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On the eve of trial, Winston & Strawn has settled a lawsuit brought against it by a New York partner who claimed the firm broke a deal to exempt him from “decompression,” a firm policy sharply reducing partners’ pay after age 65. Throughout the 1990s, Anthony LoFrisco, 74, was one of the firm’s highest-paid partners, based largely on his close relationship with John “Jack” Welch, former chairman of General Electric Co. According to a 1994 agreement with Chicago-based Winston & Strawn, LoFrisco was to be paid an amount equal to at least 13 percent of the firm’s GE billings. That arrangement expired in 2001, but LoFrisco claimed in his 2003 lawsuit that the firm agreed to extend the deal and exempt him from decompression. He accused the firm of reneging on the arrangement in 2002, with subsequent decompression reducing his pay from $2.3 million in that year to $350,000 in 2004. LoFrisco had claimed that Winston & Strawn’s breach of his agreement cost him millions of dollars in lost pay. The case was scheduled to begin Nov. 26 in Manhattan Supreme Court. But the parties said in a joint statement last week that they reached an “amicable settlement” of the dispute on Nov. 10. The terms of the settlement are confidential, but the parties stated, “Mr. LoFrisco’s lawsuit will be dismissed and he will resign from the firm on Nov. 26, 2007.” Both the firm’s lawyer, Philip Forlenza of Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler, and LoFrisco’s lawyer, Elkan Abramowitz of Morvillo, Abramowitz, Grand, Iason, Anello & Bohrer, declined to comment further.
Anthony Lin is a reporter with the New York Law Journal , an ALM publication.

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