2020 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
“The level of responsibility I am granted.”
“Opaque compensation structure.”
“Lack of development/training.”
“The hours can be demanding.”
The megafirm known as Dentons is the product of a flurry of mergers over the last half decade. Dentons is spread across 176 locations in 79+ countries and is home to more than 10,000 lawyers.
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—known for its real estate prowess—and UK-based Denton Wilde Sapte joined forces to create SNR Dentons. Soon after launching, SNR Denton set its sights on Europe and Canada, courting Salans Hertzfeld & Heilbronn and Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP (FMC). 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 U.S., Canada, the U.K., continental Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. But the firm wasn’t done. 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, Dentons’ merger with McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP bolstered the firm’s presence in the Southeastern U.S., 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
Lawyers at Dentons work in a grand total of 40 practice areas across 24 different sectors, such as energy, financial institutions, government, life sciences and health care, manufacturing, private equity, real estate, technology, and transportation.
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.
Better, Stronger, Faster … and Healthier
While it may be a behemoth, Dentons is nimble when it comes to its associates’ quality of life. In March of 2019, the Associated Press detailed the firm’s Wellness for Life program, which includes webinars on work/life balance and stress management and a pilot program in which an onsite wellness coach can provide counseling and referrals for professional or personal concerns. The firm even gave its employees an extra hour off this year for daylight savings time. Dentons also created a consulting agency, NextLaw Labs, focused on providing legal technologies to attorneys and staff to increase efficiency.
News & Awards
Dentons lawyers sought to unseal court filings in the wake of the sensational Jussie Smollett case in Chicago in their representation of the Chicago Tribune and 15 other prestigious media outlets. The headline-grabbing case was covered widely in spring 2019, and the Dentons’ filing was covered by CNN, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, CBS, Time, and others.
In April 2019, Dentons announced the appointment of Health Care finance partner Mary Wilson to U.S. Managing Partner, the first woman tapped for the role. Wilson, who joined Dentons as a lateral partner 14 years earlier, has held numerous leadership positions within the firm. News of her appointment was covered widely and included The American Lawyer, The Deal, Crain’s Chicago Business, Bloomberg, MarketWatch, the Associated Press, Yahoo! Finance, and more than 130 online media outlets.
Dentons defended a parent caught up in the high-profile college bribery for admissions scandal that blanketed the American media landscape beginning in March 2019. While the white collar defense team from Dentons declined all media requests, its role in the prominent case was covered by Bloomberg, Boston Business Journal, American Lawyer, and Law360.
In January 2019, Dentons announced that prominent cannabis lawyer Eric Berlin joined the firm to co-lead the emerging cannabis group in the burgeoning cannabis industry. News of Dentons’ legal capability in the industry garnered significant coverage including two separate pieces in BusinessInsider, Am Law’s Higher Law, Law360, Above the Law, and more than 190 online media outlet postings.
- Dentons earned 109 individual and 43 practice rankings in Chambers USA (2019)
- Dentons earned 141 individual and 46 practice rankings in the 2019 edition of Legal 500 US
- Acritas Global Elite Law Firm Brand Index (2018)
- Working Mother magazine’s Best Law Firms for Women for three consecutive years (2017, 2018, and 2019)
- Most Innovative International Firm of the Year by Euromoney’s Women in Business Law Awards (2019)
1900 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: (202) 496-7500
Global Chief Executive Officer: Elliott Portnoy
Chairman: Jeff Haidet
Chief Executive Officer: Mike McNamara
Total No. Attorneys 2019:
The firm has not disclosed its salary data.
No. of Summer Associates:
25 total (20 2Ls; 5 1Ls) (2019)
Legal Recruitment Project Manager
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
+152 global offices
Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation
Employment & Labor
Environmental, Federal Regulatory & Compliance
Hotels & Leisure
Intellectual Property & Technology
International Dispute Resolution
Product Liability & Complex Torts
Restructuring Insolvency & Bankruptcy Litigation
Trusts, Estates & Wealth Preservation
White Collar & Government Investigations
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.