In defense of Millennials (or, what do young lawyers want?)

I’ve been a part of this conversation way too often, and the Question never has a satisfactory Answer. Older lawyers (no disparagement intended — to a young lawyer, you’re all older. Also, I hope to be “older” someday, both in terms of age, experience and true wisdom), thinking that I have some insight, ask me how to inspire members of my generation, why they are not involved, and why they are so indifferent. I have a good Answer, but there is no easy solution. If you bear with me, I’ll give you The Answer. First, the back story. Colorado’s U.S. District Judge John Kane gave his 50th Class Reunion speech at the University of Denver College of Law in May. You should read it. It is thought-provoking.


  1. Lila Shapiro-Cyr

    Incredibly thought-provoking John. I think that this “communication” gap is akin to the music-gap that pervades every generational split — just because you don’t like “that kind of music” doesn’t mean it isn’t music. . . I mean, that’s how rock-and-roll started, isn’t it?

  2. Unfortunately my experience of newer lawyers has not been the same. I’ve had associates return files to me, stating that they cannot complete discovery responses because the client’s phone number is not in the file. I’ve worked with an associate who turned in a draft of a motion – poorly done and in need of extraordinary revision – on the night before the motion was due, at 5 p.m., with a friendly wave as they headed out the door. I spent time mentoring and guiding and sharing war stores with these same associates until I realized that the transaction was entirely one sided. The Young who wonder why they aren’t getting the attention they believe they deserve should ask themselves whether they are providing anything of value to the Older Lawyers they work for.