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Law Firms Are Flocking to Washington

Washington Post (02/13/12) Catherine Ho

Law firms of all sizes are opening Washington, DC, offices at an increased rate in order to position themselves for work centered around the capital’s regulatory apparatus. A Washington office “can make clients feel like they have people at the center of the regulatory universe,” says Jeffrey Lowe, managing partner of the DC office of legal staffing firm Major, Lindsey & Africa. “There’s a prestige factor there.”

The influx comes as the legal industry emerges from a downturn during which many big firms shed attorneys and staff. “There was a time when there was very little activity because firms were just not investing when the economy was totally uncertain,” says Steve Nelson, managing principal for the law and government affairs groups at the McCormick Group, an Arlington, VA-based executive search firm. “You saw that in 2008, 2009, and even 2010. But now I think leadership of firms have a good idea of the economic trends that affect them, and they’re seeing that DC is important because of some of the regulatory and government issues.”