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This blog isn’t really my opinion on Herbert Smith – I’m keeping my powder dry for a little longer on that one – but this week’s effective break-up of the City firm’s merger hopes and European alliance does illustrate a factor that has been hugely on display throughout this year. Amid a hectic 10 months in which we have seen a stream of international tie-ups across the globe, many of the far-reaching decisions taken by law firms have been substantively shaped by a single consideration: who gets to be the boss afterwards.

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