As every playground bears testament, best friendships can be fickle affairs. Despite clear-cut relationships with firms in Italy, France, Germany and Spain, life for Slaughter and May is not quite as simple in the Netherlands. NautaDutilh was historically Slaughters' best friend, but recent deals have seen Slaughters buddy up with former Linklaters ally De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, with Akzo Nobel's ICI approach being the most recent example.
Slaughters says it cosies up to both firms. The relationship with De Brauw has been tightening since its split from Linklaters; the magic circle firm now has its own Dutch lawyers. Meanwhile, Slaughters sends secondees to both De Brauw and Nauta.
Practice partner David Frank said Slaughters' best friends relationships are not, in fact, with particular firms, but with individual lawyers. "Our best friends have never been an alliance. We simply secure the best lawyers on transactions. It's actually better to have more than one firm in each jurisdiction to avoid conflicts," he said.