K&L Gates Does Away With Retirement Policy

The partnership of K&L Gates voted to eliminate what it calls an “age-based requirement for maintaining equity partner status.” The firm previously mandated partners withdraw from equity partner status when they turned 70.

The firm said the change was motivated in large part by recent ABA recommendations that law firms do away with such policies in favor of individual evaluations of senior partners.

“Our partners concluded that age-based limitations on partner status are anachronistic and out of step with enlightened views of highly productive older lawyers,” Peter Kalis, K&L Gates’ chairman, said in a statement. “As this firm has supplied two of the last three presidents of the American Bar Association, we are proud to support the ABA’s resolution encouraging the profession to eliminate such restrictions.”

According to a recent survey by Altman Weil, only 38 percent of lawyers agree with mandatory retirement policies, while 50 percent of firms have them.

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

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 profession’s position on this seems to be moving towards getting rid of those things,” James D. Cotterman, an Altman Weil principal who handled the survey, said of mandatory retirement policies.

~Gina Passarella, Staff Reporter

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