Kenneth Shand, left, and Jeremy Cohen
Kenneth Shand, left, and Jeremy Cohen ()

Dentons is set to launch in Scotland after agreeing to merge with Maclay Murray & Spens.

The Scottish firm, which has 62 partners and almost 200 other fee-earners, will see its brand disappear when the deal is complete.

The deal comes after a long-running merger hunt for Maclay, which has included talks with Addleshaw Goddard and legacy Bond Pearce.

Dentons and Maclay first met toward the end of last year, and began holding formal discussions in January.

Maclay’s partners have unanimously approved the merger, while Dentons’ U.K., Middle East and Africa (UKMEA) partnership has also voted in favor of the deal. The firm’s global partners are currently casting their votes on the proposed tie-up, which is expected to go live later this year.

“We’ve wanted to strengthen our position in the U.K. market for some time,” Dentons UKMEA chief executive Jeremy Cohen told The American Lawyer affiliate Legal Week. “Maclays is a great firm with a great quality of lawyers and clients. We have remarkable practice fits, particularly in banking and finance, real estate, energy and transport.”

Maclay chief executive Kenneth Shand added that “We’re following the needs of our clients and prospective clients. They’re looking further afield for international opportunities. This merger also gives us the scale we need in London which will assist with further opportunities for the firm.”

Maclay previously considered a merger with Addleshaws, with talks beginning in 2015 and ending the following February. The firm also held two rounds of discussions with U.K. firm Bond Pearce in 2010 and 2012. (Bond Pearce subsequently merged with Dickinson Dees in 2013, before agreeing to a U.S. merger with Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice last month.)

Maclay is one of the biggest independent firms in Scotland, with offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and London. Last year it posted a 3 percent revenue rise to £44.8 million for 2015-16, although profits per equity partner (PEP) fell 12 percent from £283,000 to £248,000. The firm has not yet announced its 2016-17 results.

Its London office has 46 fee-earners, including 11 partners. The firms said there are no current plans for any redundancies across support staff teams.

Dentons, meanwhile, recently announced that PEP for its UKMEA arm fell 9 percent during 2016-17, down to £481,000 from £530,000, while revenue rose 1 percent to £166 million.

In the U.K., Dentons has offices in London, Milton Keynes and Watford, and has continued its seemingly relentless international expansion with a number of other recent mergers around the world.

This May, it announced its intention to launch in Brazil and Peru through proposed strategic alliances with Brazilian firm Vella Pugliese Buosi Guidoni and Peruvian law firm Gallo Barrios Pickmann, respectively.

The same month, Dentons moved into the Georgia market with the hire of DLA Piper’s 11-lawyer team in Tbilisi.

In March, it secured its first office in the Netherlands via a merger with Dutch firm Boekel, while in November 2016 it established a presence in Central America via a merger with Costa Rica-based Munoz Global, a move that gave the firm offices in Panama and Nicaragua.