By most measures, 2009 was a dismal year for the legal industry. One notable exception to the drumbeat of record layoffs and bankruptcy actions: By our count, there were also a record number of lateral partner moves in The Am Law 200.

In the 12 months ending September 30, 2009, 2,775 partners left or joined the biggest firms in the country—a 10.6 percent increase in mobility over last year. Many firms were “opportunistic” about adding outsiders, and some of the same firms pushed partners out. Fortunately, partners who didn’t want to spend their afternoons playing Minesweeper on their BlackBerrys had time to check out the competition.

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