Radio-age meets Internet-age: Millenials were born between 1981 and 2000

This is part five of a five-part article:

New law firm associates most likely belong to the Millennial generation, also called Gen Y.  These are lawyers age 33 and younger.

Transformative events that took place during the formative years of Millennials include 9/11, the war on terror, the Oklahoma City bombing, a rash of school shootings, the Great Recession and the first African-American president.  They grew up with iPods, laptops and smart phones.

“Millennials were doted on by their protective ‘helicopter’ parents,” said Turner, “who scheduled their every activity and praised them for every little success.  They grew up feeling confident, entitled and used to praise.  They grew up spending a lot of time with their parents and other adults.  They do not see older adults as superiors, but as peers.

”Because they grew up with the Internet, Millennials are used to working anywhere and at any time,” said Turner.  “They prefer texting and other social media to using the telephone.   They are fiercely multicultural and want to work at law firms that value diversity.  They dress informally and might require reminders about ‘office attire’ that does not expose skin and bra straps, or involve flip-flops.”

In the workplace, Millennials do not respond well to criticism.  They are not used to it.  They like to work long hours and in groups – but not necessarily in the office and on a nine-to-five schedule.  They see older lawyers as equals, and are blunt rather than guarded when it comes to sharing their opinions.

In today’s workplace, it is important to encourage Millennials with frequent, positive feedback,” said Turner.  “Other generations should avoid insisting on ‘face time’, unless it is necessary.”

There is more than one way to approach and solve a legal problem and best serve clients.  The more perspectives, the better the outcome.  The various generations at law firms should value (rather than judge) the perspectives of their colleagues – those older and more-experienced, and those younger and less-experienced.  It makes the workplace more interesting -- and leads to better outcomes.

For the entire article:

Radio-age meets Internet-age:  How do different generations of lawyers communicate?


Radio-age meets Internet-age: Gen X was born between 1965 and 1980

This is part four of a five-part article:

Senior associates and junior partners at most law firms most likely belong to Gen X.  These are lawyers between age 34 and age 49.

Transformative events that took place during the formative years of Gen X include Nixon’s resignation, the Challenger disaster, Desert Storm, AIDS, and the recession and resultant job loss of 1973-195.

“With dual-career parents either at work or divorced,” said Turner, “Gen X grew up as ‘latch-key’ kids who knew how to use a microwave to cook their own snacks and meals.  In addition, Gen X saw their parents and other adults laid off en masse by employers during the recession.  As a result, they see themselves as free agents and not long-term employees loyal to one employer.

“As a result,” said Turner, “Gen X grew up independent, self-directed and entrepreneurial.  They are highly skeptical of the choices made by their parents to be workaholics and jeopardize family life.  They value family life more than work life.  They work to live, not live to work.  They dote on every aspect of their children’s lives.”

In the workplace, Gen X also looks for close, family-like connections.  “As entrepreneurs, they mistrust and dislike bureaucracy,” said Turner.  “Unless scheduled for court or an important meeting, they dress casually.  They are the generation most likely to show up at the office with tattoos and piercings.”

In today’s workplace, it is important to honor the entrepreneurial approach of Gen X and give them a lot of autonomy.  Other generations should avoid micro-management and insistence that there is just one correct way to approach a representation.

For the entire article:

Radio-age meets Internet age:  How do different generations of lawyers communicate?


Radio-age meets Internet-age: Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964

This is part three of a five-part article:

At most law firms, Boomers have matured into a leadership position.  These are lawyers between age 50 and age 68.

Transformative events that took place during the formative years of Boomers include the Cold War, the Space Race, the lunar landing, Vietnam, the Kennedy and King assassinations, and the civil and women’s rights movements.  The advent of the birth control pill dramatically changed women’s careers and launched the dual-career family.  They were the first generation to grow up with television.

“Boomers grew up challenging authority,” said Turner.  “Where their parents were frugal, they were self-indulgent and acquisitive – wanting the latest new homes in the suburbs, the consumer products to fill them and the cars to drive back and forth.  They worked long hours in order to fuel their acquisitive lifestyles.  They live to work.”

In the workplace, Boomers identify very closely with their careers and career success.  “For many, work is more important than family -- which contributed to a surge in divorce,” said Turner.  “Boomers are less hierarchical than traditionals; decision-making is based on consensus rather than directives.  They like meetings.  Unless it’s casual Friday, they often wear suits to work.”

In today’s workplace, Boomers like to be acknowledged with titles, perks and money.  Like Bob Dylan, they feel “forever young.”  Other generations should avoid any hints that they are aging or old.

For the complete article:

Radio-age meets Internet age:  How do different generations of lawyers communicate?


Radio-age meets Internet-age: Traditionals were born before 1946

This is part two of a five-part article:

Many law firms still have a number of “Traditionals” showing up at the office every day.  These are lawyers age 68 and older.

Transformative events that took place during the formative years of traditionals include Prohibition, the crash of the stock market and the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, the New Deal and two world wars.  In short, they grew up surrounded by a lot of jeopardy.

“To survive and succeed, Traditionals had to be frugal, self-sacrificing and hardworking,” said Turner.  “They learned to be reliable and reserved, to dress conservatively and to follow the rules.  When jobs are scarce, you do not want to rock the boat.  They got their news from newspapers and the radio.”

In the workplace, Traditionals were loyal to their firms.  “They expected to rise through the partnership track to hold one job for their entire lives,” said Turner.  “They worked from nine-to-five and respected the formal hierarchy.  They always wore suits to work.  Family life was separate from work life.”

In today’s workplace, Traditionals feel that they deserve to be respected for their experience, and listened to.  They are used to a slower style of communication.  Other generations should not rush them.

For the complete article:

Radio-age meets Internet-age:  How do different generations of lawyers communicate?


Radio-age meets Internet-age: How do different generations of lawyers communicate?

An older lawyer wants a younger lawyer to return phone calls.  The younger lawyer wants the older to return texts.  An older lawyer wants to interact face-to-face.  The younger lawyer wants to interact electronically.  An older lawyer wants to see a younger lawyer well-dressed and at his or her desk.  The younger lawyer wants to be casually dressed and working remotely.

Have any of these situation come up at your law firm?

“A law firm can have as many as four different generations working together at the same time – and often on the same team,” said Caroline Turner.  “Each of these generations brings different expectations and styles to the table – depending on the cultural climate in which they grew up.  Each generation can be dismissive of the traits of those who are older or younger.”

Generations are strongly shaped by historic and technological developments during the first two decades of their lives.  These in turn lead to different values and different approaches to work and the workplace.  Depending on a lawyer’s generation, there are specifics “do’s” and “don’ts” to effective workplace interaction.

When misunderstood, these differences can hinder communications and workplace experience,” said Turner.  When understood, these differences can be put to work to enhance the goals of the law firm.”

Turner discussed generational differences at the monthly educational meeting of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association, held March 11 at Ocean Prime in LoDo, Denver.

Turner is a lawyer and principal at Difference WORKS LLC, where she helps leaders achieve better business results by creating inclusive work environments.  She is author of Difference Works:  Improving Retention, Productivity and Profitability through Inclusion.  She is former general counsel of Coors Brewing Company and a former partner at Holme Roberts & Owen.

“The four generations are typically referred to as the Traditional, Boomer, Gen X and Millennial generations, said Turner.  “These are generalizations.  Obviously, many of your lawyers come to you from the ‘cusp’ or transition point of two generations, and will exhibit mixed traits.”

This is part one of a five-part article.  For the complete article:

Radio-age meets Internet age:  How do different generations of lawyers communicate?

Market research trends: Listening posts in an interactive environment

Part five of a five-part article:

The best way to find out what is in the hearts and minds of your clients is to ask them – using both quantitative and (increasingly) quantitative methods.  These tools work not only for market research, but can also be used when creating persuasive and effective strategies for juries in the courtroom.

“To know what your clients are thinking and feeling, law firms must create a way for them to interact with you,” said Elkins.  “We call these methods ‘listening posts.’”

Listening posts can provide real-time monitoring on a set schedule of public opinion and trends, using surveys (online or phone), interviews and discussions.  Surveys can be general, to take the pulse of opinions and emerging trends, or specific, to track specific issues or activities.  Group discussions (online on in person) involving 6-24 people from a targeted group can delve deeply into member values.

“Static quantitative data gained by this process can be used to create attitudinal and demographic profiles,” said Elkins.  “Dynamic quantitative information such as attitudes, behaviors, emotions and personal values) can be used along with demographics to create segments.  The audiences in targeted profiles and segments can be presented with specific test messages or arguments.

When your target audience is a jury, arguments and trial strategy can be tested on segments in simulated settings, such as mock juries, shadow juries and communications workshops.

“There is a definite movement away from strictly demographic profiles and towards segments based on psychographic behavioral information,” said Elkins.

Another way to “listen” to how clients are branding your services is to create your own online client advisory panels and communities, such as bulletin boards (online, moderated discussion with individuals reacting to information you post), strategy labs (in-person or online group interactive sessions among you, your clients and your influencers) and online communities (live, real-time, dynamic online communities to use as a sounding board on emerging issues and activities).  These are tools that you create, manage and maintain.

“Finally,” said Elkins, “ law firms can ‘listen’ to clients by using software that ‘scrapes’ and reports on websites and social media sites (that you do not create or maintain) to monitor online discussion of cases and legal issues --  sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, public message boards, and relevant online media coverage.

“Scraping tools can be fine-tuned to measure and weigh the ‘volume’ of a discussion, the sentiment (pro and con) of a discussion, and the prominence of those participating in the discussion,” said Elkins.  “Whether you like it or not, what these people are saying is shaping your brand.  You must respond.”

In the past, law firms have based their business development decisions on demographic data generated by market research.  Today, in order to achieve the best results, they must factor behavioral data into that equation.   In addition, they must recognize that their clients now own their brands.  They must listen carefully, especially online and in real time, to understand what their clients are saying.


For the complete article:

Strong trends energize law firm market research


Market research trends: The best brands today solve problems

Part four of a five-part article:

Today’s compelling law firm brand is not about the features of a product or service.  Instead, it is about meeting clients’ needs and solving clients’ problems.  The brand is about solutions.

“For example, retail customers rarely want to buy a drill just to have a drill,” said Elkins.  “They want to solve the problem of mounting a new shelf in the kitchen on which to place their cookbooks.  Ownership of a drill must be branded as leading to that result.”

Traditional branding efforts followed a linear pattern, with a beginning and an end.  This is the pattern most law firms are used to.

1.       Conduct market/brand research

2.       Understand the market perceptions of an entity’s brand, products or services

3.       Define (or redefine) the desired value proposition and brand promise

4.       Build a brand platform

5.       Deliver the brand through outbound communications

Today, effective branding efforts are circular and continuous:

1.       Conduct market/brand research to determine perception and value

2.       Engage in client intelligence via “client listening”

3.       Look to and prepare for the future using “trend spotting”

4.       Measure success, using benchmark campaigns, initiatives and monitoring

5.       Integrate marketing research in ways that meet the needs and match the comfort zones of attorneys

6.       Lather, rinse, repeat


For the entire article:

Strong trends energize law firm market research


Market research trends: The best brands today are interactive

Part three of a five-part article:

In the past century, branding was a one-way process – delivered from the provider of the product or the service to the consumer of the product or service.  The brand was tightly controlled and conveyed to audiences using traditional mass media buys, placements and speaking engagements.

“Today, thanks to the Internet, branding is now much more interactive and collaborative,” said Elkins.  “It is created and controlled not by its owner, but by what clients and consumers say about the brand in the course of uncontrolled social media conversations.

“The consumer landscape is dynamic,” said Elkins.  “Brands must complement traditional methods of market research and message delivery with non-traditional, innovative research approaches that successfully reveal clients’ wants, wishes, desires and unmet needs.  Brands must be nimble enough to adapt quickly and engage across multiple touch points.”


For the entire article:

Strong trends energize law firm market research


Market research trends: The best brands today motivate using emotion

Part two of a five-part article

Market research can be quantitative or qualitative.  Quantitative research is rational and delves into the minds of clients and potential clients.  It focuses on what, where and when.  It measures the incidence of views and opinions in a chosen sample.  It uses structured techniques such as online questionnaires, on-street interviews or telephone interviews.  It assumes a fixed and measurable reality that can be analyzed using and reported through statistics.

Qualitative research, on the other hand, delves into the value systems (hearts) of clients and potential clients. It focuses on the why and how of customer decision-making.   Its purpose is to gain an understanding of underlying reasons and motivations, and uncover trends.  It uses unstructured or semi-structured techniques such as face-to-face interviews or group discussions.  It assumed a dynamic and negotiated reality.  Data are analyzed by themes and reported in everyday language.

“To persuade and motivate, you need to understand both minds and hearts,” said Elkins.  “Marketing IQ must be combined with marketing EQ.  Qualitative research yields valuable data.  At the same time, quantitative or ‘values-based’ research is proving itself essential to understanding today’s dynamic and increasingly interactive marketplace."


For the entire article:

Strong trends energize law firm market research


Strong trends energize law firm market research

Most lawyers believe that they know what their clients want.  Shockingly often, these lawyers are mistaken.  As a result, they make poor business and business development decisions.

Should we open a new office in a new region?  Should we add a new practice area?  Should we expand (or eliminate) an existing practice?  Should we target a particular kind of work in a particular industry?  What sets us apart from our competitors?

The only way to truly understand what clients and potential clients want from a lawyer or a law firm is to do market research that uncovers the truth in clients’ hearts and minds.  Client research is used to support law firm strategy and tactics that lead to better results and an improved bottom line.

“We know that to create, execute and maintain strong brands and client communications, law firms must understand how clients and potential clients are making decisions related to their service offerings,” said Brian Elkins.

Elkins discussed the use of market research by law firms at the monthly program of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association, which took place Feb. 11 at Ocean Prime in LoDo, Denver.

Elkins is senior brand strategist at Heart+Mind Strategies, a national consulting group that helps Fortune 500 corporations, associations and interest groups with cutting-edge brand strategy, audience research and product/service innovation.  The firm’s research is behind such well-known campaigns as “Plastics Make It Possible” for The American Plastics Council, “got milk” for the National Milk Processors and “Together We Can Save a Life” for The American Red Cross.

Elkins focused his presentation on new trends in market research.

This is part one of a five-part article.  For the entire article:

Strong trends energize law firm market research