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(Tom Cocotos for The American Lawyer)

For midlevel associates at Am Law 200 firms, life just keeps getting better and better. Third-, fourth- and fifth-year associates responding to this year’s Midlevel Associates Survey gave firms an average composite score of 4.14, on a scale from 1 to 5, higher than last year’s 4.08, which itself was the highest in a decade.

One likely reason for the high level of satisfaction: supply and demand. Hiring freezes and layoffs in the last recession, followed by a drought of law school enrollees and graduates, have created a shortage in the midlevel ranks. “There is just a smaller number of associates, particularly on the corporate side,” says Stephanie Biderman, managing director in the associate practice group of recruiter Major, Lindsey & Africa.

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