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In the world’s top legal firms, partnerships were once for life. Or at least until the firm indicated it was time to pass the baton on to the next generation. But has the era of pyramid-shaped structures, with small equity partnerships at the top and lots of junior staffers slaving away under them, come to an end?

John Gapper writes in his latest column that the transfer market between major law firms is thriving and threatens traditional structures. Greed might play a role, as rising stars discover they can move around and increase their earnings at a quicker rate. Or it could be a more profound change in the social contract between the law firm, the lawyer and clients.

If the latter is true, John says it raises some major questions about the industry’s future. One is who is going to train the partners of the future if more rewards are scooped up by the current ones. Another is whether firms built on lateral hiring can survive. If a partner moves once, he may well move again. And with that goes the stability and certainty law firms desire.

Trump’s risky promise
Edward Luce argues that President Trump’s decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem is akin to playing with matches. He has inflamed Arab sentiment while significantly increasing the prospect of a real war in the Middle East.

Hitting the buffers
I’ve written about the collapse of Britain’s East Coast railway (for the second time in a decade) and how it boosts the opposition’s case for bringing trains into public ownership. For the government, it is increasingly hard to get a hearing for its private sector solutions to Britain’s woes.

Five Star proposals
Tony Barber says the economic proposals by Italy’s Five Star and League parties would blow the eurozone apart. If a coalition is formed, betting that their populist bark will be worse than the bite of reality would be a grave mistake.

Best of the rest

Europe’s data protection law is a big, confusing mess — Alison Cool in the New York Times

The Israeli right’s allies are no friends of Jews — Nick Cohen in the Spectator

Universities need to tackle racism head-on, not deny it exists — Shakira Martin in the Guardian

You can shake up politics without a new party — Daniel Finkelstein in the Times

How Hungary ran George Soros out of town — Rachel Donadio in the Atlantic

What you’ve been saying

A modern means to solve India’s water crisis — letter from Michael Ashfield

I have been consuming Indian official data for 30 years, and am pretty sure that water prices have been raised very little (by the States) over that period. This subsidy is intended to benefit poorer people, but instead creates scarcity…Basic economics teaches that low prices lead firstly to wastage, especially by India’s farmers. Low prices also mean that there is not enough money to invest in the production, cleansing and recycling of water.

Comment from Sebastian on Rome opens its gates to the modern barbarians

A look at Greece and Syriza is a perfect illustrations of how populist regimes have a lot more bark than bite when they are kept solvent only by the good grace of the EU. Italy won’t be any different.

The argument for keeping the debate open — letter from David Hepburn

I’ve noticed a trend regarding articles for which comments are not enabled — they seem to be the most controversial subjects, including gender and protests and violence in Jerusalem. I understand your reasons for not enabling comments on these articles as you ‘believe the discussion may deteriorate quickly’. I would argue though that it is exactly these subjects that require most debate.

Today’s opinion

Fear-mongering gives Narendra Modi momentum in south Indian state
BJP’s successful campaign in Karnataka exploited brewing religious tension

Instant Insight: East Coast collapse gives a boost to UK rail nationalisation
The failure of an important railway franchise shows Labour is winning the argument

Cut-throat cobalt drama will leave Congolese people the losers
To hold the elections on his own terms, Kabila needs money — that means minerals

Instant Insight: The Five Star-League proposals would blow the eurozone apart
Assumptions that the parties’ bark would be worse than their bite are misplaced

Donald Trump is playing with matches in the Middle East
Jerusalem embassy move along with Iran nuclear deal pullout will cost the US dearly

Drug policy is the latest front in the battle over evidence
The UK government favours prohibition, but its approach is not working

Free Lunch: In some places, factory jobs are plentiful
Manufacturing employment has risen in emerging economies but not in the developed world

Law firm partnerships are losing their lustre
The transfer market in talent is undermining traditional legal practices

FT View

FT View: Venezuela’s sham presidential election
Maduro is almost guaranteed to win again. The crunch comes after

FT View: Unravelling a web of failures at UK outsourcer Carillion
Accountants with little at stake were at the root of the company’s collapse

The Big Read

The Big Read: Qatar attempts to build its way out of a blockade
Boycotted by some of its neighbours, the Gulf state is spending $200bn on infrastructure and opening new trade routes. But is it sustainable?

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