Older attorneys face unique issues when making late-career lateral moves or finding new jobs after decades at the same law firms, according to industry recruiters. Many law firms still have mandatory retirement ages and succession plans for when senior partners are expected to transition their business to their younger colleagues. And while some firms welcome the depth of experience and expertise of so-called gray hair attorneys, others are hesitant to hire and invest time in someone who may not be working in 10 years.
Ned Bassen, a partner at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, left the firm in January after 24 years to become a shareholder at Becker & Poliakoff LLP. While Bassen said some of his peers couldn’t understand his changing firms at 72 years old, he was itching to leave BigLaw so he could offer more competitive billing rates to existing clients and attract even more business and work.
“Shaking things up is a good thing,” Bassen said. “You’re a lot less complacent, and you have to rise to challenges.”
Law firms want job prospects to have a self-sustaining book of business like Bassen if they don’t have decades left in their careers, recruiters said.
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