Making The Lateral Move Rather Than The Move Into Retirement
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Several posts in the blogosphere have, in the last few days, focused on a rather new, if not surprising, phenomenon in the legal world: Manyfirms’ mandatory retirement policies are not on track with what of a lot of partners of the traditional retirement age want.  More and more, many lawyers are simply not ready to hang it all up at 65 and move on to greener fairways.  As the Wall Street Journal succinctly put it: “These folks have deals to do, briefs to write, cases to win.”

Some firms have responded by amending their retirement age policies.  Some have not.  In the latter case, many lawyers are either making lateral moves and taking jobs at firms with more forward thinking policies or striking out on their own, often taking more than a few of their co-workers with them in the bargain.

A good example comes from a recent New York Law Journal article, cited by WSJ, that reports that several partners from the firm Mendes & Mount have left the firm and have started their own boutique firm.  The attorneys leaving, a total of 24, made up the greater portion of the Mendes aviation practice.  At least one of the partners in the group of seven based their decision to leave on the intractability of the firm regarding its retirement policy.


That people are living longer, healthier lives is irrefutable.  With this longevity comes a lengthing of what one might call a person’s productive years.  By taking a short-sighted, almost stubborn approach to upholding an obviously outdated practice on pure ceremony is not only foolish but costly.  With age, the aphorism goes, comes wisdom.  Firms need to realize they are in danger of throwing the wisdom out with the bath water.


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