Survey Shows Most Attorneys Disagree with Mandatory Retirement – Do You?

When it comes to mandatory retirement policies, most lawyers aren’t looking to retire early and they don’t think anyone else should be forced to either – at least according one recent survey.According to a flash survey by Altman Weil on lawyer retirement, only 38 percent of the 521 respondents agreed with enforcement of mandatory retirement policies, but 50 percent said their firms currently have such policies.

“These findings may signal a change in retirement policy in U.S. law firms,” Altman Weil principal James D. Cotterman said in a statement.  “As the baby boom generation nears retirement, many have already had a change in perspective.  When younger, they knew that mandatory retirement was the right and proper way to manage the firm. Now that they are in their late fifties and early sixties many have come to see this as possibly not the best approach for the good of the firm.  This change in perspective is rational as their vested interests have changed, however, it may also serve the firm’s interests to retain the skills, wisdom and rolodexes of these veteran lawyers.”

Aside from the 38 percent who agreed with mandatory retirement provisions, 46 percent disagreed and 16 percent were not sure.

Of those who agreed with the policies, 41 percent thought 70 was the right age, 5 percent felt 65 was appropriate, 6 percent said 67 and 5 percent said 68.

In the firms where retirement was mandatory, 38 percent force retirement at age 65 and 36 percent say age 70. The smallest firms tend to use 70 as the retirement age while most other firms look to 65.

Twenty-seven percent of lawyers said they plan to retire early, generally meaning before their Social Security retirement age, whereas 29 percent plan to retire later than that age and 4 percent said they would never retire, the survey said.

The majority of respondents (61 percent) plan to continue working in some capacity after retirement.  Of those who continue to work, 48 percent will continue to practice law and 35 percent will pursue another line of work.  Seventy five percent will work part-time, according to the survey.

The survey, conducted in September 2007, includes responses from 521 lawyers in management positions in U.S. law firms, including 28 percent from firms with 50-99 lawyers, 35 percent from firms with 100-249 lawyers, 17 percent from firms with 250-499 lawyers and 20 percent from firms with 500 or more lawyers.

So what do you think? Does your firm have a mandatory retirement policy? What are the benefits or disadvantages? What’s the right age to retire? If you want to share any thoughts on the issue, either comment on the blog or e-mail me at gpassarella@alm.com.Look for an article on this issue in an upcoming edition of The Legal.~Gina Passarella, Staff Reporter

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2 Comments on “Survey Shows Most Attorneys Disagree with Mandatory Retirement – Do You?”

  1. Jon Jones Says:

    An interesting question

  2. Huot Heng Says:

    I deem that attorney jobs should not mandtory retirement.


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