Two white-collar partners sit down to talk with a reporter at Dechert’s London headquarters. Small-talk ensues. Some minutes later, the firm’s then-head of white-collar crime, Neil Gerrard, walks in. The discussion soon turns to the serious business of bribery, then onto how companies can protect themselves in dawn-raid situations.

Gerrard speaks like one in absolute command of his trade: expansive and learned. One of the other partners casually gets up to make a coffee. The coffee-machine hisses violently, Gerrard halts mid-sentence. He glances ferociously at the partner, who winces, mouths ‘sorry,’ and returns bashfully to his seat. With his cappuccino.

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