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December 07, 2006

Generation Y - "Lawyer as Entrepreneur"

While there is nothing new under the sun, the tectonic plates are shifting and there looks to be an earthquake of notable seismic proportions coming to shake up Second Wave law firms. Generation Y - The Echo Boomers are making a statement that cannot be ignored.

"The've got the smarts and the confidence to get a job, but increasing numbers of the milleninial generation - those in their mid-20s and younger - are deciding corporate America just doesn't fit their needs. So, armed with a hefty dose of optimism, moxie and self-esteem, they are becoming entrepreneurs. People are realizing they don't have to go to work in suits and ties....they can have a job they like. They can create a job for themselves."

"They're at the leading edge of a trend toward entrepreneurship that has bubbled for decades and now, thanks in large part to technology, is starting to surge."

And companies are slow to adjust to work-life balance concerns of Generation Y. There is a great divide between what Gen Y wants and what employers are offering so young people are no longer jumping through hoops to follow the old model of success. Or they are putting a new twist on older professions....such as "lawyer as entrepreneur."

"Workers born since the early 1980s (known as millennials, Generation Y or echo boomers) crave a more collaborative work environment and detest drudgery...they want a work-life balance, which is often at odds with the values of the corporate world."

"The self-employed are considerably more satisfied with their jobs than are other workers...... They're more satisfied with their salaries, the job security, chances for promotion, level of on-the-job stress, flexibility of hours and proximity of work and home......"

"You've got a generation that has clearly seen the corporate culture not be loyal to their employees.......This generation understands that the burden of taking care of themselves rests with them and not some company."

As I've stated, there is nothing new under the sun, just rediscovered. Many solos have trekked down this rocky path before Gen Y twisting their ankles on the obstacles, avoiding tomatoes thrown by the naysayers. (The first woman attorney in Connecticut, Mary Hall, was admitted to the Connecticut Bar in 1882.  She was a solo and practiced until her death in 1927.  Imagine her obstacles!). It's just now, as a defined group, they are marching forward fearlessly creating a new generation of "lawyer as entrepreneur" and bringing it mainstream, making it cool and trendy.  It's about time.


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Dina Beach Lynch

Susan, how right you are! Many of my friends and colleagues now enjoy the benefits of being self-employed.

I personally transitioned from the law into a wonderful career as a workplace mediator and Ombuds. It's been truly satisfying to do work that suits both my temperment and lifestyle.

I encourage attorneys who are seeking a career change to consider any of the alternative dispute resolution processes such as mediation, collaborative law, and Ombuds.

A quick Google search will reveal a bevy of websites for more information.

Thanks Susan for sharing your insights.

Dina Beach Lynch

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