Dentons Signage in Atlanta.
Dentons Signage in Atlanta. (John Disney/ ALM)

Hogan Lovells isn’t the only global legal giant looking to trim the ranks of its support staff.

Dentons has begun a redundancy consultation ahead of its proposed combination with Maclay Murray & Spens that could see up to 32 business services roles cut across three of the leading Scottish firm’s offices.

The 32 potentially impacted roles are in Maclays’ finance, facilities, human resources, information technology and marketing teams in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. The firm’s other base in Aberdeen, Scotland, will be unaffected.

Following the union between both firms, which is now expected to be completed by late October or early November, Maclays’ London team will move into Dentons’ local headquarters at One Fleet Place. The Scottish firm has 46 fee earners in London, including 11 partners.

Duplication of roles as a result of the combination is understood to be the reason for the proposed cuts. All of the potentially impacted staff have been informed and the consultation will take place during the next few weeks.

The consultation comes after the late July announcement that Dentons and Maclay had agreed to combine operations, a deal that gave Dentons an entrance into Scotland, where mergers have become commonplace in recent years due a shrinking marketplace for legal services.

“The combination of Dentons and Maclay Murray & Spens will complete later this year. In advance of completion, we have commenced a collective consultation on the formal transfer of MMS staff into Dentons,” the two firms said in a joint statement. “The consultation process will deal with a number of measures that it is envisaged will be taken in connection with the transfer, one of which is a number of proposed redundancies within the [MMS] business services teams. There are 32 potentially impacted roles, and all individuals who are potentially affected by the proposed redundancies have now been informed. We will be providing support to impacted individuals throughout.”

The Dentons deal is the culmination of a long-running merger hunt for Maclays, which had previously held tie-up talks with Addleshaw Goddard and legacy Bond Pearce, the latter of which subsequently found a merger partner in fellow British firm Dickinson Dees. Dentons and Maclays first met towards the end of last year, and began formal discussions in January.

The Scottish firm, which has 62 partners and almost 200 other fee earners, will see its brand disappear upon completion of its absorption into Dentons, which over the past year has continued its expansive-minded ways by heading to Barbados, Brazil, Costa Rica, Georgia, Hawaii, Mexico, Myanmar, Peru, The Netherlands and Uzbekistan.

Earlier this week, Dentons announced a strategic affiliation with global energy consultancy EJM Associates LLC, an outfit led by former U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. Dentons also launched a global public affairs network last week under its Nextlaw brand.

Dentons’ deal with Maclay will bolster the former’s existing U.K. offices in London, Milton Keynes and Watford, England, the latter two being outposts that Dentons absorbed after taking on a 75-strong team from Matthew Arnold & Baldwin in early 2016. Earlier this year, as part of that deal and its union with McKenna Long & Aldridge in 2015, Dentons announced plans to slash up to nine legal jobs in the U.K. and 60 jobs in the U.S.