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CLOSING THE GENERATION GAP

Say so long to your comfort zone.
What you need to know
about managing the multigenerational law firm.

June 2006 Issue | Volume 32 Number 4 | Page 4
 

 

We've been hearing about differences between generations since that first boomer scrawled "Never trust anyone over 30!" on a bathroom wall. And frankly, it only makes sense that people reaching majority during decades with unique social, political, economic and technological influences would grow up differently. But how do their varying, and sometimes conflicting, perspectives affect how you manage your practice?

Law Practice decided it was time to get realistic about the question. (It might have been after another managing partner bemoaned, "These new kids just don't seem to have the fire in their belly!") So we engaged cultural gerontologist Nancy Peppard to provide a big picture of the issues. We also dispatched some of the best legal business minds to dig deep into how generational differences are manifest in client relations, recruiting and retention efforts, and the marketing of legal services. Plus, the immediate past president of the American Society of Trial Consultants explores generational differences and juror behavior; a management expert takes a playful look at firm leadership; and a divorce lawyer expounds on changing attitudes about marital conflict.

Human beings differ in so many ways, predictable and not. Still, the differences that result from our shared developmental experiences ought to be easier to comprehend. But then, consider what "new urbanism guru" Dan Tasman says about that: "Strange how the older generations can't program a VCR if their life depended on it, but they managed to operate the climate control system of their 1958 Ramblers, which consisted of six unmarked knobs, one labeled ‘AirFloMatic' in unreadable cursive script, and four levers underneath the dash, which you had to turn, then pull."

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