Biglaw, Dewey Ballantine, Federal Judges, Old People

When You’re Sitting in Court in Adult Diapers, Something Is Wrong

old lady elderly woman.jpgFrom a recent NYT piece about mandatory retirement policies at law firms:

Unlike corporate America, which, for the most part, dropped mandatory retirement ages decades ago, many big law firm partnerships are keeping up the practice of pushing out older lawyers to make room for new blood.

In a survey last year of 46 law firms with 100 or more lawyers, about 57 percent of them reported a mandatory retirement age, ranging from 65 to 72….

The article focuses on A. Paul Victor, the former Weil Gotshal antitrust partner who recently moved to Dewey Ballantine, after hitting Weil’s mandatory retirement age of 68.
The story explores the pros and cons of having a mandatory retirement age — a legitimate and interesting policy question. But our primary reaction is summed up this by these commenters at the WSJ Law Blog:

“[I]f you’re pushing 70 and you really want to trudge in to the office every day there may be something wrong with you. Mr. Victor and others, really – spend some time living life while you still can.”

“By 65, these guys have made plenty of money and should find something else to do — legal or otherwise — to keep them busy. Go teach or provide pro bono services or get reacquainted with your family. Leave some room so that the young bucks can have their day in the sun, too.”

One obvious rebuttal: many federal judges remain on the bench well into their old age. But which way does that cut? We can think of a number of judges who probably should have retired years ago.
Happy Birthday. Vacate Your Office. [New York Times]
Forcing Aging Partners to Retire: Fair or Foul? [WSJ Law Blog]

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