Cultural Evolution or Revolution? The Millennial's Growing Impact on Professionalism and the Practice of Law

14 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2016 Last revised: 28 Sep 2017

See all articles by Jan L. Jacobowitz

Jan L. Jacobowitz

University of Miami - School of Law

Katie Lachter

Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP

Gabriella Morello

Hogan Lovells

Date Written: June 16, 2016


The Millennial Generation will entirely recast the image of youth from downbeat and alienated to upbeat and engaged — with potentially seismic consequences for America. — Neil Howe and William Strauss

Although they are better educated, more techno-savvy, and quicker to adapt than those who have come before them, they refuse to blindly conform to traditional standards and time-honored institutions. Instead, they boldly ask, ‘Why? — Eric Chester

Organizations that can’t — or won’t — customize training, career paths, incentives and work responsibilities need a wake-up call. — Carolyn A. Martin and Bruce Tulgan

Millennials, the children of the digital age, embody and embrace the forces of disruptive change sweeping the legal profession and our world. As technology radically transforms how lawyers practice law and do business, the distinctive attitudes and habits of the Millennial generation suggest that an equally profound change in who lawyers are, and how they carry themselves professionally, is in the offing — indeed, may be well under way. A cultural clash of the three generations now inhabiting the lawyer space — Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials — is a critical piece of the larger ongoing debate over the extent to which technological innovation will reinvent legal practice. But Baby Boomer concerns about whether they can cure what they perceive as the far-too-casual and flexible approach of many Millennial lawyers to their work (before they wreck the firm!), may be an academic issue. More likely, Millennials are never going to change who they are — they are here to change the world, after all. Meanwhile, however, Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials coexisting in the same firms must at least understand each others’values and approaches to the business of law in order to get the work done and to effectively pass on professional skills and judgment to the next generation. Doing so will require a degree of cultural competence, among all three groups, not previously expected or required.

Keywords: cultural competence, baby boomers, genX. millennials, legal profession, legal education

Suggested Citation

Jacobowitz, Jan L. and Lachter, Katie and Morello, Gabriella, Cultural Evolution or Revolution? The Millennial's Growing Impact on Professionalism and the Practice of Law (June 16, 2016). The Professional Lawyer 23 4 (ABA 2016) ; The Professional Lawyer Volume 23 No 4 American Bar Association 2016. Available at SSRN:

Jan L. Jacobowitz (Contact Author)

University of Miami - School of Law ( email )

1311 Miller Drive
Coral Gables, FL 33146
United States

Katie Lachter

Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP ( email )

Chicago, IL
United States

Gabriella Morello

Hogan Lovells ( email )

555 13th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004
United States

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