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The National Law Journal‘s 30th annual survey of the nation’s largest law firms found that growth picked up in 2007. The overall increase of 5.6% in the number of attorneys was the most robust since 2001. And for the first time since 1978, Baker & McKenzie is not the nation’s largest law firm. That top spot now goes to DLA Piper. Reed Smith now ranks among the top 10 firms on the NLJ 250. It got there by assembling a global practice to meet the needs of its increasingly international legacy clients. Our survey also found that the most movement among NLJ 250 firms � those that either climbed onto or dropped off of the list � were primarily based in the South and the Midwest, an indication of shifts in the market that have smaller firms positioning themselves against bigger competitors, many of which are based on the coasts. And finally, we look to the Middle East, where large law firms are increasingly becoming globally focused, but there’s one place in particular where many feel they need to be: Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. Another growth spurt for firms The nation’s largest law firms expanded by a robust 5.6% in 2007, a year that demonstrated growth well ahead of 2006′s gains and one that for the first time knocked a long-reigning leader from the No. 1 position. The increase represents the largest growth among NLJ 250 firms since 2001, when the census ballooned by 8.2%. Last year, firm growth slowed to 4%, compared with 4.4% in 2005. Turnover featured firms from the South, Midwest The annual on-off exchange of law firms winning or relinquishing spots on the NLJ 250 involved 26 firms this year, with much of the shuffle coming from states in the Midwest and South. “Firms in the Midwest and South in many ways are feeling the pressures from larger firms,” said one law firm consultant, adding that many smaller firms are implementing strategic plans that call for scaling down or bulking up practices in light of what their larger, national competitors are doing. Reed Smith follows its clients onto the world stage Ten mergers since 2000 have kept Reed Smith’s firmwide managing partner, Greg Jordan, globe-hopping for 180 days each year, tending to a far-flung legal empire that caters to an equally global client base. “We thought we saw globalization accelerating, with major companies in key sectors becoming more global,” Jordon said. “We decided to embrace the trend, not lament and fight it.” Firms following the money to Persian Gulf enclave With healthy inbound and outbound investments, a robust economy and a business-minded climate, Dubai is increasingly becoming home for American law firms. A number of firms opened offices in the United Arab Emirates business hub this year, while others beefed up their attorney ranks to meet growing client demand in the region. BY THE NUMBERS The Chart: The 2007 NLJ 250 The National Law Journal‘s 30th annual survey of the nation’s 250 largest law firms, covering the period from Oct. 1, 2006, to Sept. 30, 2007. Eligibility is based on a firm’s total number of attorneys, not including contract or temporary attorneys. The cutoff point this year is 172. Also, a firm must have more lawyers based in the United States than in any other single country. The city listed under the firm name is the firm’s principal or largest office. Methodology How we determine the ranking of the NLJ 250 firms, including information about the process, the criteria and the definitions in our survey. Directory of NLJ 250 branch offices Lists by firm the total number of attorneys in each city where the firm has offices.

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