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It’s a fact of life that law firms list their rosters in the authoritative Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory. But one giant firm has decided: no longer. Chicago’s Sidley & Austin, now at nearly 900 lawyers, will not pay up next year, says Charles W. Douglas, chairman of the firm’s management committee. A different insider confirms that at $110 per lawyer, Sidley will score a six-figure savings. “We concluded in today’s day and age we would be better served by investing the money in upgrading our Web site, which we have done,” says Douglas. Martindale publisher Carol Cooper contends that this is the first time a prominent U.S. firm has pulled out of the 25-volume listing — but she shrugs off the apostasy. “My understanding is that there are some troubles in the firm and some restructuring, so this is not an isolated judgment on Martindale’s validity.” Douglas shoots back that the firm is reorganizing for overseas expansion (in London, Hong Kong and Shanghai, China) on the strength of nearly $1 billion in 1999 revenues — a reputed high. Will the rest of the big-firm herd turn their back on Martindale, too? “We haven’t made a decision yet,” says a marketing manager at another big Chicago firm. “With the advent of Web sites and cost containment and the like, I think probably everybody out there is re-evaluating every directory they’re listed in.”

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