Partner Development Strategy – November 2012 Strategy Question of the Month

by Sterling on November 16, 2012

The demographics of the legal industry are clear – a very large cohort of baby boomer partners will be retiring over the next 20 years. In fact, by 2020 (eight years from now) half of the boomer cohort will be 65 or older. While it is certainly true that productive people work beyond age 65, there will clearly be a need for a new generation of highly capable partners to develop and manage client relationships, to train and mentor future partners, and to lead their firms and practices.

If you look at the broader demographics, the generational cohorts create something akin to a roller coaster.

  • Baby Boomers are a large cohort of over 80 million people
  • Generation X  are a smaller cohort of roughly 60 million people
  • Millennials are a large cohort of over 80 million (similar in size to the boomer generation)
There are clearly cultural differences between (and within) each generational cohort – something demographers have studied and documented.  However, simply looking at the size of the cohorts underscores the challenge facing law firms over the next 10-20 years. A large generational cohort has begun to retire and will continue to retire over the next 20 years.  Meanwhile, the generational cohort behind them is smaller (and we see many firms with fewer equity partners from this generation).  The Millennial generation represents a new, large cohort (boding well for the long run), but the oldest Millennial is still an associate today – and many are not even out of high school yet.

The question then is, “where will law firms’ future leaders come from?”

The very short survey below should only take two or three minutes to complete.  Your individual responses will remain anonymous and confidential – collective input will be published here at the end of the month.  Please complete the survey by the close of business (PST) on November 28, 2012.  If for some reason you do not see the survey in the box below, click this link and you will be taken directly to the survey.

As always, thank you for your willingness to share your experiences with your peers in the legal industry.

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