Startup Culture is Appealing to Millennial Law Graduates

Growing up, many of us were told to stay on track, whether it was in school or your career path. For most attorneys, this meant attending a 4-year university, obtaining internships, moving onto law school, and then securing a position at a law firm. Samantha Von Hoene, however, decided not to “stay on track” and picked a different route instead.

Samantha Von Hoene was in her second year of law school at UC Hastings when she was offered a summer internship at a medium-sized firm. This was her plan until she decided to politely turn the offer down. Instead of the internship at the firm, she decided to go to Silicon Valley where she would intern, in-house, at a startup finance firm. Going off track worked in Hoene’s favor because she is now the head of legal affairs at Enjoy Technology, Inc. Enjoy is a tech startup that sends experts to deliver, install, and explain how to use technology products from certain companies. She is the only lawyer at Enjoy, and she is constantly learning about legal and business issues.

But Samantha wasn’t the only law student on this route. Professors from UC Hastings and Stanford Law School say they’ve seen this change over the years while teaching. Professors have seen most students are now taking the straightto-in-house route out of law school. The change has to do with millennials wanting to seek purpose in what they are doing rather than going straight to a law firm.

With this driven and purpose-seeking generation, it has formed a cultural shift at companies. In-house teams say that millennials are more likely to speak up and express their opinions to their managers and higher ups at the company, which is something they haven’t seen in the past.

What does this mean for founding and named attorneys at law firms today? If you seek new talent that is selfmotivated and passionate, take a hard look at your firm culture and see if the millennial mindset would be welcomed there. If not, you may have some soul searching to do.

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