The Millennials are Coming. Are You Ready?

Clear & Convincing Feature Article

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As of 2015, millennials, defined as those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, outnumber both the baby boomers and Gen Xers in sheer volume. (Pew Research) By 2020, 46% of the U.S. workforce will be millennials. And, it is reported these individuals account for $1.3 trillion in annual spending, which doesn't include millennial-influenced spending by their parents and grandparents.

What legal issues could the millennials, aged 18–34, have?

They are buying houses, estate planning for their children, starting businesses, or helping their aging parents. And some are having criminal problems. MADD reports that the 26–29 year olds (20.7 %) have the highest rate of drunk driving. Think about how your services can be of use to this younger audience.

Who are millennials?

For some of my readers, millennials are your children and grandchildren. Studies show they have these characteristics:

  • They work and play online, mostly on mobile devices.
  • They welcome access over ownership in a new "sharing" economy, think Uber or bike sharing.
  • They expect media, information, services, and purchases to be available on demand.
  • They are socially aware and assume that companies, firms, and individuals will be active in the community and give back.
  • They know more about technology than any other generation; they live in a world of sharable information.

How can law firms reach millennials?

Millennials are never out of touch—they live by their mobile phones and expect the information they need such as reviews, social media commentary, and price comparisons to be instantly available. For law firms, that means their website, profiles, and blogs must be mobile friendly. Your law blog should be informative, short, engaging, and easy to read on a smaller screen.

Being active on social media is an effective way to ensure millennials see your firm, learn something from you, interact and engage, and eventually employ your legal services.

In the interests of hands-on research, I texted my millennial grandson, Collin, a 22-year-old, biomolecular engineer living and working in New York City, by asking one question: How would you find a lawyer? He responded, "I would ask one of my fraternity brothers who are lawyers." And, "I would google my geographic area and the kinds of services I would need. Then I'd check their website and try to find some sort of review or blog post written by a past client."

Two marketing concepts are at work here. He began the usual way, asking friends for referrals, and showing the importance of face-to-face marketing. Then he used the millennial way, going to the Internet to find and investigate lawyers in his area. It is reasonable to assume he would also do this on his phone.

Millennials need to be in your marketing plans. They are coming of age, buying houses, and starting families or businesses. Their discretionary spending is on the rise. The law firms that offer them services and experiences they want are the ones that will win over this knowledgeable generation.

Your State Bar of Michigan free online Member Directory is ready for the millennials. The 81,567 attorneys and consumers who searched 1,038,183 pages of the Directory in the past three months were able to quickly find attorneys' enhanced profiles, see if their chosen attorney was available, easily connect using appointment scheduling, and read reviews left by clients.

Did they see your expanded profile?

Roberta GubbinsRoberta Gubbins has served as the editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides services as a ghostwriter editing articles, blogs, and e-blasts for lawyers and law firms. She is the editor of Briefs, the Ingham County Bar Association e-newsletter, and The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.

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