Ballard Spahr posted increases in both revenue and profits per partner last year, according to preliminary ALM reporting, while overall lawyer head count declined slightly from 2016.

"It was better than we had expected, and I think even better from our perspective in light of the fact that we also were involved in two pretty significant transactions during the year," said Ballard Spahr Chair Mark Stewart, referring to the recent mergers with Lindquist & Vennum and Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz.

"When we made our projections we didn't know [those deals would happen]," he said. "It would have been understandable if there was some loss."

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