Study: Millennial law partners share common values with older generations

A study released Thursday found millennial partners at law firms are not that different in their attitudes toward work from their other colleagues, but divisions do appear across the generations between genders and racial groups.

The “Multiple Generations in Law Firms: Working Together” report produced by the National Association for Law Placement in partnership with PP&C Consulting surveyed nearly 2,500 attorneys working in large law firms during 2019. In seeking to measure the similarities and differences held by partners and associates of all ages, the report discovered that millennial partners share much the same attitudes and habits as the partners they are replacing or joining.

Primarily, the responses of millennial partners (those born between 1981 and 1996) matched closely with generation X (those born between 1965 and 1980) and baby boomer (those born between 1946 and 1964) partners. Among the three partner generations, 72% of millennials, 73% of gen X and 77% of boomers saw work as a central part of their lives, while 79% of millennials and gen X partners and 85% of baby boomers believe finding meaning in their work is important.

A key point of difference in perception arose when the partners were asked about the work ethic and skills of the associates at their firms. Forty-one percent of Millennials partners agreed the younger generation was working as hard as they did when they were associates but only 29% of gen X and 33% of boomers held the same view.

The study also found that 59% of the associates had no desire to become partners at their current firms. In breaking down the data further, the report discovered men were likelier to aspire to partnership (46%) than women (39%) and a higher percentage of black (46%) and Latinx (60%) associates aspired to become partners than white (42%) associates.

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