Born between 1946 and 1964, Baby Boomers are predominately in their 40s and 50s. They are well-established in their careers and hold positions of power and authority. This generational segment constitutes a large majority of today's law firm leaders, corporate executives, senior paralegals and legal managers. In fact, nearly 70 percent of law firm partners are Baby Boomers.
Labor statistics indicate that nearly 80 million Baby Boomers will exit the workplace in the next decade. These employees are retiring at the rate of 8,000 per day or more than 300 per hour. This unprecedented loss of skilled labor in the legal profession, consisting largely of partners, executives, senior support staff, legal managers and other legal thought leaders, may dramatically impact the legal industry.
Below are several common characteristics of the Baby Boomer generation.
- Work-Centric: Baby Boomers are extremely hardworking and motivated by position, perks and prestige. Baby Boomers relish long work weeks and define themselves by their professional accomplishments. Since they sacrificed a great deal to get where they are in their career, this workaholic generation believes that Generation X and Generation Y should pay their dues and conform to a culture of overwork. Baby Boomers may criticize younger generations for a lack of work ethic and commitment to the workplace.
- Independent: Baby Boomers are confident, independent and self-reliant. This generation grew up in an era of reform and believe they can change the world. They questioned established authority systems and challenged the status quo. In the legal workplace, Baby Boomers are not afraid of confrontation and will not hesitate to challenge established practices.
- Goal-Oriented: With increased educational and financial opportunities than previous generations, Baby Boomers are achievement-oriented, dedicated and career-focused. They welcome exciting, challenging projects and strive to make a difference.
- Competitive: Since Baby Boomers equate work and position with self-worth, they are quite competitive in the workplace. They are clever, resourceful and strive to win. Boomers believe in hierarchal structure and rankism and may have a hard time adjusting to workplace flexibility trends. They believe in "face time" at the office and may fault younger generations for working remotely.