Nov. 2, 2007
What, Me Retire?
Maybe 65 is the new 55. But not even the craftiest of lawyers will be able to keep this game going forever. Among California's lawyers, the average age is now 47, and more than a third are older than 54. Meanwhile, across the country roughly 40,000 attorneys retire each year. Of course, not all of them leave willingly. And in many large law firms, there's a real debate over how best to get rid of old warhorses and make way for a new generation of partners to pump up profits. Still, lawyers approaching their end game are not without options. And many are surprised to find that life after the law—whether faster or slower paced—can be every bit as rewarding as the lives they've left behind. For those who've devoted so much of themselves to racking up billable hours, though, there's been little time for reflection or developing outside interests. And for them, coping with a phase-down, if and when it comes, promises to be the biggest challenge yet.