I just listened to a podcast on Law.com that every young lawyer and law firm leader should hear. It will confirm what young lawyers know they do not like about Big Law, and it will serve as a tutorial for law firm leaders.
The interviewee is Mitch Zuklie, who has been the chairman of Orrick for the last five years. I have been following his leadership for a portion of that time, and that is why the podcast caught my attention. The podcast also validates the messages of my new book, What Millennial Lawyers Want: A Bridge from the Past to the Future of Law Practice.
The theme of the interview is this quote from Zuklie, “If we are going to convince the best talent to choose and stay in Big Law, we need to change the model.” The changes that he identifies include:
- Create a great place to work through training and identifying and inspiring talent;
- Create models for early responsibilities as decision-makers;
- Create increased interest in career paths and earlier promotion;
- Create team-oriented problem solving and entrepreneurship models;
- Increase flexibility to accommodate the needs of young families;
- Increase periodic feedback and get away from the annual-only review model;
- Increase the firm’s pro bono commitment; and
- Increase diversity and inclusion by being mindful of the effects of bad policies and implicit biases.
There is a lot to think about there. So, if you are wondering why you are not happy in Big Law, you likely will discover it by listening to the podcast. And if you are wondering why so many associates are leaving Big Law and your law firm, in particular, you law firm leaders will probably discover it by listening as well.
I hope so.