Friday, June 07, 2013

Mandatory Retirement Ages for Attorneys and Judges

As you embark on your legal career, you may hear the job market is tight. And now and again, you may hear that fewer attorneys are retiring, which seems like it may make the job market even tighter.

Some firms have mandatory retirement ages for attorneys, but some do not. Conceivably, then, one could work forever.

Federal judges may retire at 65, but they are not obligated to. Arguably, however, there are plenty of incentives (e.g., greater retirement income) for federal judges to retire in their 60s. The Supreme Court, however, has no mandatory retirement age at all.

State judges' mandatory retirement ages vary. Seventy is the norm (e.g., Illinois and Wyoming), but Vermont permits judges to sit until the age of 90. New York is considering a bill to increase the mandatory age from 70 to 80, though the bill is not without controversy.

While it may be frustrating to see so many long-lasting attorneys with careers of 60 or 70 years, there may be legal forces at work. Stop by the law library and read up on age discrimination in the workplace.