The first decade of the new millennium was momentous for our profession, as the law played a prominent role in so many landmark events. The Supreme Court became the final arbiter of the 2000 presidential election. Sept. 11 and the resulting "war on terror" continues to test the limits of the rule of law and the seemingly irreconcilable tension between national security and civil liberty.
It also was a decade of excess. Big firm associates' starting salaries became the envy of federal judges. Per-partner profits at a number of the largest firms soared above the million-dollar threshold.