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Is the Older Generation Holding the Legal Profession Back?

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

Caroyln Elefant, the popular attorney-blogger, says it is time for old-school lawyers to step aside.

Suggesting the legal profession take a cue from the Hebrew exodus, Elefant points out that Moses had to stay behind when his people reached the promised land. Likewise, she argues the older generation of lawyers has to leave it all behind.

Not to be a noodge, but didn't Moses miraculously part the Red Sea for the next generation to pass through to the other side? And who's telling this Passover story anyway?

Pass On, BigLaw

Elefant, a champion for solos and small firm practitioners, is really talking to BigLaw.

"Big law is another example of an institution on its last legs, but propped up by old schoolers who recall its glory days," she says.

She says millennials are not interested in what BigLaw is selling anymore. "It's not that millennials are too lazy to work or build a book of business but rather, they want to work their terms and for their benefit and not for an institution that treats them as fungibles," she writes.

To be sure, BigLaw has been under economic pressure to change its business model for years. But do you throw grandpa out with the bathwater?

Signs and Wonders

As an older attorney herself, Elefant recognizes the changes that are already taking place in the profession. For example, she says new technology is key to improving the delivery of legal services.

Still she argues against the aging generation, quoting a New York Times opinion piece, "Go Ahead, Millenials, Destroy Us." Jonathan Malesic, writing for the New Republic, responded: "Please, Millennials, Don't Destroy Us Just Yet."

That debate is not about the legal profession, but rather political and societal change. Malesic says it is about leadership, which the senior generation still provides.

Like Moses, who showed the Israelites how to make it. And as at least one story goes, he never actually died.

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