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In a year when The Am Law 100 posted tepid year-over-year financial gains, Second Hundred firms bested their bigger rivals on most counts but still fell short on the bottom line. The Second Hundred’s revenue per lawyer rose 5.3 percent and value per lawyer rose 4.7 percent, but profits per partner rose just 2.2 percent, less than The Am Law 100′s 3 percent. The Second Hundred’s total gross revenue in 2011 was $17.93 billion, a 2.7 percent gain outpaced by The Am Law 100′s 5.3 percent gain. And while the two groups had comparable profit margins, the Second Hundred had less success turning top-line growth into profits. The culprits? Steep expenses and a sharp drop in leverage.

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