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Congratulations. If you’re reading this, you’ve survived the Mayan apocalypse. You’re safe to bill again.

Of course, one might be forgiven for still entertaining a few apocalyptic thoughts — particularly when thinking about the state of the legal world. Consider the law firm story of the year: the demise of Dewey & LeBoeuf. Before it went belly up in May, Dewey was one of the 20 largest firms in America, an 1,100-lawyer giant with $780 million in annual revenue. Now, it’s a cautionary tale about fiscal responsibility (or lack thereof). 

Less dramatic, but more challenging in the long run for the profession, was the ongoing battle over the state of legal education. Enrollment declined again in 2012, and as students struggled to find jobs, questions continued to churn over the nature of the curriculum at most schools.

Not all developments in 2012 made one think of the Mayans, however. And in the features that follow, we recount many of the year’s legal highlights (and plenty of low-lights, too), with a few predictions along the way.  — David L. Brown

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