Newer attorneys likely aren’t staying long-term

New attorneys and law firmsIf you are running a law firm, you may have hired a newer attorney at some point.  The hire often makes sense for a lot of law firms and solo practitioners.

They need help because their law practice is busy.  On the other hand, the newer attorneys need experience and an income to pay their bills and student loans in many instances.  The match can look like one made in heaven.

In a lot of cases, the relationship starts off strong.  The newer attorney is excited to start their career.  They are excited to have an opportunity to show what they can do.  They are exuberant.  The experienced attorney who hires them is excited to have the help.  They are excited to have the enthusiasm.  The employment relationship starts off strong.

It often isn’t long before the experienced attorney starts thinking that the newer attorney might stay a long time.  They even start to wonder whether the newer attorney could fit into some leadership role or maybe even become a partner down the line.  The experienced attorney then begins putting a lot of faith and hope in the newer attorney.

Of course, in most instances just like a young love, the relationship doesn’t work.  At some point, the employment relationship breaks off — largely because the newer attorney jumps at some seemingly better opportunity (that might not even be a better opportunity).  But they jump at it simply because they want to discover the world or see something different.  They haven’t fully determined what they are and what they want to be.  They haven’t fully determined where they want to plant themselves or even the area of law they like most.  In short, they are still finding themselves as it relates to their legal career.

Newer attorneys can also fall prey to pitfalls such as drinking groups, petting the puppy and believing that law firms have to train like a college or university.  Ultimately, you can tell when a newer attorney is likely to leave by following the hours and productivity.

Regardless of how exactly it ends, if this has happened at your law firm, as the saying goes, it probably wasn’t you.  It was them.  The newer attorney was simply trying to find themselves.  They weren’t ready to commit.  They weren’t even thinking about the long-term yet.  No matter what you did, at some point, it was going to end.

At the end of the day, if you want to hire newer attorneys, you can still do so if you have the right mindset.  The younger attorney is looking to get experience in most cases.  They are looking to find themselves in most instances.  However, they don’t even know fully who they are.  And it’s not their fault.

But newer attorneys can often help in the short-term — if you are looking for short-term help.  Newer attorneys can often provide some good legal work.  They can help bring in some excitement, exuberance and fresh ideas. You might be able to gain a lot from a newer attorney in the present.

But if you are expecting a newer attorney to stay for the long-term, just like you hoped that the relationship with your first love would last forever, you probably have unrealistic expectations.  Sure, there are some rare cases with certain newer attorneys where it’s a great fit for both and it works out long-term. But if you are being realistic in assessing the odds, it likely won’t happen.

So, go into these employment situations (with newer attorneys) with shorter-term expectations and you won’t be disappointed.  But if you go into them with long-term expectations, you’ll likely end up disappointed when it doesn’t work out.

If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.

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