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Last year finished out strong for the law firm industry, outpacing 2016 on revenue and profit growth. Stronger revenue growth came from comparatively higher billing rate increases and improved demand, especially during the fourth quarter. And while expense growth matched revenue growth, keeping margins steady, net income growth was a solid 4.5 percent. With a slight drop in equity partner headcount, that translated into growth of profits per equity partner of 4.8 percent. More good news could be found in strong year-end inventory levels, suggesting positive momentum for the first-quarter of 2018. That said, we continued to see dispersion in performance, with the Am Law 50 firms far outperforming the rest of the Am Law 200.

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