Presentation Review: “Turning Millennial Lawyers into Marketing Ninjas" by Morgan MacLeod, Ringmaster, Cubicle Fugitive
Summary by Carman J. Jackson, Marketing & Business Development Manager, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Not only do you want to turn your millennial lawyers into absolute marketing mavens, you want to be one yourself! Below are the top 5 takeaways from Morgan MacLeod’s presentation, “Turning Millennial Lawyers into Marketing Ninjas.” These tips will help you authentically connect with millennial lawyers to help coach and guide their business generation efforts.
- Let Go of the Myths. First and foremost, you should understand key insights about who millennial lawyers are and what they really want. In 2018, millennial lawyers make up 88% of law firm associates, but only 5% of law firm partners. It is important to note that less than 20% of them rate becoming a partner as “extremely important to them” and that they value work life balance immensely. Despite popular lore about millennial entitlement, the truth is that this generation works extremely hard. These lawyers value flexibility in work hours, use technology to make time spent working more efficient and expect clearly defined goals and feedback. Rather than settling for the old ways of doing things, millennials are forcing change within firms, since they have the power in numbers to do so.
- Know What They Want. Millennial lawyers have clear workplace priorities. They are overwhelmingly looking to have access to interesting and worthwhile work along with opportunities for growth and career progression. Additionally, these lawyers are seeking to work for firms or in-house departments that offer flexible work arrangements, excellent training programs and they want it from a company that proves its core values align with their own. Working for a company or firm with a strong brand name has become less important to this generation than the previous ones. This is a critical insight because increasing numbers of millennial lawyers seek to go in-house for the perceived flexibility and are less swayed by the prestige of big law partnership.
- Understand Their Challenges. Like junior lawyers in generations past, millennial lawyers have strict time constraints. These lawyers are adjusting to the practice of law while balancing integration into firm culture, billing expectations and heavy workloads. They struggle with lack of experience which hinders their confidence in self-promotion and they need assistance crafting clear messaging about the unique skills and values that help distinguish them from other lawyers. Not wanting to be left in the dark, these lawyers also complain about lack of mentorship and guidance as it related to client service and marketing.
- Meet Their Needs. When asked directly what they need from their business development and marketing team to be successful, millennial lawyers seek a clear sense of strategy and direction. Over 60% of young lawyers do not understand their firm’s marketing goals, business strategy or law firm profitability. Providing substantive training, helping to facilitate introductions through target-rich events, assistance in developing content and working with lawyers to create business plans are all ways legal marketers can better serve their millennial lawyers. Law firms overall can also do better by allocating more financial resources, allowing hours credit for business development activities, outlining specific guidelines for marketing and reducing administrative tasks assigned to lawyers.
- Inspire Confidence. Considering that millennial lawyers seek meaningful work, it should not be surprising that they need to feel a sense of connectedness and purpose to their law firm’s mission and triple bottom line goals. Help millennial lawyers understand their place in the big picture and be sure to connect that to revenue goals and how the firm impacts the community through participation in pro bono, civic and charitable causes. Additionally, millennials have a high regard for those who make doing business with them easy. This doesn’t just apply to vendors. As marketer, you can make marketing and business development easy by providing client service tips in brief, “snackable” bites as well as by offering short-term action items to help move lawyers towards closer to their objectives. Clearly educate lawyers on the most effective (and efficient) tactics for building new business and be prepared to explain how these activities—from writing to speaking at CLEs to going to conferences—ultimately impacts meaningful relationship-building. Finally, provide feedback to millennial lawyers and reinforce positive behavior by finding ways to highlight or give public kudos to those who are successful. Consider that no matter is too small to celebrate!