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Law firm leverage plunged to its lowest level in 10 years last year, according to NALP, formerly the National Association for Law Placement. Leverage measured in terms of all lawyers to partners at major law firms fell to 2.21, the lowest level since 1997, when leverage equaled 2.18. In terms of the associate to partner ratio, leverage was 0.99, the same level as in 2006. The ratio of lawyers to partners for firms of 701 attorneys or more equaled 2.61, while the ratio of lawyers to partners at firms of fewer than 50 attorneys was 1.88. New York had the highest leverage at 3.15. San Francisco’s leverage of all lawyers to partners was 2.32, and Chicago’s leverage was 1.96. NALP’s figures were based on law firms from in its directory of legal employers, which generally includes law firms of more than 100 attorneys and about 135,000 lawyers total.

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