Contacts. It’s all about contacts. That’s what older lawyers say, anyway. They grew up in an age when it was common to spend hours—even days—in the same room as lawyers from another firm, as advisers on both sides of a deal or case attempted to hammer out an agreement.

Technology has changed all that. Nowadays, lawyers spend hours on conference calls as terms are negotiated, but they have much less of the face-to-face contact that once built strong professional relationships—even friendships—between practitioners of competing firms.