In late 2003, the average age of the lawyers in the Bombardier law department was, according to its general counsel, 35. Speaking at a Canadian conference, the general counsel seemed proud of that average.
I can’t come to a conclusion. Perhaps, given age discrimination laws, I should not even touch this subject, but it got me thinking.
If the average lawyer graduates law school at 25, then the Bombardier lawyers – were they
lawyers – would have been on average ten years out of law school. Advantages of youthfulness could include more energy, more innovation, more acceptance of the current world (technology, women peers, globalization), lower compensation, and more familiarity with recent legal developments. Advantages of mature lawyers include legal judgment and experience, being able to mentor, cultural match with similarly-aged clients, job longevity, and a certain gravitas.
My reaction, at heart, is that law departments should strive for the right lawyers in the right positions, not any age-defined notion of quality.