Age discrimination should not be automatic response

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr has told some of its more experienced lawyers that they will not have a future with the law firm. Without knowing more, it’s difficult to come to any conclusions about why there will be termination notices, and why those notices will be directed to more senior or experienced lawyers.

The firm has provided mentoring to many of its lawyers and has in place a new career advancement program, begun late in 2008. And the firm does admit to have been impact by the economy — its clients have suffered which gets passed on to the clients’ services providers such as the law firm.

And given the reality of today’s economics, this may be the best "soft landing" I’ve heard of. Unfortunately, despite mentoring, some lawyers are not able to transition from being good, solid lawyers to being also rainmakers. Economics sometimes forces a law firm to change directions and even their business model.

I would be interested to know more. But, without more on the table, I’m not prepared to say that this automatically is age discrimination as one commentator suggests.

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