No law firm wants to find itself with a sudden gap in its leadership, as Willkie Farr & Gallagher did this week.

But the news that Gordon Caplan was placed on leave from the firm—following a federal indictment alleging that he paid $75,000 to have his daughter’s college test score fixed—is one more reminder of the singular nature of firms, where lofty titles carry different weight at different shops. In the end, the long-term effect of any disruption on the Wall Street firm could be muted.