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June 8th, 2022
When Asking a Lawyer to Retire Becomes Illegal
Ethics and Professional Responsibility Litigation Partner Ronald C. Minkoff is quoted in the article, “When Asking a Lawyer to Retire Becomes Illegal” published by Law360 Pulse. The article addresses the issues that arise as partners age and how some law firms have been at the center of age discrimination lawsuits. Ron is quoted saying, "It may not be something that firms want to talk about. You can bet that it's one of those questions that keeps managing partners and general counsel up at night" and "It's an enormous topic that's not getting enough attention in the profession."
Referring to the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Clackamas Gastroenterology Associates PC v. Well, which laid out a test for determining whether a person is an owner or an employee for the purposes of the federal discrimination laws, Ron said, “The Clackamas test provides a process to determine that, but the way it's applied gives way to uneven results” and “That test is a pretty gray area.”
On the point of how aging affects people differently Ron says, “Do they have a buddy, who they work with on everything to make sure that there are no issues? Because there are deficits and losses that some lawyers suffer as a result of aging, and they aren't always aware of them” and "A firm is not always willing to deal with them in a forceful way, and so those kinds of things create problems."
Ron concludes by saying, “When the firm is trying to effectuate generational change within the organization, which is generally healthy, sometimes the older partners are the victims of that.”
Read the full article here.