The Continuum of Law — Not a One-Size-Fits-All Profession

John C. Trimble

In the decade or so since the most recent economic downturn, a lot has been said and written about how law has been changing. Some have ignored the change and soldiered on doing things the same way with heads down. Others have embraced change and have radically retooled their practices. Most, however, are somewhere in between — they see change, adapt to it, and rarely try to get out ahead of it. Few think about it very much.

At cocktail parties, meetings, and seminars, we hear gross overgeneralizations: “What’s the world coming to?” “We can’t hire or retain Millennials!” “The young lawyers we hire don’t want to work as hard.” “All of our work is going in house, and so are the young lawyers!” “We hire and train young lawyers only to see them leave as they are becoming partners.” “Old timers are practicing longer, refusing to retire, refusing to hand off client relationships, and blocking younger lawyers from succession opportunities.” “Senior partners are expecting pay that is out of balance with what they are now generating in revenues.”

As I have made my own observations about the pace of change, and the supposed differences in generations, I have come to the realization that a career in law is a continuum, and that we all slide up and down that continuum as our life cycles change. Law never has been, nor will it ever be a “one-size-fits-all” occupation.

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