NY State Bar Association Asks Law Firms to End Age Discrimination
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The New York State Bar Association wants law firms to do away with mandatory retirement policies. The change in attitude follows the recent settlement between Kelley Drye & Warren and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in a case over age discrimination.

Vincent Doyle, the President of the NYSBA said that he was “heartened” by the settlement that requires Kelley Drye to end a policy that forced partners to relinquish ownership in the firm once they reached the age of 70, and their pay became a discretionary bonus.

Doyle said “Arbitrarily requiring a senior attorney to retire or assume a lesser status in a law firm solely because of age is not an acceptable policy.”


The April 10 settlement at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York requires Kelley Drye to pay the plaintiff Eugene D’Ablemont about $574,000 for back pay and a percentage of fees for his services. The settlement also requires the partners of the firm to attend a two-hour training session on age discrimination law.

James Kirk, the managing partner of Kelley Drye declined to comment.

In a previous case, Sidley Austin had been forced to settle with former equity partners for $27.5 million, because it forced 32 partners to retire based on age.

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Even though the American Bar Association passed a resolution in 2007 suggesting that law firms end mandatory retirement policies, many law firms refuse to change.

In Monday’s statement, Doyle said “The retirement policies of law firms should be governed by flexibility and consideration of the needs of the firm and the individual partner.”

Dewey Loses another Six

Before we end the present news, here’s the Dewey roll-call (it’s really difficult to make Dewey losing lawyers separate news any more) went up on Tuesday with another six utility attorneys led by Bud Ellis, former leader of Dewey’s utilities, leaving the firm. A statement from Dewey said, “The number who have left to date, including firm initiated reductions, is consistent with the reduced headcount contemplated by our plan, which contemplates limited further headcount reduction ….” Jeff Shroeder, co-head of Hunton & Willams, the firm which took in the lawyers said, “This team of lawyers is well known to us. They are leading lawyers in the power and utility capital markets.”

The departing lawyers are Kevin Felz, Michael Fitzpatrick Jr., Steven Friend, Steve Loeshelle and Peter O’Brien. All of the lawyers except Felz were partners at Dewey. Felz was a counsel.



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