Practice Development Counsel

Phyllis weiss haserot
Phyllis weiss haserot

President & Founder

212 593-1549

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Another Generational Workplace Transformation?

Research from the summer of 2004 by Karen MacKay, partner in Edge International resident in Australia, surveying associates and partners in the Multilaw global network of independent law firms confirms the divergent views between Baby Boomer partners (74% of partner respondents) and Generation X associates (70% of associate respondents). Results may have been even more revealing if the generation cohorts were divided in half, as the early Boomers differ, sometimes significantly from the later phase Boomers, as do the earlier and later phase Gen Xers from each other.

Nonetheless, the findings are quite interesting and warrant the attention of those who manage law and other professional firms. Here is a summary of some key findings.

Time for personal lfe "extremely important" to 44%, 33.3% in U.S. "extremelly important" by 20% of partners
Professional growth "extremely important" to 37% "extremely important" by 26% of partners
Partnership attainable 90% 95%
Partnership desirable 80% 92%
Partnership equally available 52% 65%
Ranked financial rewards #10 (out of 17) #3

Attitudes about feedback:

  • Veterans - "No news is good news"
  • Boomers - Annual ritual that justifies compensation; uncomfortable, but means to an end
  • Gen X Associates - Indication that somebody cares about them; desire ongoing, informal feedback

The Baby Boomer generation characterized as being driven by achievement, status and money, seems to have altered their firm's culture to accommodate their motivators and values. The idealistic and revolutionary attributes of the early phase of Boomers are less apparent now. What will the transformations from the independent, skeptical, resourceful Generation X be? Will they fight to improve the workplace for more work/life balance or vote with their feet?

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© Phyllis Weiss Haserot, 2005. All rights reserved