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Well, now we know which firms were swimming naked after all. In fiscal 2012, The Am Law 100—which welcomes new members Bracewell & Guiliani; Faegre Baker Daniels; Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen and Loewy; McKenna Long & Aldridge; and Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart—posted modest gains on all our key metrics. For gross revenue, revenue per lawyer, and profits per partners, the top 100 firms notched low single-digit year-over-year in­creases. But those averages belied the recovery’s unevenness. Only 76 firms reported gross revenue increases last year. And only 66 had profit per partner increases—down from 80 firms and 72 firms, respectively, on last year’s Am Law 100 list. The lucky ones tended to have an international footprint, a strong transactions group, and a diverse set of practice areas, though boutique labor and employment and immigration firms also fared well. For those fortunate firms—and for the rest of The Am Law 100—the challenge will continue to be balancing growth against keeping expenses in check. After a lengthy recession and a fitful recovery, that’s a nice problem to have.
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