Why Are Generations So Different At Work?

Our work ethic, trust and commitment are developed during our formative years. We learn these traits from our parents, teachers, world events, media, etc. If we look at the generations currently in the work force and associate their behavior to the world during their developmental years, it will help us understand each other. Understanding each other can lead to working better together.

We’ll briefly look at each generation relating to US Events and the American Family during their formative years.

For this piece we’ll use –

  • Traditionalists (over 72),
  • Baby Boomers (53 to 71),
  • GenXers (37 to 52), and
  • Millennials (17 to 36).


Traditionalists were raised during the depression. Children didn’t work to buy a new Xbox game, they worked to help feed the family. There was no waste. The government was spending money to help shore up the economy after the end of WWII.

The family consisted of Dad, Mom and siblings. There were traditional “male/female roles” in the family. Parents were working to be able to give their children a better life. Adults talked, children listened and learned.

Young people were taught to respect their elders, superiors and the government. Family was emotional and financial security.

Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers were raised during economic growth. Families were buying homes, cars and TVs. Businesses were growing in the US and good jobs were available. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. were assassinated and US was at war with Vietnam. Youth started questioning authority and becoming anti-establishment. Young people started looking for self-fulfillment.

Family roles started getting blurred. Women went to college. Dr. Spock came out with his book on raising children. Divorce rates started soaring. TVs came into the family homes. People were living the American dream. The Generation Gap started between children and their parents.

Young people were more financially comfortable and educated. They weren’t as inclined to follow without questioning.


Generation X saw a continued deterioration of leadership. Watergate, Kent State Students killed by the National Guard, Mississippi Blacks killed by police. Corporate downsizing started. The environment becomes important with the spotted owl and three-mile island. We are introduced to AIDs. Problems with the Middle East started affecting us with the energy crisis.

Traditional families continue change, single parent families, second marriages and blended families becoming the norm. With both parents working, children would come home from school, have a list of tasks to do before mom and/or dad came home and didn’t have anyone supervising them. They became self-sufficient. Remember the ad “An Army of One”. Computers started coming into home with technology expanding our worlds.


Millennials saw the IT bubble burst and the crash in 2008. Parents lost their jobs and were out of work for long periods of time or took jobs that were lower paying. Terrorism started internally and externally with the Columbine massacre, 911 and the bombing of Marines in Lebanon.

Parents became fearful for the safety of their children. Children weren’t left by themselves. After school programs and scheduled summers became the norm. Parents wanted to teach children that they were valuable and could accomplish their goals. Parenting was shared more equally between men and women.

What Does This Mean for Our Work Teams?

There are fundamental differences between the generations. The evolution from trusting the family and authority to trusting yourself and those that prove themselves to you, has occurred over 75 years and four generations. We don’t all think alike, and we never will.

What Can You Do About It?

Don’t expect those you work with to have the same motivation and behavior that you do. Try to understand where your co-workers are coming from. Remember most of the actions and reactions at work really aren’t about the person receiving the actions or reactions, but about the person sending them.

If you are working with Millennials, they have been taught they have value and can contribute to the conversation. They have not seen trustworthy leadership. They need to take care of themselves because no one else is going to. They may need more direction and guidelines than GenXers.

When working with GenXers, expect independent thinkers. They want a task, the tools necessary and the opportunity to figure out the best way to do it. Trust is important, and they don’t give it easily.

For Baby Boomers, they have more respect for authority than Millennials and GenXers. They want more structure. Meetings should have an agenda. Most will not question authority in public.

Traditionalists expect to be listened to and respected because they are senior and have more experience. It is difficult for them to be challenged in public. They want a clear understanding of the hierarchy. Change is particularly difficult.

By understanding a bit more about why people act a certain way, it is easier to have empathy and find ways to work toward a common goal.

We are all trying to do a good job. We all just go about it a bit differently.

Diane L. Camacho, CLM
DLC Consulting Services, LLC
Legal Management Solutions for Solo and Small Law Firms

Don’t Unintentionally Disinherit Your Child

Leaving Your Assets to a Trusted Adult to Care for Your Child is a Mistake

I recently met with a potential client who had created his estate plan just after his son was born. He had every intention of taking care of his son. But this trust cut his son out of the picture: 70 percent of his assets went to his girlfriend, the child’s mother, and the remaining 30 percent was divided among his parents and siblings. His son was provided for only as a contingent beneficiary. What does that mean? This child would only receive an inheritance from his father, potentially millions of dollars, if he first lost his mother. Additionally, the trust terminated on his 18th birthday. A child with no parents would receive millions of dollars on his 18th birthday, regardless of his ability to responsibly manage so much money. There was another blind spot in this trust package: incapacity. There was no provision for continued voluntary support payments to the mother should the client become incapacitated, leaving both mother and son exposed to financial hardship before the father’s death.

Before we discussed his assets, this potential client was surprised when I asked him some basic but fundamental questions. “Who do you love?” “Who do you trust?” “Who are you responsible for?” I asked him what opportunities he wants his son to have as he grows up. He was thrilled to learn that I could draft a trust that would provide his son with guidance and structure, and reflect values important to the father — sportsmanship, entrepreneurship, musicality, and independence — while protecting the trust assets from creditors until his son decided to terminate the trust.

Giving his girlfriend his assets to take care of their son exposed those assets to risk. The boy’s mother could be found liable in a lawsuit, or she could suffer a major medical condition, exposing her inheritance to liens.

My guardianship nomination form is extensive, typically 5 to 8 pages after a parent provides information to customize the document. It lists guardians and back-up guardians. It allows a client to describe their desires for their child’s education and future. This father was thrilled to learn that he could provide guidance on encouraging team sports and camps and structured musical education. With this guardianship form, his son’s mother would have a document that lists the father’s various traditions and the people important to the him. This form would continue to provide her with support to better care for their son and to keep the child’s father’s spirit alive.

If your attorney asks you a lot of questions about yourself, your values, and the people in your life — including their personalities, positive attributes, frailties, and struggles — then you can trust you’re in good hands. Your estate plan does more than state who gets your assets when you die. Your estate plan is an opportunity for you to share your values and express your love for and trust in the people who are most important to you. I am honored to have helped this father and all my clients.

Warmest Regards,

Patricia De Fonte
Principal, De Fonte Law PC

How to provide for loved ones who cannot or should not inherit from you

Loving people can mean taking good care of them, taking responsibility for them. In some estate-planning situations, the responsible thing to do is to make provisions, but not necessarily leave an inheritance.

Many of us have family members who struggle with addiction. Assets or cash can often cause harm and in some cases may even be fatal. The combination of grief and an influx of cash can be overwhelming to an addict and devastating for their family.

Many of us have elderly parents who would be lost without our emotional and sometimes financial support. However, if they are on government assistance such at Medi-Cal or Medicaid, leaving them an inheritance may have the unintended consequence of interfering with their eligibility for those benefits.

In the last few months I have written trusts to address each of these issues. Through a trust, you can provide for your loved one without ever allowing them to receive cash in hand. You can pay for someone’s health, education, daily living needs, and support if they are struggling. You can provide funds that supplement social security and governmental assistance for comfort, welfare, and happiness.

Estate planning is about the people you love, the people you trust, and the people you are responsible for. With a personalized estate plan, you can take care of everyone who is counting on you in a way that is best for them.

Warm regards,

Patricia De Fonte

De Fonte Law PC

Trouble in Trump Times

“Know thy self, know thy enemy.” Sun Tzu

I recently finished a trial where the defendant admitted to running a red light and slamming into my client. When the jurors awarded minimal damages, I was reminded of what sociologist are calling our present times ‘America’s Cold Civil War’ and the success of President Donald Trump. How do we unify a jury, when our society is divided, and jurors talk past one another? How do we get our jurors into the same tribe?

President Trump’s success reminds trial lawyers of the importance and power of simplicity. Assessing the first 30,000 words of each American president’s term, analysts found that most politicians score a 6th to 8th grade level of communication. Harry Truman, who spoke at a 6th grade average on the Flesch-Kincaid readability test, was the second worst. According to the study published last December in Newsweek, Trump clocked in at a mid-fourth grade level.

What’s the lesson for plaintiff lawyers? Know your audience and speak to them. Unify the jury. Use simple language to create a tribe because our ability to compromise dies with polarization.

How do we get people into a tribe? President Trump’s ability to Keep It Simple Stupid is a lesson for us all. The simpler the plaintiff attorney’s message, the more unified the jury. When the case isn’t clear, jurors fall back on fundamental assumptions. Attempts to unpolarize these jurors must be crystal clear. Trump has taught us the power of simple, straight forward language that speaks to, and unifies the audience. Whether you agree or disagree with Trump, his skill at unifying his audience is notable.

Jurors are not real estate agents or brokers. They aren’t financial advisers or lawyers or judges. Yet, this is how we talk to jurors and one another as soon as we enter the courtroom. We talk in a very specialized language driven and carefully balanced on terms of art. We use eight words to say what could be said in two. We use arcane phrases to express commonplace ideas. Avoid the wordy, unclear, pompous and dull style that polarizes jurors. Getting the jurors into the same tribe and unified is a challenge in our present times, but if achieved yields great results as we’ve all learned there are no racists in a foxhole.

[April 2018 Video] Social Media Best Practices | Paula Mattisonsierra

About the Event
“Social Media Best Practices” presented by Paula Mattisonsierra.

In this presentation, Paula Mattisonsierra will discuss:

  • Develop an understanding of the purpose of your website.
  • Increase the conversion rate of your advertising dollars.
  • How to more effectively work with your web designer.

Paula Mattisonsierra is the Marketing Director & Founder of Power Marketing SF (PMSF), an off-site marketing department targeting small to mid-sized businesses.

Power Marketing SF – “Your Off-site Marketing Department”; developing/managing tactical marketing plans and managing the day-to-day marketing activities. PMSF also manages existing marketing vendors to ensure that the entire team is the on-brand message, goal, and budget.

Getting you back to the business of running your business.

She has successfully launched 4 businesses of her own.

Challenges lawyers face, and how the attorney action club can help you meet those challenges.

As I help attorneys grow their firms, there are certain obstacles I’m sure you’ll recognize:

  • Feast or Famine: I’ve just finished being very busy and don’t have work waiting for me. On top of that, I don’t know where to get it!
  • Growing pains: How do I hire? When do I hire? What kind of firm do I want to build?
  • Capitalizing: How do I earn money without having to show up? How do I retire? Can my firm run without me?

The great news is: you are not alone.

  • Attorneys may very well be your greatest referral source. What better way to find out than regularly networking with a diverse group of them at Attorney Action Club?
  • What you’re doing has been done before. There’s no need to start from scratch. Our community supports itself and is made up of attorneys new and experienced as well as a diverse group of professionals that can help along the way.
  • It’s difficult to really believe it’s possible until we see it done. Meet founders whose firms and lifestyles prove that it’s not only realistic but possible.

All of this, while enjoying lunch and receiving CLE credit.

Lawyers: What’s Your Number One Referral Source?

Who is your number one referral partner?  The likely answer is another lawyer. It may be counterintuitive, but we are not each other’s competition; we are each others best referral source!  If you are a startup lawyer you may have discovered that IP lawyers are a good referral source, if you are a criminal defense lawyer you may have noticed that lawyers in Big Law firms commonly need a DUI lawyer for one of their client’s kids.  As a personal injury lawyer, I have discovered that estate planning attorneys have referred us wrongful death claims.

The Attorney Action Club helps lawyers grow their referral business by getting to know lawyers in diverse practice areas.  Our Third Thursday monthly meetings allow for thirty minutes of open networking. Open networking allows you to talk with and get to know other lawyers.  Each meeting gives each member an opportunity to introduce themselves and share a “Big Win” with the group. Your “Big Win” can be either personal or professional.  If your child just got accepted to university, that’s a Big Win! If you went on a vacation, thats a win! On the professional side, If you just finalized a partnership agreement, closed the deal, negotiated a settlement, acquitted your client, or helped a client resolve a dispute without litigation, the group wants to hear about your “Big Wins”!!

The magic of the Attorney Action Club, reveals itself with time.  Showing up to one meeting to hand out your business card is not a recipe for success.  The process of getting to know, like and trust another lawyer to the point where you are willing to send referrals takes time.  With regular attendance at the Third Thursday meetings, you begin to get know attorneys and attorneys get to know you. Over time, you may get to the point where you say to yourself, “I like that person and would trust them with my referrals.”

Speaking at the monthly meetings is another way attorney action club members can showcase their expertise.  The CLE presentations focus on legal topics that are of interest to lawyers in all practice areas, for example,”What Every Lawyer Must Know About Bankruptcy Law.”

Looking forward to hearing about your “Big Win” at the next Third Thursday meeting.

Why The Attorney Action Club Exists

The Attorney Action Club is a community of legal professionals that exists to help lawyers succeed in life and business.  Our membership includes both practicing lawyers and legal professionals who help lawyers succeed.

As lawyers we are our own worst enemy.  The typical lawyer has never seen a problem that cannot be solved with more work.  Except that over work then becomes the next problem, and the problem of over work cannot be solved by working more.   Our personal and professional life begin to suffer. We don’t schedule vacations and a high percentage of us burnout. Once burnout sets in we become unhappy and may turn to alcohol for relief.  The cycle continues until we are depressed, divorced or dead.

Law school taught us how to do the work, but nothing about how to run a business.  The definition of a business is a commercial profitable enterprise that runs itself (without you the lawyer). Is your law firm a business? Not many of us can answer that question with a “Yes.”

Many lawyers eventually discover that running a law firm is not as easy as we thought.  More like a JOB – Just Over Broke. The reality is that many auto body shops are run much more successfully than most law firms.  None of this is surprising, because we received no business training in law school. We are not taught how to set up a chart of accounts or calculate our law firms profit margin.

The Attorney Action Club helps shine a light on the importance of taking care of yourself and learning to create a commercial profitable legal enterprise; a business that runs itself.  Now we can calendar that long overdue vacation.

Personal Injury Law: Using the Just Like Me / Loving Kindness Meditation To Maximize Insurance Company Settlement Offers

Animosity between plaintiff personal injury lawyers and the insurance companies we work with does not help further our client’s goals. Viewing an insurance claims adjuster as the enemy does not facilitate an open discussion about the value of your client’s case, nor does this view motivate an adjuster to offer you top dollar for your client’s case.

Let’s look at how to develop a working rapport with an adjuster and how to get into the right frame of mind when we pick up the phone and introduce ourselves to the adjuster for the first time. Ideally, your first phone conversation with an insurance adjuster should be preceded with a properly worded letter of representation. Quote your state’s authority, to obtain the defendant’s insurance policy limits; in California, the case is Boicourt v. Amex Assurance Co. (2000) 78 Cal. App. 4th 1390. Also, include a short questionnaire that asks questions related to the purpose of the trip the insured driver was on, when the accident happened. The answers to these questions will help you determine if the accident happened while the defendant was in the course and scope of employment. The adjuster assigned to your case will respond to your letter of representation with an introductory letter of their own. Once you receive this introductory letter, pick up the phone and introduce yourself.

Before you pick up the phone, try the Just Like Me / Loving Kindness meditation, to help improve your rapport, goodwill and sympathy for the adjuster (also a human being) on the other end of the telephone. I learned about this meditation from the book “Search Inside Yourself, The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (And World Peace)”, written by Google engineer Chade-Meng Tan (page 169). Start by sitting in a comfortable position, and rest your mind by focusing on nothing else other than the process of gently breathing in and out. Visualize an image of the claims adjuster you are about to call. Now, read the script below, pausing at the end of each sentence for reflection:

This claims adjuster has a body and a mind, just like me.

This claims adjuster has feelings, emotions and thoughts, just like me.

This claims adjuster, at some point in his or her life, has been sad, disappointed, angry, hurt or confused, just like me.

This claims adjuster has, in his or her life, experienced physical and emotional pain and suffering, just like me.

This claims adjuster wishes to be free from pain and suffering, just like me.

This claims adjuster wishes to be healthy and loved, and to have fulfilling relationships, just like me.

This claims adjuster wishes to be happy, just like me.

End your meditation by focusing on your breath. Now, you should be in a good frame of mind to pick up the phone and discuss your client’s case, with the person who may end up writing a large check if the case settles.

When you are on the phone, a good way to start the discussion is to share some information that will help the adjuster. Let the adjuster know about your client’s injuries, treatment status and lost wages. If the adjuster asks for your client’s social security number, provide it. Providing the social security number allows the adjuster to verify whether or not your client is Medicare or Medicaid eligible, and it will help the adjuster to run an ISO report, which will reveal any prior or subsequent injury claims that may impact the value of the case.

From your point of view as the plaintiff’s attorney, it is a good idea to confirm the name of the insured driver who was actually driving at the time of the accident. This will ensure that you do not confuse the policyholder owner of the vehicle with the driver who caused the accident. Also, again ask the adjuster whether or not the insured driver was in the course and scope of employment at the time of the accident. The answer to this question may reveal additional insurance coverage for the accident.

Use the Just Like Me / Loving Kindness meditation to put yourself into the shoes of the adjuster. Your kindness will make the adjuster more receptive to your arguments and will, ultimately, result in a more reasonable settlement offer. The insurance claims adjuster is not your enemy. They are more like a juror whom, ultimately, you have the burden of persuading at trial. Yes, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

[February 2018 Video] Everything You Need to Know About Renting Property Using Airbnb | Michael J. McLaughlin

About the Event
“Everything You Need to Know About Renting Property Using Airbnb” presented by Michael J. McLaughlin.

In this presentation, Michael J. McLaughlin will discuss:

  • Who can legally rent a property using platforms like Airbnb?
  • What are the requirements for legally renting a property using Airbnb?
  • What are the penalties for breaking the law?

Michael McLaughlin is the sole shareholder and senior attorney McLaughlin Sanchez. He represents landlords in eviction suits and has successfully tried complex unlawful detainer actions before Bay Area juries. With extensive knowledge of real property law, Michael regularly speaks on landlord-tenant topics before real estate groups and financial institutions, including Coldwell Banker, Paragon Real estate, and Citibank. As the founder of McLaughlin Sanchez, Michael concentrates his practice on representing landlords in disputes with tenants, including negotiating tenant buyout agreements as well as representing property owners who have disputes involving real property.

Michael has practiced law for over 17 years and prides himself in developing individually tailored strategies to match each client’s need to obtain the most cost-effective results. He obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Washington in Seattle and graduated summa cum laude, fifth in his class, from the Seattle University School of Law.

In his leisure, Michael enjoys working out, camping, and exploring around in his Jeep.