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A few years back, I remember one partner telling me about the pressures at Allen & Overy (A&O) during the tech-crash depression when tensions sparked between the firm’s corporate and banking practice. Though at the time it was viewed as infighting between departments, in retrospect this partner saw it quite differently: “The truth is that everyone was under pressure to perform. Everyone was being squeezed, and when people feel like that, they try to divert attention to someone else and say, ‘look, it’s those bastards that aren’t performing’”.

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