With its pure lockstep model, collegiate structure and prestigious allure arming it against poachers, Slaughter and May has always been the protected castle at the heart of the U.K.’s legal elite. It has been so well-guarded that, historically, headhunters wouldn’t even bother calling Slaughters partners.

But the departure in August of corporate insurance partner Robert Chaplin to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom has retriggered conversations around the firm’s widely admired brand, its culture and compensation model that peaked after star partner Murray Cox left the firm for Weil Gotshal & Manges in 2021.