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A certain type of law firm showed remarkable strength during the recession: the boutique. Take Dwyer & Collora of Boston. The firm has leveraged relationships with larger firms to build strong practices in civil and appellate ­litigation. In this issue of the NLJ, we profile five firms that have thrived by identifying strong niche practices. For San Diego’s Robbins Umeda, it was shareholders’ rights. Of course, Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger in Los Angeles showed the way 20 years ago, when the legendary Bert Fields began building his entertainment practice. Now the firm offers a case study in how to cope when the most important rainmaker prepares to wind down his career. Firm finesses a major rainmaker’s transitionGreenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger’s litigation department has spent years attempting to sever its dependence on the firm’s superstar rainmaker, Bertram Fields. That effort is starting to pay off.  Video Spotlight

Take on the government? Sure. No problem. Since its launch in 1996, when a group of litigators ditched what was then Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge to start their own firm, Washington’s Cooper & Kirk has made suing state and federal government agencies a cornerstone of its business. Suits against the government account for about 30% of its work.

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