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May 14, 2010 2:31 PM

Skadden Now Begins Retirement Phaseout at 67, Not 65

Posted by Zach Lowe

Retirement When the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Kelley Drye & Warren over its policy of deequitizing partners when they hit 70, our colleagues at the New York Law Journal called around to see if firms had begun reconsidering mandatory retirement rules. The consensus: Most had not, and the majority of firms the NYLJ talked with called for mandatory retirement at somewhere between 65 and 70, with some exceptions for high-performers and big-name stars. 

The retirement policy at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom helped push bankruptcy partner D.J. "Jan" Baker to lateral to Latham & Watkins last May, according to our prior reporting. The firm's rules called for partners to begin shifting business to younger partners once they turned 65 and to retire by the time they turned 70. Baker, who was about to turn 65 at the time of his move to Latham, was not ready to phase down his practice. "I feel great and love what I do," he told The Am Law Daily last year.

Skadden now has altered its retirement process in a way that would have allowed for Baker to stay at the firm for another two years, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Partners don't have to begin giving business to younger colleagues until they hit 67, not 65, the sources say. The mandatory retirement age remains 70.

A spokesperson at the firm confirmed the policy change but the firm would not discuss the rationale behind it or detail how the phaseout process works.

Photo by Jorg Greuel; Getty Images

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