The involvement by a team of Ballard Spahr lawyers in the $460 million sale of eight apartment complexes with 2,500 units in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs of Washington was a prime example of how business is picking up.

"It is not spiking, but it is steadily improving," said Brian Doerner, Chair of the Business and Finance Department at Ballard Spahr. "We are now seeing people who a year or two ago would have said we are battening down the hatches. They are now . . . considering deals, and we are very active."