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On June 5, 1978, Vol. I, No. 1 of Legal Timesled with a story about President Jimmy Carter’s Environmental Protection Agency, which was considering a rule that it hoped would limit judicial review of its enforcement actions against polluters. A reporter had obtained a copy of a draft proposal that had not yet been made public. Good story. There was also some gossip suggesting that Justice Harry Blackmun was having trouble making up his mind in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke,the landmark affirmative action case the Supreme Court would decide three weeks later. There was an item about an agency lawyer who was jogging home once a week to Chevy Chase, Md., in order to keep off the 25 pounds he had recently lost. And John Olson, then and now a D.C. partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, contributed an article about the ethical problems faced by lawyers who serve as directors of client companies. That was 25 years ago. Since then, through a succession of editors and reporters, Legal Timeshas covered law, justice, and business in the nation’s capital. Washington plays a central role in legal matters, business developments, and social issues. And thus the city � now, really, the region � engages the full talents of the legal profession. Which can’t be defined narrowly: Not only private practitioners, but lobbyists, activists, politicos, think-tankers, and a whole army of nonlawyer professionals populate the District and its Maryland and Virginia suburbs. In preparation for this issue, we’ve spent the past few months looking back. One tangible result is ” We’ve Been There, Done That,” a time line of legal business news drawn from the pages of this newspaper. Legal Timeshas chronicled several economic cycles in the Washington legal market. Our archives tell the story. You can see the momentum building in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The legal market here was being discovered. Out-of-town law firms were opening offices left and right; some were growing faster than home-grown firms. There was a debate about their worth, with the newspaper in 1979 asking whether “satellite offices” could work. The story featured Kenneth Starr, then one of seven lawyers in the D.C. office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Today, Starr is a Kirkland & Ellis partner who argued before the Supreme Court last week, and while our “native” firms are still going strong, many of the most influential law firms in Washington are those first born in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Legal Timesreported its first legal-market downturn in the early ’80s. Things cycled up again in the late ’80s, and then there was another dip in the early ’90s. That one lasted awhile. The pall lifted by the mid-90s. In 1997, Legal Timesnoted that firms with technology practices felt they had discovered something good. By 1999, the technology bubble was full-blown. More lawyers were chasing more clients. Unfortunately, many of those clients have since vaporized. The Nasdaq crashed in 2000. We had just started a publication with the nifty name Tech Counsel.I wrote, inanely, that “unthinking enthusiasm is out. A knowing acknowledgement of the virtues of shakeout is in.” Right. Many businesses suffered badly in 2001 and 2002. And a lot of people lost jobs. Whether it amounted to a healthy reality check seemed irrelevant. Today, the cloud is lifting again: Someday, someone sitting here looking back will be writing about the great legal boom of 2007. And some managing partner will be swearing that this time everybody is going to grow smart. Until then, see ” D.C. Firms, All Grown Up Now.” Reporters Marie Beaudette and Lily Henning talked to dozens of law firm partners and industry observers to identify the sweeping trends in the profession over the past quarter-century. ( Legal Timeswill be continuing the conversation about the growth of the D.C. legal market at an Oct. 7 panel discussion. For details, go to www.legaltimes.biz.) Technology has changed the profession radically, just as it has changed life. See, for instance, the anecdote we relay from Judith Harris, the D.C. market managing partner of Reed Smith, recalling the 350-page summary judgment motion that had to be completely retyped (” I Remember When . . .“). As an overall barometer of the market, Legal Times, in our annual D.C. 20 ranking of the highest grossing law firms, has chronicled a dramatic increase in the size of the local legal economy. In 1993, the paper reported that the top 10 D.C.-based firms had combined revenues of a little more than $1 billion. By 2002, just nine years later, that number had tripled. Yes, some partners make a lot. In 1986, Legal Timesfound that Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld led D.C. firms with profits per partner of $350,000. Last year it was Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom at $1.6 million and Dickstein Shapiro Morin & Oshinsky at $1.2 million. And yes, some lawyers are paid a lot. In June 1978, Legal Timesreported that salaries of first-year associates had jumped to as much as $25,000, up a few thousand bucks over the previous year. In 1999, I remember thinking we were pretty clever with the headline “Ain’t Life Grand” over a report that $100,000 was the new benchmark for associates. Within months, fueled by the dot-com delusion, and racing to keep pace with Silicon Valley practices that don’t exist anymore, the biggest D.C. firms decided to pay their rookie lawyers $125,000 a year. That’s grand. For 25 years, Legal Timeshas pushed to do a different kind of legal journalism � not just covering cases and courts, but uncovering stories that beg to be told, yet that some people wish left unsaid. Contributions to the enterprise have come from some very talented journalists. The alumni club includes Jill Abramson, now a managing editor of The New York Times; Terry Moran, now White House correspondent for ABC News; my immediate predecessor, Tom Watson, now national affairs editor at Newsweek; Dan Klaidman, now Washington bureau chief for Newsweek; Rob Rossi at The Wall Street Journal; and Carrie Johnson, Judy Sarasohn, and Benjamin Wittes at The Washington Post.There are others. By purchasing Legal Timesin 1986 and developing American Lawyer Media into a bona fide journalism company, legal entrepreneur Steven Brill helped invent an approach that still works. The current staff of Legal Timesand its sister publication Influence is listed on Page 85. Here in the newsroom, we work as hard as we do because we’re driven by a passion to report the news � to provoke you and inform you in a way that makes you keep reading. � Richard Barbieri, Editor in Chief

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