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Pillsbury Axed Mandatory Retirement After ABA Debate

Posted Oct 24, 2007 7:38 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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In August when the ABA House of Delegates debated and then took a stand against mandatory retirement at law firms, it had a big effect on the lives of senior lawyers at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.

Deborah Johnson, the firm’s chief human resources officer, says in an article for Law.com that the discussion is partly why the firm decided to drop its mandatory retirement policy. Now the firm evaluates partners nearing the traditional retirement age on an individual basis.

The evaluation is based on the law firm’s general performance criteria, including the size and scope of the lawyer’s practice, and takes into account the lawyer’s personal goals. The results are used to develop an individually tailored career plan.

She writes that the plan “may include steps to transition client relationships over a period of time, phase into a part-time commitment, take time off to pursue other interests, work on special projects (such as developing training programs or running the firm's pro bono programs) or continue with a full-time practice, grooming eventual successors.”

About half the law firms recently surveyed had mandatory retirement policies, but only about one-third of the responding lawyers agreed with them, ABAJournal.com noted in an earlier post.

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