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To compile the Legal Times 100, the staff of Legal Timessurveyed approximately 200 law offices in the D.C. area. We define that as the District of Columbia, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, and Arlington and Fairfax counties and the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church in Virginia. The surveys were sent to firms in the spring and followed up by Legal Timesassistant editor Alicia Upano, who spent months making hundreds of phone calls to gather and fact-check the information. The rankings are organized according to an office’s total number of lawyers as of April 1, 2003, though we also spell out the breakdown between the number of partners and associates. And to capture anticipated growth, we asked firms how many new associates they expect to bring in during 2003. The research gets presented in a main chart of the 100 largest law offices, as well as on a poster included with this issue. A separate chart in the newspaper ranks “the next 50″ largest. So, yes, we actually have ranked the 150 largest firms — from the 475-lawyer D.C. office of Hogan & Hartson to six separate firms that tied for No. 150 with 31 lawyers. The survey throughout identifies the number of lawyers in individual offices — not firmwide or within the market as a whole. Other charts in this issue rank the largest firms in both Northern Virginia and in suburban Maryland, as well as firms born and raised in the District and those founded elsewhere. There are two main changes to this year’s survey. For one, this special report includes more complete information than in the past about firms ranked between No. 101 and No. 150. As a consequence, some of that chart’s 2002 data, used for comparison, is incomplete. Next year, we’ll have a fuller picture of growth and decline. The other change is in how we identify firms. In past years, Legal Timeslisted each firm’s home office. We now list the city in which each firm was founded — believing that this information is an interesting element of any firm’s culture, while the term “home office” has lost meaning at the many firms at which power, attorneys, and revenue are scattered among many offices. The other significant difference in the 2003 Legal Times 100 is that you won’t find our traditional charts gauging diversity at the biggest firms. We decided to hold them back one week in order to give the subject more prominence in a special feature about women and minorities in the Nov. 3 issue. From its inception in 1978, Legal Timeshas conducted regular surveys of attorney head counts. Although it’s just one barometer, it’s a meaningful one: The number of lawyers a firm employs says something about its place in the market. Readers interested in tracking how that measure has evolved might want to read the 25th anniversary special report in the Sept. 15 issue. It includes an article about the development of legal business in Washington, as well as highlights from the newspaper’s archives. It tells the story of a market that has more than doubled in size and seen first-year associate salaries rise from $23,000 to $125,000 and Washington offices of out-of-town firms proliferate. That special report can be found here. And elsewhere in this issue, a Legal Timesroundtable discussion with managing partnerstouches on some of the main trends and themes — from the great migration of firms to Washington to the rise of branch offices to the role of money in the profession. — The Editors

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