Pillsbury Winthrop’s merger with Shaw Pittman a year ago was touted by leaders of both law firms as creating a formidable new player among the nation’s top shops. But tough choices that the firms made to get the deal done have raised questions about whether the marriage was worth the sacrifices.

One year after the merger, the firm is about 100 lawyers smaller, with an East Coast office shuttered and some strong players gone. Pillsbury’s leader for the last eight years will step down at the end of this year, and profits per partner slumped in 2005, even though Pillsbury slashed its number of equity partners before the merger.

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