The more things change, the more they stay the same. That’s the best way to summarize our eighth annual A-List, our effort to look beyond pure dollars to quantify the qualities that define the 20 most successful law firms. This year’s list was rife with movement: Four firms fell off the list, four joined, and six of the 13 firms that changed ranks from 2009 moved by six or more places.

At the same time, we had a sense of deja vu: Only two of the four firms joining the list this year, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker and Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, are first-time A-Listers. The other two — Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett — are A-List veterans.

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