Roughly 23 lawyers and 27 staff are expected to join the now 280-lawyer Adams and Reese effective Jan. 1, both firms announced Wednesday.

The surprising news comes as Ruden McClosky celebrates its 50th anniversary and caps a difficult financial year. Hit hard by the collapse of Florida’s real estate market, Ruden’s gross revenue dropped by 9 percent to $85.3 million in fiscal year 2008 after a record year in 2007.

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