Business of Law

Law firm is dissolving after nearly 60 years; senior partner points finger at retirement plan

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The last four years have been the most profitable in the nearly 60-year history of Harding & Shultz, a senior partner says.

But the Lincoln, Nebraska, business boutique is dissolving, and Bill Harding is pointing the finger at its retirement plan, reports the Lincoln Journal Star.

The son of founder Max Harding, he gave notice in December that he planned to retire at the end of this year. Another senior partner also gave a year’s notice in 2014 that he planned to retire in 2015. Under the firm’s partnership agreement, that entitled them to a share of its profits for three years, according to Harding.

Now, however, he is about to retire early, due to the dissolution. The firm’s board had little choice but to close its doors, after two groups of Harding & Shultz lawyers left to form their own firms and a third joined an established law practice, the article explains.

“I think it’s pretty easy to put a pencil to connect the dots,” Harding told the newspaper. “We came up with this transition plan, suggesting people leave at 70, because we have a number of people in their 60s.

“So you have this group, all of whom have been highly productive and engaged, coming up at a time they could give notice, any time after 65, and if they gave 12 months notice, over three years, they’d get some cash. … If Harding & Shultz doesn’t exist, the potential unfunded obligation does not exist.”

Harding said he’d “had a blast” working at the firm and wishes his former colleagues well.

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