THE NLJ 250

Law firm growth recedes amid economic downturn.

The National Law Journal

The National Law Journal's 31st annual survey of the nation's largest law firms found that hiring slowed significantly in 2008. At this time last year, we reported that overall growth had picked up to levels not seen since 2001. These days, of course, it's a different story. The current economic crisis is hitting law firms hard — seven large law firms announced layoffs this year, and the demise of two major firms on the list, Heller Ehrman and Thelen, will affect approximately 1,200 attorneys. It's not all bad news, at least for some law firms: DLA Piper maintained its spot at the top of the chart and K&L Gates, through a series of successful mergers and lateral hires, has climbed into the top 10 firms.

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