The generation gap that makes for different tastes in music, design and values is also creating problems in the workplace
; particularly for lawyers. In a field that thousands join a year and most stay in for a lifetime, there are more disputes than ever over what the office environment should look and feel like.
In surveys lawyers who've been in the profession for years prefer doing their work from 9 to 5 Monday through Friday. Younger lawyers are finding ways to work and maximize their time out of the office. Technology has evolved from slow moving desktops to ultra-modern laptops
, landlines to PDAs
that hold a wealth of information and with all of this innovation, the workplace might have already moved itself out of the office. While the “thirty-something” and younger lawyers may find it perfectly acceptable to communicate with clients and partners over email and text message older generations view this as an ineffective form of communication preferring face to face contact and phone calls.
Whether or not the generations can agree on what method is better makes no difference as they are both necessary to remain competitive. There is no doubt that if all communication were based upon email, text message and instant message, there would be large groups left out of the loop. Law firms need the versatility of each generation to attract every type of client. While the younger folks struggle to conform to authority’s standards and authority figures struggle to keep up with the latest in technology, they balance each other out quite nicely. If the different generations could look past their differences, each segment could learn a lot from the others; a lesson that could keep firms competitive for a long time.