Age Discrimination Committee

Welcome to the webpage of the Age Discrimination Committee of the Senior Lawyers Section of the New York State Bar Association.

About the Committee

The basic purpose of the Age Discrimination Committee is to help senior lawyers, as well as younger members of the bar, to become more familiar with this area of the law as it may affect their careers and to help promote changes that will end age-related discriminatory practices affecting attorneys.  As part of this effort, the Committee intends to continue the excellent work of the Special Committee on Age Discrimination in the Profession (links to the Special Committee’s webpage and to its January 2007 Report and Recommendations on Mandatory Retirement Practices in the Profession, which was approved on March 30, 2007 by the Association's Executive Committee and on March 31, 2007 by its House of Delegates, are included below). 

The Special Committee’s Mission Statement, as set forth in its Report and Recommendations (pp.1-2), was as follows:

The Committee shall study and report on practices in the profession that disadvantage lawyers because of age, including those that may arise from:
  • law firm hiring and firing practices
  • mandatory retirement policies
  • up-or-out” policies
  • age-based hierarchical staffing of cases
  • policies concerning retaining of counsel
  • the fixing of time charge rates
  • non-compete clauses, combined with mandatory retirement policies, that prevent retired attorneys, who otherwise might wish to continue to practice law for a number of years, from engaging in such practice
  • other age-discriminatory practices affecting attorneys, as the Committee may identify.

The Committee shall take a balanced and objective approach in its examination of these issues, and its report will take into account the rationale and perspective of law firms or other legal employers and their policies and practices in these areas. If reform is needed, the Committee shall recommend steps to promote changes and end any age-related discriminatory practices affecting attorneys. The Committee’s report shall recommend changes in law or policy, where appropriate, and shall set forth model policies, best practices and other guidance on these issues, to help facilitate positive changes and promote a more enlightened attitude on this subject within the profession.” 

The Report and Recommendations also stated (p.2) that  

“the issues implicated by our Mission Statement were so important and complex that, given the constraints of time, to attempt to address all of them in a single report would unduly divert our focus and delay presentation of our recommendations. Therefore, we focused our efforts on an issue we felt to be of prime importance (although by no means the only significant issue): the practice of so-called ‘mandatory retirement’ of law firm partners. However, as we note in our section contrasting practices in the public sector with those of private law firms [pp.9-10], the practices employed in the former – in which age discrimination is clearly outlawed – provide important insights and suggest areas for future study by this or other committees.” 

Committee Activity in Review

View Committee Roster

Join this Committee

Committee involvement is a free benefit of Senior Lawyers Section membership. To join a committee, email your request to [email protected].  

Links of Interest 

Report and recommendations on Mandatory Retirement Practices in the Profession
   NYSBA Special Committee on Age Discrimination in the Profession - January 2007

ABA Report and Resolution (August 2007)
Executive Summary

Legal industry tackles ageism - The Daily Record, September 24, 2010