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Wrong reversal rate The article “Small, but carrying a big stick” [NLJ, 11-1-04] stated that the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia “has the second-highest reversal rate by the U.S. Supreme Court of all the federal appellate courts.” The author does not indicate how she reached this conclusion, nor can I find any sound basis for it. During fiscal year 2003 (the most recent year for which statistics are available), the Supreme Court granted certiorari in 115 cases, of which only one was from the D.C. Circuit-and it was not reversed-while the court reviewed from four to 88 cases coming from the other circuits. Although it is unusual for the court to review only one of our cases, it never takes very many of them. With the Supreme Court reviewing very few cases from the D.C. Circuit (arguably a tribute in itself to the work of this court), the only sensible way to compare reversal rates is over a period of years. Over the last five terms, the Supreme Court reversed in 69% of the cases it took from the courts of appeals. Meanwhile, for the last five years, the D.C. Circuit’s reversal rate was only 30%, well under half the average. Mark J. Langer Washington The writer is clerk of court for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Thriving midsize firms I enjoyed the article “Mergers? Not here, thanks” [NLJ, Jan. 10], but I think it missed the most important point. Midsize firms will continue to thrive because the market demands them. As the business of law at the highest levels is increasingly driven by profits per partner, the largest firms have no choice but to jettison many locally based practices, such as real estate, midmarket lending and midsize litigation. Clients needing these services are simply not willing to pay the rates of the largest firms. On the other hand, the largest firms increasingly cannot take work that does not pay top-end rates because of the negative impact on profits per partner. It is a phenomenon that is working in favor of midsize firms, which are increasingly gobbling up attorneys and practices that have either been squeezed out or marginalized in larger firms. Major-market midsize firms that are willing to exist in the $400,000 to $700,000 range of profits per partner are thriving (as long as they are well managed) because the market requires the basket of services that only they can provide. The writer is chairman and chief executive officer of Dallas-based Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr.

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