Today’s National Law Journal leads with a report of plunging “lawyer population” (their term, not mine) at the AmLaw 250.  The article lead is stark: “the United States’ largest law firms this year suffered the deepest cuts in their attorney numbers since The National Law Journal began tracking their census figures more than 30 years ago.”

All in all, the census tracks a loss of 5,529 lawyers in 2009 at these firms.  It also notes that 113 of these firms reported that they deferred a total of 2,784 associates

Interestingly, during the same time, the number of partners at these firms actually increased 0.9 percent, leading Altman Weil’s Ward Bower to conclude that the associate cuts “were made were done primarily to preserve workloads for partners.”