For law firms, using technology within the workplace is a no-brainer – from recruiting and retaining new hires to productivity and workload.
According to Alex Gertsburg, CEO and founder of Gertsburg Law Firm Co., LPA in Cleveland; Mike Makofsky, principal at McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Liffman Co., LPA in Cleveland; and Aaron Minc, principal and founder of Minc LLC in Orange, keeping technology, and its relation to young professionals, high on a list of firm priorities is key.
“The most obvious answer is that young professionals are what is coming down the pipe,” Gertsburg said. “If you want to think about continuity and who is interfacing with your clients and growing your firm, you don’t have a choice (to incorporate technology). You have to keep the mindset and work habits of millennials top of mind because that is who will be working with you.”
Gertsburg added young legal professionals will have a certain mindset and be used to work habits that technology affords them, so employers need to be thinking about that as well.
Makofsky noted the legal community can be a very competitive environment when it comes to recruiting young talent. Because of that, he said firms need to be cognizant of what these professionals will be looking for in a firm, especially when it comes to technology.
“Even before we meet with someone, they’ve probably already looked us up,” he noted. “They probably already have a sense of what we’re about and what we offer. It’s important for our digital paths to then be current and fresh, and that they offer these platforms that younger attorneys are looking for.”
Young lawyers are using social media and technology in various ways, from personal marketing to searching for jobs. One of the things Minc sees a lot with younger lawyers is having their social accounts to share their work and network separate from their firm.
“You might find individual lawyers marketing themselves on social media, and some bigger firms have their social media managers,” he said.
Both Gertsburg and Makofsky placed importance on the use of websites like LinkedIn to connect with prospective employees. But, of course, it wasn’t always that way.
“The way I found the law firm I wanted to work for, it had nothing to do with social media. No one used to use social media to find jobs,” Gertsburg recalled. “But today, we’re always looking for attorneys. We are depending largely on social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Not by blasting stuff and having people we don’t know contact us, but by having someone I have a connection with seeing it and sending it to someone they know. Most of the hires we’ve had in the past four years have been from social media referrals.”
Makofsky added it's a way for law firms to connect with their potential hires and have a conversation.
“Social media is a way for us to provide information and show what our firm is really about and how an attorney can advance themselves,” he said. “It’s more than just the legal side of it. It’s who we are as people. Social media platforms provide a way to convey that. We must offer those outlets as it continues to be current and fresh.”
But having a technologically forward practice isn’t just on social media, Minc said. Many young professionals want a technology-friendly workspace.
“Part of it may be offering more benefits and higher pay, but at my practice, it’s kind of set up for the younger generation as it’s already internet-based and those who are internet savvy are younger,” he explained. “The lobby is set up like a coffee bar and all of the offices are the same size. That’s because millennials like an egalitarian office space. We also cater to how they want to practice law. We use all cloud-based applications for office activity.”
Gertsburg said his firm also uses cloud-based software, so attorneys can work where and when they like.
“Cloud-based software becomes critical when getting access to client information and doing your job anywhere else besides the office,” he said. “Millennial professionals love that.”
Makofsky said a major focus for his firm is establishing a clear presence on social media.
“We recognize that social media, and the digital platform, is increasing importantly,” he explained. “It’s a lot of thought and time in how we want to present ourselves in those platforms and to ramp those up.”
Going into the future of the legal community and its younger workforce, the big idea is to become technologically savvy or lose out on top talent, the professionals said.
“It will play a bigger role in the future that (social media) will be used by law firms to market themselves, other than relying on traditional channels to get the word out,” Minc said.
Gertsburg said, “You either adapt or go extinct. The reality is technology is changing and law firms who change with it will succeed. Those who do not will be a lot less attractive to clients and employees alike.”
Publisher’s note: Aaron Minc is a member of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company Board of Directors.