Has flat PPP driven O'Melveny to offer a temporary retirement buyout for partners over 50?
Legal Pad caught up with O’Melveny & Myers partner Masood Sohaili, who will become an equity partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips’ Los Angeles office on Monday, and who just happens to be 50. Sohaili confirmed he's taking advantage of a new O’Melveny program.
“Everything lined up perfectly,” said Sohaili, an attorney at the firm for more than two decades (get his OMM profile, while supplies last). “I was thrilled about the opportunity at Manatt, and I was thrilled that I was able to take the retirement — everything worked out great.”
Sohaili didn’t want to go into too much detail about the retirement buyout, but he did say it’s temporary and available to partners age 50 and up. We’re wondering whether there are any other conditions on the offer, how many people are taking it, when it went into effect, and whether yet another year of flat partner profits motivated it.
One knowledgeable but anonymous observer familiar with how L.A. law firms’ finances work speculated that the firm probably took a look its profitability curve and “maybe found out that the older guys aren’t sprinting, but trotting.”
O'Melveny leaders couldn't be reached late in the day Friday.
Law firms have myriad approaches to retirement ages, according to a recent article in The American Lawyer. According to a survey mentioned in the article, 64 percent of Am Law 200 firms surveyed have a mandatory retirement age, ranging mostly from 65 to 70. Meanwhile, 36 percent of firms place no limits on age.
As for Sohaili's move, the attorney said Manatt’s “top flight real estate, government and finance practice” was a great platform for his affordable housing and project development practice.
“I’d say it’s a priority for Manatt,” he said.
Manatt’s managing partner Bill Quicksilver agreed.
“Certainly what Masood brings is a focus on real estate and finance, particularly here in southern California — we are looking to build those areas on a national basis in our key markets,” he said. “He’s an exciting acquisition.”
— Kellie Schmitt