IS SLAUGHTERS SLIPPING? - 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. As International’s Varsha Patel reports, these exits have emboldened headhunters who are now more willing to approach Slaughters partners, according to one London recruiter, who predicts that departures will continue. The person conceded, however, that due to the “institutionalized” nature of the firms clients, it remains a challenge to place prospective Slaughters movers. Nevertheless, among some commentators, the sense is that the firm no longer has the sheen of prestige that it once did, possibly making it less of a draw, and an easier firm to leave. A person close to the firm went as far as to say that the “prestige is gone” and that it is difficult for the firm to “maintain its niche”, adding, “[Chaplin’s] exit is not catastrophic but it is symbolic that the firm isn’t on its A-game anymore.”


“We do things that are vitally important. We pick the right cases and litigate them hard. A lot of times judges think that we put a quarter in the machine, we pull the handle and out comes a lot of money. That’s not true.”