London’s elite firms have bid ta-ta to tradition. After years of abiding by a “gentlemen’s agreement” not to raid each other’s talent, the Brits have finally caved in to competitive pressures and declared peer firms fair game.

The “no poaching” accord dates back decades to the London bar’s clubby roots. Under the arrangement, a clique of eight British firms — including Freshfields, Linklaters & Alliance, and Allen & Overy — refrained from recruiting partners and senior associates from each other’s firms. An exception was made, however, when lawyers from a competitor firm made the initial approach.

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