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To hear managing partners tell it, business in the Washington metropolitan area is great. Yet in Legal Times‘ annual survey of the region’s 150 largest law offices, few firms saw a spike in lawyer ranks. At the same time, more and more legal players are turning to temporary contract attorneys to fill short-term demand for projects involving large amounts of document discovery and other labor-intensive tasks. We explore both phenomena in this special report.
Doing More With Less Legal Times‘ methodology for our annual survey of the D.C. area’s largest law offices. BY THE NUMBERS The Legal Times 150 The region’s 150 largest law offices. • Home Grown Firms The 50 largest firms that call D.C. home. • The Out-of-Towners The 50 largest branch offices in Metro D.C. • Suburban Maryland The largest law offices in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. • Northern Virginia NoVa’s largest law offices. • From A to Z The Legal Times 150 in alphabetical order. FEATURES & ANALYSIS Leaner and Meaner? Firm managers say business is good and that many firms have shrunk because they’re more efficient in their work � and more conservative in their hiring. Shadow Work Force At any given time, hundreds of contract attorneys labor away at D.C.-area firms. They don’t show up in official head counts. Still, the work can be lucrative for both the firm and the lawyer. Steptoe Steps Up While the past year resulted in little attorney growth and even a decline for most of the top 10 Washington law offices, D.C.’s Steptoe & Johnson has traveled in a different direction. Global Merger Mania International unions are hot, but at the same time, U.S. firms must remember they’re blending two cultures. True Confessions Yes, it’s true: Associates admit that they do actually pad their bills, at least some of the time. Plan It Like Einstein Firms need not look further than Einstein’s thought experiments to conceive a business plan. Aiding the Outsourcers It’s a new market niche for firms: helping companies as they turn to cheaper labor markets overseas. Thank You Ever So Much Who really gets that winning brief out the door? The secretaries, paralegals, and other assistants who make the firm run on a daily basis.

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