In the 2018 NLJ 500, the number of lawyers working at the country’s 500 largest U.S.-centric law firms in 2017 increased by 1 percent from the previous year to nearly 165,300. As for average firm size, it picked up slightly, rising by four lawyers to 331 in 2017.

In this year’s package, we take you behind the numbers to unpack some of the shifts at individual firms. How can a combination impact a firm’s trajectory? Immensely. After mergers, one firm moved up more than 30 places on our list. Another saw its head count grow by nearly 49 percent.

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