Monday, August 2, 2010

Oh No, Not More Proof That New Lawyers Feel Entitled!

Londoner John Flood updates his previous post on "The Future of Lawyers" today, and it's not difficult to read between the lines.

24% of associates plan to leave the legal profession in the next year.

Eight per cent want a career break and 16% are quitting the profession.

34% gave difficulty of work-life balance as main reason for leaving.

10% cited personality and management problems as another reason for departing, emphasizing gaps between management and employee communication.

OK, let's stop there.

24% of associates, i.e. those who haven't made partner yet.

8% want a vacation, and 16% realize that their get rich quick plan (including an appropriate mahogany desk, prime sports tickets, and 2 hour lunches) to go to law school didn't quite work out as it looked like it would on the various T.V. shows.

34% don't like the whole 5-day a week in an office, possibly in a suit, and not 3 days a week from 10-2 (with lunch) at Starbucks in shorts and sandals.

10% cited "personality and management problems." I think that means "don't you understand how lucky you are to have me working here?" "Gaps between management and employee communication" I think means "no, I'm not going to listen to you tell me how smart you are now that you've been here 4 months."

Flood picks out the following quote from the updates research as one of interest:

An absence of communication over the future of the profession, such as change from lock step to merit based pay, has been a catalyst for relationship issues between management and associates to surface. The survey found that 47% of partners had discussed plans to change their firms’ pay structure over the next five years, yet only 23% of associates believed such discussions were taking place.

Merit based pay?

1. claim to respect and praise; excellence; worth.

What is wrong with you law firm partners? When will you get the message that in order to keep associates you must respect and praise their excellence and worth (and be sure not to get too close to their law degree as the ink may still not be dry).

So to sum it up, a quarter of the young profession is leaving because they don't like being a lawyer (not that they ever thought of the concept), of those, 16% percent will find something else to do, 8% will do nothing while trying to find something else to do, 34% will find a job that gives them the "flex time" they need to "find themselves," and if partners don't get with the respect and praise of excellence and worth, more will leave.

I hope they leave soon.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.Share/Save/Bookmark


mirriam said...

What's wrong with work/life balance? It's a big reason why I left working for a medium size firm and went on my own. I mean, it was a stupid thought since I work just as much. But I have the flexibility to starbucks lawyer it when I want. Should life really just be about work? If it is, when do you drink good wine?

Gideon said...


First of all, you need to include the sample size in your post.

Then onto the broad assumptions:

34% don't like the whole 5-day a week in an office, possibly in a suit, and not 3 days a week from 10-2 (with lunch) at Starbucks in shorts and sandals.

All you quote from the original post was that 34% left because of difficult with work-life balance. Isn't it equally plausible that the "difficulty" was with the 7-day work week and 16 hour days, thus leaving no time for their, you know, lives?

The 16% quitting the profession can be for many reasons: they just didn't plain like it; they want to do something else they like more; their wives have higher paying jobs and they're staying at home to take care of the kids; they've been toiling away as associates for 20 years without a promotion and are just flat out done.

And of course, the biggest assumption that "associates" are new lawyers. Does everyone who's practiced for 10 years make partner? I think not. What about 12? 15? 8?

It's one thing to legitimately rail against the new lawyer "entitlement" culture and quite another to blatantly make assumptions to make any old study fit your world-view.

Brian Tannebaum said...


You must be that guy who believes when a politician resigns to "spend more time with the family."

Gideon said...

Yes, of course, anyone who doesn't drink your Kool-Aid, blah, blah, head in the sand, blah blah, naive, blah blah.

Want to try responding to any of my points or are you going to continue to be intellectually dishonest?

Brian Tannebaum said...

I'm sorry Gideon, I didn't realize you were making any points. I thought you were just musing out loud. I think you need a vacation, and I don't like Kool-Aid. There's my response.

Scott said...

I am confused as to why merit based pay is causing a problem. My law firm pays me a percentage of the fee I bring through the door and another set rate for the work I do for partners. Personally I think it is the best way to get paid. If I wake up and decide I need a raise I go and work a few extra hours that day. I do not need to hope a partner recognizes the good job I am doing in order to make more money. On the other hand if my friends call and want to go play a round of golf I go and no one says a word. (After all we are all professionals and know when we can skip out of work early and when we cannot)Therefore, in my opinion, merit based pay allows you to balance home and work with ease. If going home or golfing or to your kid's soccer game or... is that important then go, just know you will not get paid for it.