I write and speak frequently on the generational shifts and divides in law firms, along with my colleague Jonathan Fitzgarrald. We first started to identify generational trends and the impact on the law firm in 2013. We always mentioned the “next” generation, the “swipe” generation, but there was no data on them. Yet.

The studies are starting to come out, and if you’re worried about your Millennials, you need to start to panic about your iGen, a term coined by Dr. Jean M. Twenge. I just saw her on CNN, just read her article, Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis.


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Jonathan Fitzgarrald and i started speaking about the generational divide several years ago. Our primary focus was on how the law firms, by not passing on leadership rolls to the younger generations, were putting themselves at risk, as their clients had already made the generational shift.

As time passed, and we began speaking at other conferences beyond legal marketing, we began to discuss the shifts within our firms.

So. Millennials. What are we going to do about  the Millennials? Aren’t we all asking the same question?

I had my own recent experience that I want to raise to the level of a warning to us all. My marketing manager left us to work for the do-good-work start-up where she had been volunteering. She felt she could balance her corporate life by doing good outside of work. Until they offered her “enough” money to join them full-time.
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Shoes
Jonathan Fitzgarrald and me headed to Phoenix LMA

I get asked this question a lot these days, “What’s it like to fill Jonathan Fitzgarrald’s shoes?”

I just reply back honestly, “I don’t know. I brought my own.” “Filling the shoes,” so to speak, of another person is challenging. Filling the shoes of half your dog & pony show can be daunting. Like myself prior to joining this firm, Jonathan was in his position for nearly eight years. He had seen through a culture change and shift. He saw through the passing of the baton from one generation of law firm leaders to the next. He was witness as the old guard of rainmakers retired, and the new guard took root. The firm Jonathan left is much different than the firm he joined. And I am now having my own unique experience. I will get to witness the firm I joined on February 23, 2015, evolve into something different. I will hopefully have the ability to influence and help shape things where I can. But that’s not what this blog post is about. So what is this post about? I suppose my first 90 days (yes, it’s been 90 days), the things that I have noticed, and things that I would share with anyone walking into a new position.
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If we’re friends on Facebook you know that I had an encounter last night that ended in a very awkward moment for the other person. It probably wasn’t the most spiritual thing I could do to post about it, but what can I say? I saw a lesson there … for me. When I lead with my ego I ALWAYS learn a lesson. The hard way. I am ALWAYS right-sided. My ego is smashed. I have found out that if I lead with my ego, I will find humility through the ensuing humiliation. So what does this have to do with legal marketing? Everything. In a profession where I am often referred to by the lawyers, lumped together with every other staffer, from the copy room to the C-Suite, as a “non-lawyer,” I have had to learn how to find my place. It is such a fine balance. In other businesses, the marketing and sales team are seen as revenue drivers, strategic team members, leaders. In many a law firm we are seen as nothing more than a cost center and a annoying, and pricy, necessity. On average, in most companies, the marketing budget is 10% of revenue. In a law firm, yeah, not so much. As in 2-5%. If you’re lucky. I’ve been in legal marketing for 16 years and that percentage has stayed consistent. I have had three situations, one as recent as last week, that have been a personal evolution and a reminder that when I think I am hot shit, I will be reminded by some force in the universe that I am not. My humility (and ego) must rest in that I do this (writing this blog, volunteer service and speaking in LMA) for fun and for free. And, in return, I have found that I learn more about myself, legal marketing, business, and leadership than I realize.
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Thanks to the folks at Spark Media Solutions for doing a great round of post-session interviews after our presentation, Generational Marketing: Strategies and tactics for engagement with Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials.They really picked up on the main themes of our session, and provides a great recap of our session.

Jonathan Fitzgarrald and