I have written extensively about millennials and millennial lawyers, including about how members of the Millennial Generation were shaped by societal influences as they grew to adulthood. Those societal influences have limited their abilities to fit into traditional workplaces and, in some cases, have lead to anxiety and depression.
Societal influences like rapid advances in technology and social media, the impact of the 2008 recession, which resulted in insecurity and risk aversion, and helicopter parenting that sheltered children from disappointment, interfered with decision making, and put pressure on coaches and teachers to improve outcomes for their children, have taken a toll on our younger generations. Those influences can be traced to unreasonable expectations and inability to cope with challenges.
Some of you may doubt that premise. You may prefer to think that Baby Boomer and Generation X parents had nothing to do with it. But, the research does not support that conclusion. Research also shows that the children of Generation Z, those who followed the millennials, are experiencing similar limitations from over parenting. Consider the recent arrests of certain Gen Z parents, who engaged in alleged bribery, fraud and racketeering in schemes to get their children admitted to elite colleges and universities across this country.
Since the release of my book, What Millennial Lawyers Want: A Bridge from the Past to the Future of Law Practice (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Publishers, 2018), I have addressed many audiences about these issues in an attempt to make both young and more experienced lawyers understand the Generational Divide in our profession today. The divide is real, and the solution must be shared to be effective and lasting. Understanding and respect are the tools to finding a path to the future to include all members of our profession.
The risks are very serious if we do not.