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The next generation of lawyers is here, and like every generation before them, they are poised to reshape the legal landscape. That said, this industry is known to resist change. So, what impact will this new generation have on Big Law? 

To unpack this question, we have to look at the characteristics that define Gen Z and the values they seek in legal opportunities. Below are the prevailing philosophies among Gen Z lawyers, as well as the recruitment strategies your firm can use to impress, recruit, and retain them.

Understanding Gen Z: A Brief Overview

Gen Z lawyers were born in 1997 or later and are roughly 27 years old or younger.1 Gen Z is arguably the most tech-savvy generation, having been born after the advent of the internet. This generation grew up with access to the most modern computers and smartphones, so navigating technology is second nature to them. 

Apart from technology, this generation is also socially conscious and often outspoken on sustainability, diversity, equality, and other far-reaching issues. Gen Z is also the most diverse generation, so the communities with the broadest spectrum of backgrounds (race, gender, orientation, identity) are the most attractive to Gen Z.

Gen Z lawyers are acutely aware of mental health and desire manageable work-life balances to preserve their emotional and physical fitness. Members of this generation are also more receptive to remote opportunities, having firsthand experience with fully remote work or education during the pandemic.

How Gen Z Makes Career Choices

As with every generation, Gen Z’s values and preferences deeply impact how they search for jobs and how they view work holistically. Understanding these unique generational qualities can help your firm retain the top talent that Gen Z has to offer. 

Gen Z lawyers value balanced working hours and companies with a socially conscious image. Law firm mentorship and growth opportunities are also attractive to Gen Z, and they may search for a position where they can make a vast impact.

What Gen Z Lawyers Value in a Workplace

How does your firm stack up against Gen Z’s workplace values? Here are the top concerns for Gen Z lawyers on the job hunt today.

Flexible Work Arrangements

Gen Z is nothing if not adaptable. After proving their capability to adjust their lifestyles during the pandemic, Gen Z members are eager to bring that same flexibility and freedom to the workplace. As such, hybrid work models will be more attractive to Gen Z than a traditional or inflexible workplace arrangement. 

That said, flexible hours might be even more critical than flexible working locations. New attorneys will want more control over their working hours as the emphasis on healthy work-life balance grows among the Gen Z working community. Gen Z members appreciate the freedom to make time for activities like fitness classes, therapy, and other de-stressors that can boost their productivity and satisfaction at the workplace.

Technological Advancements

Gen Z has had tech at their fingertips since childhood. Thus, a work environment that doesn’t meet a high standard of technological efficiency is challenging for a Gen Zer to imagine—and likely frustrating to work in.

The firms that will stand out to Gen Z have an open stance towards AI and other cutting-edge legal tech tools to enhance workflow and productivity. Firms that are slower to adopt new technologies may fall lower on Gen Z’s preferred list of workplaces.

Diversity and Inclusion

Gen Z doesn’t just value diversity; they embody it. Generation Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation, and they are also the generation most comfortable and familiar with gender-neutral pronouns.2

Expect Gen Z lawyers to value a workplace’s diversity initiatives more than previous generations. Evidence of successful inclusion policies and diverse hiring practices is impactful to these candidates. No longer is the promise of valuing diversity enough—Gen Z workers want to see diversity in their interview panels, on company LinkedIn pages, and in promotional materials.

Decrease in Interest in Working in Big Law

Big Law is known for larger paychecks, albeit at the potential sacrifice of a healthy work-life balance. Predictably, Gen Z shrugs at the top salary offers of Big Law while showing more enthusiasm for roles at smaller firms where they can grow and receive more meaningful feedback.

According to a 2022 survey done by Deloitte, 40% of Gen Z members will likely quit their jobs within two years. What’s more, one-third of respondents even claimed that they would exit without another role lined up. There are many reasons for this—among them are quality of mental health and feelings of burnout. 

Today, the current perception of Big Law is that burnout and working late nights and weekends are the norm. While this culture may not have deterred previous generations like Gen X or Millennials, Gen Z may be the first generation to truly challenge the status quo of the legal world. 

Challenges Among the Gen Z Workforce

Despite Gen Z lawyers' many advantages, they face unique challenges entering the professional landscape in these contemporary conditions.

Rapid technological evolutions require constant education and reeducation on how the law interacts with emerging online platforms (like social media) and new technologies (like AI). While they may be the most tech-literate generation, technology is advancing beyond all expectations and will continue to pick up the pace. Older generations will turn to Gen Z to make crucial decisions that impact the firm’s relationship with technology.

Gen Z also has to navigate rapidly shifting work cultures. Some companies are fully remote after the pandemic; some are still trying to wrangle their employees back to the office to achieve pre-pandemic attendance. Some are caught in the middle. Gen Z must thread the needle of constantly changing workplace expectations.

Finally, many Gen Z lawyers are under economic pressure to repay student loan debt promptly. The anxiety to find an immediate high-paying position is stronger now than ever, with higher tuition costs and inflation rates on the rise.

Gen Z’s Great Potential

Despite their challenges, Gen Z lawyers have every opportunity to succeed in the legal profession and refresh an industry some would say requires a total makeover. 

High adaptability will enable Gen Z lawyers to thrive in various legal settings facing various professional challenges. Their diverse nature will empower them to approach problems from new angles and find creative solutions to long-existing bottlenecks in the system. Gen Z’s advocacy for work-life balance will make the legal profession more desirable and sustainable. Their passion for social justice will inform next-generation policies and practices that inspire following generations to follow in their footsteps. 

For firms who are ready to embrace change, Gen Z lawyers represent a new, dedicated workforce, primed to lead the industry forward.

Recruiting Gen Z Lawyers: Strategies and Best Practices

Does your law firm need more talented Gen Z lawyers? Here are some practical tips for attracting top Gen Z candidates.

  • Effective use of social media and digital platforms – To impress Gen Z, you must impress them where it counts: the internet. Many Gen Z members prefer digital platforms like LinkedIn for job searching and networking, and your firm can benefit from a strong presence on these sites through regular posts and a consistent brand image. 
  • Showcasing company culture and values – Members of this generation are avid online researchers and often look to solid evidence to inform their beliefs. Tap into the young lawyers currently working for your firm to provide testimonials of their experience to convince prospective Gen Z applicants that your firm is where they need to be.
  • Career development opportunities – Gen Z members are ambitious and want to make a difference wherever they work. They do not want to be stuck in stagnantlegal positions with no long-term career path. Emphasizing growth opportunities, potential mentorships, and transparent career progression paths can assure new recruits they’re able to grow within your firm.
  • Build personal connections – According to Thomson Reuters, Gen Z job seekers highly value their relationship with their recruiter when fielding a job offer. More than 60% of Gen Z students state that referrals from current or former employees are how they want to learn about potential employers.3 Having your legal recruiters establish personal connections with your preferred Gen Z candidates can be the difference between an offer’s acceptance and rejection.

Retaining Gen Z Talent in Legal Firms

If all goes well and your firm successfully attracts talented Gen Z lawyers, how can you avoid the high attrition rates that plague the law industry? Here are our top tips for how to retain legal talent for the long haul.

  • Creating a collaborative work environment – Gen Z members value challenges and the opportunity to prove themselves in a wide variety of situations. Encouraging cross-departmental projects and rewarding teamwork is a great way to keep your legal team engaged and challenged while building camaraderie. But beyond challenging your team, reinforce an open and supportive communication style so that your Gen Z lawyers feel supported when they take on new endeavors.
  • Offering competitive benefits and perks – Comprehensive wellness programs that allow your young professionals to look after their mental and physical health aren’t just for their benefit—they allow them to perform optimally for your firm. Student loan assistance and educational benefits are also desirable to Gen Z candidates fresh out of law school.
  • Regular feedback and recognition – No one likes to be in the dark, especially regarding how their superiors value their contribution. Providing constructive feedback to your young lawyers through regular check-ins can boost their motivation and confidence. Recognition programs and performance incentives can also raise morale and spur momentum on important projects.

Recruit for a Bright Future with E.P. Dine

Gen Z lawyers are the future of the legal industry, and they will make meaningful changes through their commitment to healthy work-life balance, diversity and inclusion, and leveraging technology.

Your firm needs to embrace innovation to attract forward-thinking Gen Z candidates. At E.P. Dine, we’re no strangers to adapting tailored recruiting strategies to meet specific client needs amidst a constantly shifting industry. 

With experienced, trusted legal recruitment experts like E.P. Dine, you can attract talent for a bright future. Learn how we leverage our decades of experience and robust recruiting network to ensure you find the right fit for your firm hassle-free.


  1. Pew Research Center. Defining generations: Where Millennials end and Generation Z begins.
  2. Pew Research Center. On the Cusp of Adulthood and Facing an Uncertain Future: What We Know About Gen Z So Far.
  3. Deloitte. Don’t want to lose your Gen Z and millennial talent? Here’s what you can do.
  4. Thomson Reuters. How law firms can maximize their Gen Z recruiting investments.

At E.P. Dine, we are committed to delivering content that is not only relevant and insightful but also rooted in professional integrity and expertise. To achieve this, every article published on the E.P. Dine blog undergoes a meticulous review process by qualified professionals with deep knowledge and experience in the legal field and legal recruitment.

David Walden


As Co-CEO of E.P. Dine and leader of the Law Firm Practice Group, David is a premier legal career strategist and search industry expert to law firm executives and partners throughout the United States. His clients, among the world's finest law firms, engage him when seeking the highest standard of excellence in their search efforts and hiring initiatives.

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