Afterword: Evan Cohen

Evan Cohen, Americas regional managing partner at Clifford Chance, explains why the new generation of lawyers are incredibly agile, and adept at navigating change.

Photo credit: Thomas Donley, New York

Our first collaboration with our friends at GC magazine and The Legal 500 – Advice To My Younger Self – profiled 20 highly regarded women lawyers who shared tips for success with those about to begin their own journeys. What’s exciting about Their Voices is that it flips that narrative. This time, it’s our rising lawyers helping legal industry veterans – partners, general counsel, law school professors and others – gain new insights in a world that increasingly requires fresh perspectives.

In conceptualizing this project, we started with the premise that today’s lawyers are incredibly agile – not only in their ability to work effectively from almost anywhere, but also in their openness to new ways of thinking and problem solving. From the time they were old enough to lift a mobile phone, they’ve been tied together by technology and global networks, which makes tuning out and turning off increasingly difficult. And yet, most of them manage to achieve an enviable level of balance in their lives.

Perhaps the reason this new generation of lawyers is so adept at navigating change is that rapid transformation is all they’ve ever known. Those of us further along in our careers have had to dispatch some long-held beliefs and modify our approaches to embrace a new normal. It’s not always a comfortable proposition, but we are finding our way – sometimes with help from the very people we lead.

“Today’s lawyers are incredibly agile – not only in their ability to work effectively from almost anywhere, but also in their openness to new ways of thinking.”

It’s hard to believe that 2019 marks the beginning of my fourth decade as a lawyer and my twentieth year as a partner at Clifford Chance. I’ve seen a lot and learned a lot, including the importance of eschewing labels. Each generation receives its own moniker – Baby Boomer, Gen X and the like. But if this book tells us anything, it’s that lawyers of every generation have many more traits in common than differences that separate them.

I couldn’t be prouder to call the lawyers in this book my colleagues. They are bright, motivated, hard-working, client-focused and civic-minded – just like the generations that preceded them. Best of all for me as a managing partner, they are part of a much larger group of associates who have their own equally impressive stories to tell.

The profiles in Their Voices: Insights from Today’s Rising Lawyers inspire me to remain flexible and welcome what’s next. I hope this book helps you to do the same.

Evan Cohen, Americas regional managing partner, Clifford Chance