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It's certainly smart to face this possibility now, right? Even if the law biz doesn't cool:

"Will the good times cease to roll for leading law firms?

"With some gloom -- though not so much doom -- industry observers forecasted a cooling of the legal market over the next five years at the Law Firm Leaders Forum, held Thursday and continuing today in San Francisco. Ever-increasing pressure on rates from clients, rising costs, including the recent hike in associate salaries, and segmentation of the marketplace will make it hard for firms to maintain robust growth -- especially of their bottom lines, they said.

"'There are a lot of red flags waving right now,' said Bradford Hildebrandt, a law firm consultant with Hildebrandt International. 'I would be starting to plan for an economic correction.'"

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