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The principle is simple. Law firms are concerned with just two audiences: clients and potential clients on one hand, and staff and potential staff on the other. But while commercial firms can bore you to tears talking about ‘client focus’, the plain fact is that the interests and sensitivities of the latter constituency usually trump those of clients. After all, law firms are people businesses and the talent they sell is expensive, highly-mobile and well-informed – in short, a highly efficient and liquid market for labour. In comparison, the market for legal services is slow to adapt to events, often poorly informed and rife with cultural and structural barriers to exerting its influence.

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