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The megafirm known as Dentons is the product of a flurry of mergers in the last half decade, most recently with McKenna Long & Aldridge in April 2015, which left the firm with more than 7,000 lawyers and professionals in more than 150 locations in 50+ countries.
Taking Over the World—One Firm at a Time
Borne of a history of combinations, Dentons is the Pac Man of law firms. The rapid growth began in 2010, when Chicago’s Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal and UK-based Denton Wilde Sapte joined forces to create SNR Dentons. Founded in the Windy City in 1906, Sonnenschein had established a reputation as king of Chitown real estate, buying and selling shopping centers, hotels, offices, and other real estate investments. The firm spent the late 20th century expanding throughout the US and Europe. The year before merging with Denton Wilde Sapte, Sonnenschein offered a new home to nearly 100 lawyers from dissolved New York City firm Thacher Proffitt & Wood.
Soon after launching, SNR Denton set its sights on Europe and Canada, courting Salans Hertzfeld & Heilbronn and Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP (FMC). Salans, which was established in Paris in 1978, had firm footing in much of the European Union from Bratislava to Istanbul, and it also expanded in 1999 to New York. FMC, the sixth-largest Canadian firm prior to the combination, was founded in Toronto in 1839. The March 2013 mega-combination of these three firms—SNR Denton, Salans and FMC—created Dentons. The new law firm was immediately one of the world's largest with locations in the US, Canada, the UK, continental Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. But that was merely an appetizer, in January 2015, the partners of Dentons and 大成 (pronounced Da-CHUNG), the largest law firm in China, announced the approval of an historic combination between the two firms to create the largest firm in world, with more than 120 offices globally. A few months later, the Dentons-MLA merger bolstered the firm's presence in the Southeastern US, California, and DC. The years since have seen Dentons combining with law firms in Australia, Latin America, the Netherlands, and Singapore, among other locations.
The Best of the Biggest
Dentons has capitalized on the strengths of its parent firms. Energy, insurance, real estate, banking and finance, and litigation having emerged as the firm's primary calling cards. Dentons is now home to the largest energy, mining, and resources practice of any law firm, with its long-established Washington team handling transactional, litigation, and regulatory matters for energy sector clients. Dentons also boasts the world's largest integrated global real estate practice. Its international client base encompasses foreign governments, global banks, multinational media outlets, and more of the world's most influential organizations.
IN THE NEWS
In May 2018, Dentons announced that it will combine with Hawaiian affiliate firm Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing, the litigation firm in Hawai`i for "bet the company" litigation with more than 50 lawyers and professionals during the summer of 2018. Dentons is the first international law firm with a significant presence in Hawai`i and through this combination, cements its position in the Pacific Rim with 90 offices, and adding two offices to the US footprint. News of the combination was covered in the American Lawyer, Bloomberg Big Law Business, UK's The Lawyer, Australian Lawyer, CityBizList and Hawaii Business.
Dentons announced the addition of veteran tax senior counsel Gary Gartner and Jeffrey Scheine through a strategic affiliation launching in March 2018 with Alchemy Capital Planning, a highly regarded international business and tax consulting firm. News of the relationship and addition of the accomplished international tax lawyers and counselors to Dentons' award-winning Tax practice was covered by industry trade Insurance News Net, New York Law Journal, Law360 and CityBizList New York, Washington, DC and Atlanta.
Beginning in November 2017 and concluding in February of 2018, Dentons represented Christopher Clack, Vibrant Clean Energy CEO, in an unusual case challenging a widely accepted practice of academic review and criticism of research that led to Clack, his 21 co-authors and the prominent National Academy of Sciences being named in a $10 million libel suit by the author of the research. The plaintiff dropped his case after accusations of stifling academic debate and widespread coverage, including Dentons' statement on behalf of Clack in the Washington Post, LA Times, Forbes, MIT Technology, EOS, Stanford Daily and San Diego Union Tribune.
A team of Dentons lawyers, led by lawyers in the US, represented Lactalis, the world's largest milk producer, in its January 2018 purchase of siggi, the US-based maker of the popular Icelandic-style skyr yogurt. The purchase price was not disclosed, though news of the multinational deal and Dentons' role was covered in numerous media outlets, including Markets Insider, Reuters, The Deal, Bloomberg Law, Food Ingredients First, Drug Store News, Nutraceuticals World, and the ABA Journal. Dentons also represented Lactalis in its purchase of Stonyfield yogurt in July 2017.
Continuing the momentum of growth for its Nextlaw suite of services for clients, Dentons launched its Public Affairs Network. Upon launching in September 2017, the platform included 60 public affairs and public relations firms spanning 100 countries. The network connects public affairs firms across multiple regions to opportunities arising from legal clients' increasingly complex needs, including solutions in the court of public opinion as well as a court of law. The Public Affairs Network now includes more than 100 agencies. News of the launch was highlighted in the National Law Journal, Bloomberg Big Law Business and PR-industry newsletter O'Dwyer's.
In a major hiring coup in July 2017, a group of 18 Intellectual Property and Technology practice laterals, including three marquee partners and 15 associates and patent agents, joined Dentons in five US offices. The team brought decades of Bay Area patent prosecution experience representing large and small cutting-edge technology companies. News of the group's move to Dentons was widely covered, including multiple stories in IP Watchdog, Bloomberg Big Law Business, World Intellectual Property Review, Law360, The Recorder, and Law Week Colorado.
1900 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: (202) 496-7500
Employer Type: Private
Global Chief Executive Officer: Elliott Portnoy
US Chairman: Jeff Haidet
US Chief Executive Officer: Mike McNamara
Total No. Attorneys 2018: 7,700
Firm did not disclose salary data.
14 out of 17 (2Ls) (2017)
Kansas City, MO
Los Angeles, CA
New Orleans, LA
New York, NY
Orange County, CA
San Diego, CA
San Francisco/Oakland, CA
Short Hills, NJ
Silicon Valley, CA
St. Louis, MO
+134 global offices
Banking and Finance
Competition and Antitrust
Employment and Labor
Environment and Natural Resources
Federal Regulatory and Compliance
Franchising and Distribution
Hotels and Leisure
Intellectual Property and Technology
Litigation and Dispute Resolution
Mergers and Acquisitions
Native American Law and Policy (United States)
Pensions, Benefits and Executive Compensation
Privacy and Security
Public International Law
Public Policy and Regulation
Restructuring, Insolvency and Bankruptcy
Securities and Corporate Finance
Trade, WTO and Customs
Trusts, Estates and Wealth Preservation
Venture Technology and Emerging Growth Companies
White Collar and Government Investigations