The past decade was bookended by the dot-com bubble burst and the present economic crisis, but it’s easy to forget that the bulk of the decade was pretty darn good for the legal industry.

Rising profits and headcounts, abundant work, overseas and domestic expansion, mergers and stability marked the period between 2003 and 2007 for most large law firms. The largest 250 law firms in the country added 35,438 attorneys to their ranks between 2000 and 2008. That nearly 37 percent increase outpaced the growth of the 1990s, when the largest 250 firms grew 30 percent with an additional 20,559 attorneys.

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