The invasion of the Northeast’s megafirms topped the state’s legal stories in 1999, a year that saw two venerable partnerships and dozens of smaller groups swept up in the tide of colonization.

From the purchase of Morristown’s 110-lawyer Shanley & Fisher by Philadelphia’s Drinker, Biddle & Reath to the defection of legions of lone lawyers, hardly a week passed without an announcement that a New York or Pennsylvania firm had gobbled up a partnership or a practice section.