For years, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner hovered around 50th place in The American Lawyer‘s midlevel associate survey rankings — respectable, but unexciting. A few years ago, that all changed: The firm jumped to 22nd place in 2004; it leaped to seventh in 2005. And this year, the Washington, D.C.-based intellectual property firm claimed second place, finishing behind only Rochester, N.Y.’s Harter, Secrest & Emery.

To hear Finnegan’s leadership tell it, such success just goes to show that sometimes nice guys do finish first (or close to it): “We invest a lot in trying to make this a nice place to work,” says former managing partner Christopher Foley. “We try to avoid cliques and emphasize working together.”

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