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Attrition in Associates Leads to Attrition in Law Firm Marketing

Interesting post from Larry Bodine about how the associate attrition problems that I blogged about last week are taking a toll on lawyer marketing efforts. Apparently, because few lawyers see themselves as making partner or don't care about partnership as a goal, they're not particularly interested in marketing. To quote Bodine, "It's impossible to market a service that you don't want to perform."

Bodine also writes about the tension between different generations of associates when it comes to marketing:

Generation X, associates aged 27 to 41, are loners who question authority, can be cynical, pessimistic, think in short time horizons and have a "prove it to me" attitude, according to author and consultant Cam Marston, of Marston Communications in Charlotte, N.C.   Add Generation Y to the mix, aged 26 or younger, who are "adultolescent" individuals who have never known hardship, yet stressed, at a young age, and may have huge goals but are clueless on execution.  They don't want to be like the people who are in charge of the firm, the Baby Boomers who have a strong work ethic, are competitive, optimistic and show success visibly with trophies and plaques.

And Baby Boomer lawyers are becoming increasingly frustrated about the younger generation's reluctance to step up to the plate and take on responsibilities that Boomers had at their age -- including marketing.

Much of Bodine's post makes sense to me. But law was also different when the Boomers started out: Back then, hard work would get lawyers a partnership and lawyers weren't required to market as much. Are Boomers' demands of the younger generation sensible? Or are they expecting younger lawyers to more than was required of Boomers when they started their career? And more broadly, is the practice of law at large firms harder today than it was 20 or 30 years ago -- and if so, why?

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on August 21, 2006 at 05:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)


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