How Small Law Firms Can Attract and Manage Gen Z Lawyers and Staff

December 8, 2022

December 8, 2022

How Small Law Firms Can Attract and Manage Gen Z Lawyers and Staff

Gen Z—the generation that falls between the years 1997 and 2012—is now entering the workforce. Along with a large wave of career-driven young adults, this generation is introducing a whole new set of values, beliefs, and behaviors to modern American society.  

In any law firm that employs multigenerational attorneys and support staff, a natural adjustment period is expected to occur. In order to optimize overall firm efficiency and make the transition easier for these young professionals, law firms can understand how to best attract and manage Gen Z as they walk through their doors.

Here is everything you need to know about how to attract and manage Gen Z lawyers and staff:

Why Your Firm Should Maximize Gen Z Recruiting

Gen Z is a whole new generation, ready to make a change and a lasting impact. They are famed for standing up for the rights of others and fighting oppression. They are the first all-digital era and can generate new leads and propel your law firm forward. Gen Z is the future of law. The older generations will eventually retire so it is paramount that you begin recruiting and retaining these new young lawyers as soon as possible.

How Gen Z is different

By the year 2030, Gen Z will make up over 30% of the global workforce on the planet. This generation expects action, and diversity is a non-negotiable. Millennials began to pave the path forward for Gen Z who graciously jumped aboard and are smashing through glass ceilings and old-world playbooks.

They come just after a generation that began redefining how work atmospheres function. Company culture is of the utmost importance; therefore, it is incredibly advantageous for law firms to shift to a workplace that is most beneficial for Gen Z. They are digital natives, unlike other generations. They will expect everything to be digital as paper pushing is becoming obsolete. Their innovative approaches using digital methods far surpass the day of opening books and researching in the long form. In fact, Gen Z may feel extremely challenged by interacting with older technological systems, so it is strongly recommended to update your firm’s resources within the next year.  

Investing in new technology can wage a hefty price for smaller firms or solo practitioners. Fortunately, when lawyers finance their cases with Level Case Financing from LevelEsq instead of self-funding them, it is easy to direct their firm’s profits toward cutting-edge resources that improve their practice and help them secure justice for their clients. With free interest tracking on a case-by-case basis—permitting the option to pass interest costs onto clients—and interest rates starting at 0.7% per month, this flexible credit line serves as a profitable resource for growing law firms seeking to update outdated hardware and software. For tech-savvy Gen Z lawyers and support staff, such renovations can make a huge impact on your law firm’s efficiency and productivity.  

Management Practices to Retain Gen Z Law Workers

As this generation differs from every previous generation, it is crucial to apply these management practices to retain your workers.  

1. Transparency

Transparency is key. Gen Z’ers are used to the world’s information being at their fingertips. Therefore, you must reveal the details of the job beforehand rather than during the interview process. Ensure that your firm’s recruiting staff clearly outline the description and responsibilities for any vacant role on the job post—bonus points if you provide a description of your law firm’s goals and organizational culture. Odds are, if they do not see the specifics of the job and the office, they will not show up to the interview.  

2. Flexibility

This may be the most important aspect of retaining Gen Z workers—flexibility. After the Great Resignation, people are utilizing their stances to gain vantage points over their jobs. They know what they want, and flexibility is the most important. Keep in mind that the pandemic welcomed a major global shift to remote and hybrid work conditions, so offering these types of arrangements to Gen Z lawyers and support staff—specifically for activities that do not require one’s physical presence—will look like a huge green flag for these candidates.  

3. Culture and values

Gen Z must feel their work is contributing to a greater good. Their social impact mission is strong, just like their Millennial counterparts. Your values and culture must be clearly laid out for them to see—i.e., on your social media, job boards, and website.  

In fact, it’s a great idea to encourage your Gen Z employees to keep up with your social media presence and any other media- or education-related projects that your firm invests time and money in, such as podcasts and YouTube channels. For example, although LevelEsq is in the business of providing legal funding and insurance to plaintiff attorneys, our founders—trial lawyer-turned-fintech entrepreneurs Justin Leto and Larry Bassuk—host a podcast called Trials & Tribulations. Perfect for young professionals looking to gain more knowledge on all areas of law and business, the podcast serves as great way to not only build brand awareness for LevelEsq but connect with listeners wanting to glean valuable insight from the career journeys of our founders and from the leading industry professionals interviewed on our podcast.  

4. Career opportunities

Gen Z is more interested in where they will be in the next few years rather than  landing the job and seeing what happens. Ample career opportunities must be revealed upfront to appeal to Gen Z’ers. Growth opportunities are critical to obtaining their attention, keeping them engaged, and preserving their position with your firm.

What to be Cautious About with Gen Z

Most importantly, Gen Z workers are not known for their commitments. Being overexposed to an endless influx of information made them noncommittal by nature. Any ambiguity in their job causes hesitance or immediate abandonment of the position. A phenomenon that refers to employees doing the bare minimum for a job instead of going above and beyond for a company, “quiet quitting” resonates strongly with Gen Z and Millennial workers striving to revive the standard that work should not define one’s life. Quiet quitters can create an undetectable drain on your law firm’s engagement and productivity. Hence, it is important to foster a work environment that prevents quiet quitting among Gen Z lawyers and support staff in order to retain excellent employees at your firm.  

Phone calls are something Gen Z'ers are not too keen about. They grew up texting and surfing online; therefore, phone calls may be out of the question. Additionally, any rigorous time restraints and rigorous deadlines can cause them to run for the hills. Their perceptions of time are flexible, just like their view of the world.

Unlike their counterparts, the Millennials, Gen Z is quite random. Gen Z grew up with smartphones and the online world. Their attention and interest may tend to waver quicker as they jump through the things that they like, and quickly move on to the next. Their loyalty is not as strong as Millennials.

What You Can Do to Maximize Gen Z’s Potential to Grow the Firm

Focusing on concepts that offer traditional benefits is one way to optimize Gen Z’s growth potential at your law firm. Unlike the previous generations that stuck to more formal apparel and worked after-hours, Gen Z prefers the new-school approach. This generation grew up during the Great Recession and witnessed their loved ones lose jobs or struggle with their finances. Therefore, they are apt to want job security and traditional benefits such as a competitive salary and health insurance.

Performance reviews are a great idea for Gen Z’ers to grow your law firm. Reviews motivate workers, as they grew up with technology which provides instant feedback. Reviews can be your law firm’s ‘instant feedback’. Keeping communication lines open and transparent does well for Gen Z workers. Recruiting programs and summer opportunities are another great way to keep your Gen Z law students engaged and motivated to join your legal team.

Allowing Gen Z law students to engage in your firm before graduating can mentally stimulate their interest in choosing your firm.  Summer associate programs are the perfect way to set the tone that immediately builds the relationship between the student and the law firm. Their loyalty will begin to develop for your law firm’s team members and goals, which will lead to more productivity and motivation to make your firm money.

Bottom Line

Merging generations does not have to be painful in your law firm. Communication, transparency, and flexibility are key to recruiting and retaining your new Gen Z lawyers and other legal staff. Focusing on traditional benefits and providing a platform for Gen Z workers to make a lasting impact on the world are of extreme importance. Gen Z is looking for a solid company culture with obvious values, missions, and opportunities for career advancements.

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