If notching international law firm mergers were a competition, Dentons would be the undisputed champion for at least two years running.
Fourteen days are left in 2018, and the 102 mergers competed thus far this year already match the record-setting figure from 2017, according to data compiled by law firm consultancy Altman Weil. In both years, cross-border mergers comprised less than 15 percent of the total number of deals, with the figure dropping slightly in 2018. But the percentage would have been far lower without Dentons.
Indeed, the self-anointed “polycentric” firm’s hunger for new combinations increased in 2018, when Dentons completed three more global deals than all other U.S. law firms combined, for a total of eight.
This last year saw the firm extend its reach into Chile, Mauritius, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kenya, Barbados and the Cayman Islands. But none of these deals came close in scale to the firm’s largest tie-up in 2017: its merger with 200-attorney Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens.
All those international mergers—and especially a 2015 tie-up with China’s Dacheng—have propelled Dentons’ head count into the stratosphere, with about 9,000 lawyers and counting. But as U.S. CEO Mike McNamara told The American Lawyer last month, the firm sees some of the best potential for future growth here in the United States.