Welcome, my name is JP Box. Born in 1981, I am a Millennial lawyer-turned-entrepreneur and author. Let me tell you, briefly, how I got to this point.
On paper and in practice, I was a great lawyer. I graduated cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center where I served as Executive Editor of the Georgetown Law Journal.
I practiced law for six years in Washington, DC and Denver, Colorado. I worked for three firms. You could call me the "Goldilocks" of associates -- trying on for size a large international firm in DC, a large regional firm in Denver, and a small regional firm in Denver (the last of which became a mid-sized national firm). My practice focused on government investigations, commercial litigation, and real estate transactional work.
Unlike Goldilocks, I didn't find the right temperature law firm. I worked at each firm for roughly two years (which coincidentally is the national average for a millennial in a new job). At each firm, I quickly earned the trust of partners, and clients would often call me directly about ongoing and new cases. And, yes, I could make a legal brief sing. But it wasn't enough to sustain me. I pulled the plug on firms whose partners told me they were looking for the "next JP Box" when hiring new associates.
When I left each firm, disappointed partners would ask me a seemingly simple question: why are you leaving us? At the time, I couldn't articulate a good reason. I was simply following a voice within me to continue searching for myself and my place in this world.
After six years as a lawyer, I switched gears and co-founded a merino wool children's wear company called Chasing Windmills. For that story, you'll have to check out the company that my wife (Sarah) and I co-founded and launched in 2015.
Time has given me perspective. I've realized that my journey -- the successful but unfulfilled associate -- is not all that unique. The internal conflicts that drove me away from practicing law could be traced, in part, to the generational divides between Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials. I began to wonder: what would a Millennial-friendly law firm look like, and how could it thrive? What steps can law firms take -- big and small -- to attract and retain their best young associates?
These questions led me to where I am now: a lawyer-turned-entrepreneur and consultant. I help law firms understand how to attract and keep their best Millennial associates. In a way, I'm hoping to create the perfect firm for all those young Goldilocks associates out there -- a firm that will thrive financially because of its ability to motivate and keep its best young talent.
My wife has asked me: what if a law firm followed your advice completely? Would you go back to practicing law? My answer is: no. I love what I do now. But if you had asked me that question in 2013 when I was still practicing law? I'd probably still be a lawyer today.
When I advise law firms on Millennials, it's not coming from an outsider who never practiced law or a person who belongs to a different generation. I am a lawyer, licensed in two states. I am a Millennial born in 1981. I've lived the life and I've done the research.
I can help law firms bridge the gap with their Millennial attorneys and usher in a new era at law firms where all attorneys -- Boomers to Millennials -- work together effectively and harmoniously. Sure, it might sound idealistic, but that's lesson number one about Millennials: we dream big.
Book Release, December 2017!
For more of my story and additional insights into the Millennial generation, please check out my book: The Millennial Lawyer: How Your Firm Can Motivate and Retain Young Associates.
Published by the American Bar Association, The Millennial Lawyer: How Your Firm Can Motivate and Retain Young Associates weaves together personal tales of my life as a young attorney with exhaustive research into the Millennial generation. My book identifies commonly held Millennial values and explains how law firms can embrace the Millennial mindset while remaining highly productive.