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The 40 attorneys profiled in this survey were culled from nominations The National Law Journal received from readers, the advice of legal associations and our own research on lawyers who would still be under 40 by May 2, our publication date. Though in no way comprehensive, the list attempts to identify 40 of the leading young attorneys in various areas of law across the country who, we expect, will continue to exert influence in the legal profession. We looked for evidence of extraordinary achievements early on in their careers. We attempted to balance the picks geographically, though inevitably many work in New York and Washington, two epicenters of the national legal community. One noticeable trend in the latest crop of legal talent is the resurgence of mergers and acquisitions; a handful of the 40 have played a role in billion-dollar deals over the past few years. Several young attorneys have argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, one is dean of a top-tier law school and another is attorney general of her state. The achievements of these young lawyers are indeed impressive.

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