Jonathan Fitzgarrald and I were asked to contribute our thoughts on the generations at work for the Greater Chicago Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrator’s magazine. While our initial research and conversations in regards to the generational divide in law firms dealt with lawyers and their clients, our focus in this turns internal in regards to how law firms manage the different generations, recruit and retail lawyers, AND continue to build vibrant practices.
For the first time in history, there are four generations in the workforce—Silent, Boomer, GenX and GenY. The different mentalities, preferences, and motivations among the generations has introduced some unchartered opportunities and challenges. According to a recent Altman Weil study entitled Law Firms in Transitions, “Effectively planning the retirement of Baby Boomer partners is critical and must be resolved in the next 3 to 5 years. The timing is not flexible, and, if unaddressed, the cost in lost revenue and client relationships could be devastating.” Savvy legal administrators who understand the different generational markers and who customize their responses accordingly will benefit from a harmonious and successful working environment. A lack of generational understanding results in internal strife, increased turnover and loss of business.