Last year, as law firms struggled with the brutal realities of the recession, many managing partners took the tried-and-true approach to cutting costs–layoffs. At The Am Law 100, the hardest hit were the junior associates. (Equity partners merely saw their numbers flatten out.)

Next in line, theoretically, should have been the nonequity partners. This vulnerable group includes fresh lateral recruits; young lawyers caught in the limbo between senior associate and equity partner; equity partners losing their equity status–the dreaded deequitization; senior equity partners eyeing retirement; and service partners with a slim (or nonexistent) book of business.

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