Paul Clement and Erin Murphy’s high-profile exit from Kirkland & Ellis, leading to their bitter newspaper op-ed on Thursday, was years in the making, a result of simmering conflict among some in the partnership.

Some legal industry observers said the highest-grossing firm in the U.S. should have been able to predict the messy fallout back in 2016, when the firm absorbed Clement’s boutique and after Clement’s high-profile exit from King & Spalding. But many also didn’t fault Kirkland for Clement and Murphy’s exit, noting that firm management likely decided the firm had more to gain by cutting off ties now. 

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