Law Firms

Law Firms Face ‘Demographic Time Bomb’


Retirement issues are a “demographic time bomb” ticking for most U.S. and British law firms, American Lawyer asserts.

The legal publication notes two recent developments: Sidley Austin has agreed to pay $27.5 million to 32 older partners who said their demotions were because of age discrimination. And U.K. firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer won a claim by a former partner who said a plan to reduce his retirement benefits forced him to retire early.

Problems at the British firms are most pronounced because often their senior partners make the most money under a lockstep compensation system, creating likely conflicts between older and younger partners.

In the Sidley Austin case, the Equal Employment Opportunity System argued the partners were treated like employees and thus were subject to age discrimination laws.

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