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Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin - Fall 2014

Generational Challenges Jessica Brown Powers Generational Challenges Across The Practice of Law Author Preface: I am a member of Generation X and find that I sympathize with both generations; however, according to the Pew Research Center,1 I am about 94 percent Millennial (more on that below). Because this article is about social generations, it uses generalizations. Thus, one may not agree with some of the thoughts or opinions articulated by members of the respective generations – the nature of the beast. Names of lawyers who contributed to this article are withheld to encourage candor. Only Judge Vowell and Judge Kallon are quoted because their comments were taken directly from the generational panel discussion at the 2014 Bench and Bar Retreat. “Working remotely is code for sleeping in,” says former Presiding Judge of the Jefferson County Circuit Court, Scott Vowell, during the generational panel break-out session at the 2014 BBA Bench and Bar Retreat in Prattville. Judge Vowell, a member of the “Silent Generation,” provides one perspective on the topic of working from somewhere other than the office. “I don’t care where you do the work as long as you meet your deadlines,” says United States District Court Judge, Abdul Kallon, regarding his law clerks. Judge Kallon, born in 1969 and a member of Generation X, suggests that the younger generation of lawyers may have a different perspective on how they want to practice. Both comments were received with nodding heads from the various attendees at the break-out session, which was well-attended and generated lively and productive discussion among lawyers of all generations. Six members of the Birmingham Bar Association, including □ Millenial Birthdate: 1981 – early 2000s □ Generation X Birthdate: 1965 - 1980 □ Baby Boomers Birthdate: 1946 - 1964 □ Silent Generation (aka Veterans Gen.) Birthdate: 1927 - 1945 Ashley Peinhardt of Hare Wynn, the Honorable Abdul Kallon, the Honorable Scott Vowell, Allison Skinner of Skinner Neutral Services, Jim Lloyd of Lloyd, Gray and Whitehead, and Larry Fantroy of Starnes, Davis, reflected on their experiences and sparked candid dialogue concerning “generational differences have always been a fact of life… we need to talk about theses issues...” Judge Vowell generational differences in today’s practice. Judge Vowell, who served as the moderator, added that “generational differences have always been a fact of life… we need to talk about theses issues...” Judge Vowell is part of a generation of lawyers who have been practicing since WHICH GENERATION ARE YOU? the 60s and 70s. Contrast that with the youngest crop of lawyers: the Millennials, who weren’t born until the early 80s. The range from the youngest to the oldest lawyers spans 40-50 years. In other words, we have members of the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials working in the same universe that we call the Birmingham Bar. This article is the first of a two-part series that will 1) highlight the different perspectives and opinions of the generations; and 2) help facilitate understanding and appreciation of those differences and offer insight into how to bridge the gaps. Every social generation is shaped by their collective experiences. Parents and family have a significant role in shaping the individual, but as a social group, each generation’s ideals come from the events that took place during their formative years. The following is a brief review of perceived generalizations of the different generations: Silent Generation: 28 Birmingham Bar Association


Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin - Fall 2014
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