YLS Futures Committee

By Sarah Petersen, Bullard Smith et al and YLS Futures Committee Co-Chair

The "youngest" of the YLS committees is the Futures Committee. Now entering its second year, the committee is tasked with "bridging generations" in the legal profession, encouraging younger lawyers to participate in the legal community and studying issues of particular interest to younger attorneys.

The YLS Futures Committee was formed in response to the findings of a 2006 MBA joint committee of the Managing Partners Roundtable and the YLS, formed to study a perceived "generation gap" in the legal profession. The joint committee commissioned a fact-finding survey. The results were published in a report entitled "Bridging Generations: Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Net Gen" and are available at www.mbabar.org/publications.htm.

One of the report's findings is that younger lawyers, particularly those born between 1965 and 1980, showed a "declining satisfaction" with their careers, and only 10% of this group expected to be working fulltime with their current firm. Those same attorneys strongly emphasized "work/life balance" as a significant motivator in their professional lives and indicated a need for more mentoring, better communication of expectations and compensation and more flexibility.

The committee has used the findings of the "Bridging Generations" report as a springboard to open a forum for discussion, strategic planning and possible concrete steps to "bridge the gap." For instance, the committee tries to critically consider reasons for the apparent declining satisfaction among younger lawyers, and look at how that fact reflects changing conditions and values among lawyers generally.

In addition, the committee seeks to develop and implement strategies to address topics identified by the committee and the generation gap report as being of particular interest to younger lawyers, including Sustainability, Mentoring, Work/Life Balance, Technology and "Tech Mentoring," Styles of Leadership, and Diversity. Because we believe that these topics are of interest to lawyers of all ages and experience levels, the committee has focused on these topics as ways to open discussion within the MBA legal community, and to encourage lawyers and law firms to creatively adapt to the changing landscape of the legal profession.

If you are interested in learning more or joining the Futures Committee, please contact one of the co-chairs, Collin McKean of Gevurtz Menashe (cmckean@gevurtzmenashe.com), or Sarah Petersen of Bullard Smith et al (spetersen@bullardlaw.com), or visit the Committee's webpage at www.mbabar.org/YLSFuturesCommittee.htm.