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A year ago, in our annual look at new partners in New Jersey, we reported a higher-than-usual percentage of foreign firms – mostly from New York and Pennsylvania – making new partnerships at Garden State branches. It was, we thought, a harbinger of further inroads, especially since the state Supreme Court was busy tearing down New Jersey’s barriers to multijurisdictional practice. So it was a surprise to find that this year, out of the 85 lawyers who accepted our invitation to be included in this, the Law Journal‘s fifth New Partners Yearbook, only 21 – about 25 percent – are from firms principally headquartered out of state. That’s down from 38 percent last year. At the same time, a larger swath of the new partners is homegrown: 46 percent were born in New Jersey, compared with 42 percent last year. And 33 percent graduated from New Jersey law schools (13 from Seton Hall and 15 from Rutgers), compared with 29 percent last year. True, the changes are incremental, and the figures are still lower than in 2002, when 50 of the new partners were homegrown and 34 percent were locally educated, and 2001, when 55 percent were born in New Jersey and 38 percent graduated from law school here. But for those who fear continual erosion of New Jersey practice at the hands of interlopers, this year’s numbers are at least a temporary respite. As with last year’s compilation, vertical partnerships predominate. This year, 62 – or 73 percent – of the new partners came from the ranks, up from 69 percent last year and 60 percent in 2002. And the figure is well up from our first yearbook four years ago, when laterals made up over half the new partnerships. One other note: The average age of the new partners listed here is exactly 40, but more significantly, the median year of birth among the group is 1965, which means that just about half of them are age 38 or younger. All of this tends to suggest that internal growth among local firms is not a thing of the past, and that there is still opportunity for lawyers with the commitment and talent necessary to make partner. It is a superb accomplishment, and we welcome this next wave of leaders of New Jersey’s legal community.

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