“Always live within your income,” wrote a 19th century humorist, “even if you have to borrow money to do so.”

How true for law firms. For many firms, cash is thin, and debt is king � into the summer months. But a less seasonal, more enduring increase in debt has some law firm managers biting their nails. During the growth spurt of the late 1990s, costs shot up as firms started to aggressively recruit lateral partners, launch new satellites abroad and upgrade their technologies.

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