Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Well Known Management Lawyer Sues His Former Firm For Age Discrimination

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog reported on April 6, 2010 about a well known management labor lawyer who is suing his former firm, Kelly Drye, for age discrimination. Predicitably, the firm is claiming that the partner is not an employee and therefore, not protected under the ADEA. The firm also is questioning the partner's billable hours. As the article states:

D’Ablemont (who’s still at the firm) claimed that after he hit age 70, his compensation was slashed by the firm, which has a policy of de-equitizing partners upon their 70th birthday. (Click here for a copy of the complaint.)

Yesterday, Kelley Drye filed its answer, claiming that because D’Ablemont is a partner, he is an “employer,” not an “employee” entitled to protection under the federal age-discrimination statute.

Sidley Austin famously asserted this defense, to no avail, in an age discrimination suit filed by 32 former partners that was settled in 2007 for $27.5 million. (Here’s a New York Law Journal piece on the Sidley settlement and click here for an NYLJ article on Kelley Drye’s answer in the D’Ablemont matter.)

But Kelley Drye did not simply rest on a legal defense; it came out swinging, questioning D’Ablemont’s work ethic.

Over the last five years, according to the answer, the attorney’s billable hours have ranged from 195.4 to 324.2 ─ “7 to 10 times less, annually, than the hours he billed prior to becoming a life partner.” According to the answer, Kelley Drye also alleges D’Ablemont has a “history of objectionable behavior inconsistent with the expectations for a Kelley Drye partner.”

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

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