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Total lawyer headcount growth slowed last year nationwide, hampered by the contraction of smaller firms and consolidation at firms of all sizes.

Personalize NLJ 500 and Am Law 200 data using year-over-year comparison plus Lateral, Office, and Event Trends. Learn More

The number of lawyers who worked in the nation’s 500 largest firms increased 1 percent over the previous year to nearly 165,300, and the average firm size rose by four lawyers to 331. But this growth was somewhat slower than in 2016, when the NLJ 500 grew by approximately 2 percent.

This year’s edition of the NLJ 500 also shows a 1.2 percent drop in the number of equity partners, while the number of total partners remained effectively flat at 0.3 percent. The gap between the NLJ 350 and the NLJ 500 was especially pronounced in 2017, with growth among the top 350 firms far outpacing the final 150 included in this year’s list. All of the final 25 firms included in the NLJ 500 either shrunk or were not previously ranked.

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Ryan Lovelace

Ryan Lovelace is based in Washington, D.C., and covers the intersection of law firm business, lobbying and the federal government. Contact him at rlovelace@alm.com. On Twitter: @lovelaceryand

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