Planning on slipping quietly into retirement? Frederick A. O. Schwarz, Jr., has a message for you: Cancel that tee-time, and cash in those plane tickets. There’s a lot of good work to be done. Schwarz, a 64-year-old litigation partner with New York’s Cravath, Swaine & Moore, recently announced that he was leaving the firm to join the staff of the Brennan Center for Justice, a public interest law firm affiliated with the New York University School of Law. Founded in 1995 to help preserve and promote the legacy of U.S. Supreme Court justice William Brennan, Jr., the center handles cases from around the country dealing with poverty, civil rights, and criminal law. Schwarz, whose family founded the F.A.O. Schwarz toy store, has already begun recruiting other retired lawyers to work at the center and mentor young staffers. Eventually he hopes to bring about a significant increase in the number of retired lawyers working at public interest law firms around the country. Schwarz talked about his ideas recently with reporter Douglas McCollam.

Q: When did you first decide to go to the Brennan Center, and why did you decide to do it?