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Millennial Lawyers Prefer Work-Life Balance to Higher Pay

By FindLaw Staff on April 05, 2019

It's not every day that an attorney wants a pay cut. It's even more rare when they say it out loud.

But nowadays many millennials say they would take less money in exchange for less work. About 25 percent would do it for more time off.

That's what a new survey says anyway. Mostly, the millennials are saying they want a break. When it comes to telling the boss to cut their pay, that's another story.

Yes, But

In a survey of more than 1,200 young lawyers, the largest group of respondents said they want to become partners in their firms. Those would be the millennials who realize that's a full-time job.

Still, a significant number prefer work-life balance over the traditional law firm life. According to Major, Lindsey & Africa, about a fourth of the millennials want:

  • More time off
  • Fewer billable hours
  • Flexible work schedules

The findings reflect a blowback from increasing workloads. Forty-one percent of the survey respondents say their workloads have increased as compensation has increased.

Even so, nearly 28 percent said they saw themselves toughing it out for another ten years to become partners at the same firm. Another 12 percent plan to bolt for a partnership elsewhere.

Firm Half-Life

More than 40 percent had designs on working in-house; 12 percent running their own firms; and 12 percent ditching the law altogether. Part of the reason for the exodus: they didn't like their firm life.

A majority of the respondents said that law firms are inherently sexist, and that women are not paid equally. However, women saw the problem far more often than men.

For example, 45 percent of women "strongly agreed" there is inherent sexism. About 14 percent of men felt the same.

The survey found more than a gender gap, too. Forty-four percent of the millennials said the old-guard leadership has outstayed its effectiveness.

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