Technology demonstrates to millennials that your firm is forward thinking and inspiring.
While your adoption of technological innovation allows millennial workers to contribute value and work flexibly, it also proves that you are stepping confidently into the future of legal work rather than clinging fearfully to the past. Millennial workers are in search of inspiration and exciting challenges. Through your use of technology, you can help them achieve their goals and find meaning in their work.
Remember that this is a generation used to constant change, reinvention, and disruption. Unlike previous generations that have sometimes struggled to adapt to technological advances and to fully integrate new tools into their lives, millennials have grown up with technologies that are reinvented, often drastically, on an ongoing basis.
While we’ve focused here on generalities, millennials are obviously individuals who may vary considerably from expectations. Regardless of the sometimes negative stereotypes about millennial workers, this upcoming generation is the future of how we will work. The rising millennial generation is filled with bright, well-educated, passionate workers whose upbringing has made them confident, comfortable with technology, and readily adaptable.
Your firm’s enthusiastic adoption of technological solutions, including artificial intelligence applications, gives you the ability to attract and retain the best and brightest of the coming generation. Keep an open mind and buckle up—millennials are going to change how we work and how we practice