Although many NLJ 250 firms enjoyed double-digit growth in 1999, a dozen firms that fell down or off the list shrank by more than 10 percent. Five of the NLJ 250′s biggest tumblers lost between 10 percent and 15 percent of their attorneys. Of the 14 departing firms, four shrank more than 12 percent, one by as much as 35.7 percent, and three disappeared into mergers or dissolution.

The biggest losses came as a result of layoffs, defections, underperforming lawyers and offices, and slowdowns in troubled practice areas, such as environmental work and insurance defense, according to firm leaders and lawyers familiar with the firms.

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