From New York to Los Angeles, the nation's largest law firms have continued to grow, but there's been a notable slowdown in Washington, D.C., according to the Legal Times.

The weekly trade paper's annual survey of the country's 200 largest law firms shows that 11 of the 13 Washington firms on that list dropped in rank and one, Patton, Boggs & Blow, fell off the chart.

Although several local firms added new lawyers, only Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge and Steptoe & Johnson grew enough to improve their national rankings, according to the Legal Times survey. Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, Hogan & Hartson and Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan all lost a few attorneys.

Covington & Burling, the nation's 30th largest firm with 224 lawyers, continues to lead the pack in Washington, although the survey showed it only added two new lawyers.

Meanwhile, the American Lawyer says that summer associates in Washington ranked Steptoe & Johnson as the best large law firm for a three-month sojourn and Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin as the best small firm. Listed among the worst of the big in Washington was Crowell & Moring, according to the magazine's survey.

Steptoe was short on free lunches and lavish social life but high on "in-court" activities and on attention from full-time associate advisors. Miller Cassidy got high marks for offering summer associates a wide range of legal problems and great working conditions, including free meals from the firm kitchen, an exercise and weight room and a sauna. At Crowell & Moring, the survey said, summer associates complained their legal assignments were dull and the program was poorly organized.

In addition to 30 new prosecutors, the U.S. Attorney's Office is also getting a new kitchenette -- two burners, a sink and a small fridge. The boss, Stanley S. Harris, says that when he stays late at night, he likes to eat (particularly Campbell's soup) so he asked the Justice Department if he could have a little kitchen, like he used to have when he was a member of the D.C. Court of Appeals.

Justice said okay, provided it cost less than $1,000, which Harris says it did. Harris, who says he washes his own pots, denies all rumors that his principal assistant, Joe diGenova, a noted chef who had a kitchen in his Capitol Hill office, would be serving up dinner. "There's no room in there for him to turn around," said Harris.

In the exhaustion of energies department: Arlington lawyer Ben Kendrick left for Hawaii yesterday to participate in the Oct. 9 Budweiser Light "Ironman Triathlon World Championship," the world's most excruciating human endurance race, said to be even tougher than a 10 codefendant trial. Kendrick, 42 years old no less, first will swim 2.5 miles in what's called a "rough water ocean swim." From there, Kendrick immediately will bike 112 miles and then will run a marathon, 26.2 miles, through the lava fields along the big island's Kona coastline.

Kendrick, who shares office space with Virginia state senator Clive L. DuVal II (D-Fairfax), came in 385 out of 600 when he triathloned last February and now hopes to crack the top 100. Why does he engage in such cruel and unusual punishment? "I don't know. It's just an incredible race and I like participating in it," Kendrick said.

The D.C. Judicial Nomination Commission has sent three names to the White House for a vacancy on the D.C. Superior Court: Frank Carter, the director of the city's Public Defender Service; Nan R. Huhn, chief of the juvenile section of the D.C. Corporation Counsel's office, and uptown probate lawyer Virginia Lee Riley, who runs the probate section at Pierson, Ball & Dowd. The White House choice, who would be subject to Senate confirmation, would take the seat vacated by Judge Samuel Block.

Howry & Simon has carved up the $200,000 in legal fees it won for its representation of Pentagon whistle blower A. Ernest Fitzgerald to donate to other organizations. An ad hoc committee of partners, Alan Wiseman, John Nields and John Bodner Jr., decided that $60,000 would go to the ACLU in Washington, which originally represented Fitzgerald; $40,000 to a scholarship and student loan fund at George Washington University; $30,000 to the ABA Second Century Fund for projects on equal access to justice and court improvements; $30,000 to the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; $10,000 to the D.C. Legal Aid Society; $15,000 to Neighborhood Legal Services, and $15,000 to the Mid-Atlantic Legal Foundation, a conservative public interest group.