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Though the numbers in the chart (see below) certainly offer a peek at the growth in the partnership ranks of Washington’s major law offices, it’s important to note that not all partners are created equal. Some of the numbers represent equity partners — meaning lawyers who are firm owners and pay capital contributions — and others represent those in nonequity standing, who do not have ownership. TRUE PARTNERSHIP Of the firms listed, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr; Arnold & Porter; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Covington & Burling; Steptoe & Johnson; Williams & Connolly; and Sidley Austin all use a single-tier partnership structure. That means that the partners represented by the numbers for those firms all have equity status. Hogan & Hartson; Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner; Latham & Watkins; Dickstein Shapiro; Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman; and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius did not disclose how many of the partners above are equity, and how many are nonequity. LITTLE EQUITY Others, however, were more upfront about the numbers. Wiley Rein uses a two-tier system and confirmed that none of the new partners in 2006 or 2007 were elected or hired to equity standing. The same goes for McDermott Will & Emery’s and Patton Boggs’ new partners for both years. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld hired eight equity partners in 2007 and one in 2006. At Howrey, one of the lateral hires in 2007 was an equity partner. Crowell & Moring welcomed one equity partner in 2007 and one in 2006. And at Venable, four equity partners were laterally hired in 2007, and two were brought on in 2006.
Marisa McQuilken can be contacted at [email protected].

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