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As Richard Bond prepares to hand over the reins at Herbert Smith after a five-year stint as senior partner, he can reflect on a successful tenure, with the firm sitting pretty on top of law firm profits tables. Given the firm’s self-confessed minimalist approach to management, it has been an eventful period, although admittedly it has at times reacted to events rather than shaping them. Few partners at the firm would claim that it has ever been a first mover. Instead, they say it draws its strength from the collegiality of its equity partnership, which remains unusually small for a firm of its size. If this conservatism sometimes forces the firm to make up its strategy on the hoof, then so be it. In this department, luck has clearly been on the firm’s side.

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