While the increased use of technological innovations is seen as a way for law firms to be more efficient, it is also a necessary element to recruit and retain young talent, says Korbitec Inc. president Alan Bass.
“This is a group that, from birth, has grown up with technology,” he says. “They don’t know life without the Internet, or without smartphones.
Bass says law firms need to demonstrate to both clients and prospective new recruits that they’re using creative approaches to make the job easier, better, faster, more efficient and with less risk of error.
Those that insist on staying with the tried-and-true, more established ways of managing their practice and workloads risk alienating millennials, who have started flooding the workforce, he says. This is a group that is not restricted by location and is not willing to accept things the way they are simply because that’s the way it’s always been done — because they know there may be a better way, he adds.
Bass says he sees that in his three children, two of whom are new lawyers, as well as with their peers.
“It’s been really interesting looking at what’s important to them in a workplace. And one of the things, aside from all the other aspects that this group looks for, is technology because this is something they’re just used to and expect,” he says.
It’s incumbent upon the older generations to take advantage of the positives millennials offer and capitalize on their interests and skills because they are the ones who are shaping the future workforce, Bass says.
“It might be as simple as a process they might automate by using a tool such as Excel. But then they also know more about these basic tools,” he says.
There is an indication that corporate counsel is doing little to prepare for this generational shift. Thomson Reuters recently surveyed legal departments about the changing demographics in its survey, Legal Department 2025 — The Generational Shift in Legal Departments: Working with Millennials and Avoiding Baby Boomer Brain Drain.
It found that the top perceptions of millennial lawyers included the knowledge that they will bring technological advancements faster than other generations and they want a high level of involvement in the decision-making of legal departments.
Firms not open to exploring new approaches risk losing talent to those that do, says Bass.
And that comes full circle — this tech-savvy generation easily adapts to new technology and can be helpful to firms looking to automate certain procedures and implement new tools to respond to clients’ demands to be more efficient.
The day of including knowledge of Microsoft Word and Excel on job ads is soon to going to give way to knowledge of coding, he says, because it will be a universal skill as the next generation cuts its teeth on further technological ability, including knowing how to write programs at an early age.