SNR Denton, Salans and FMC vote through three-way Dentons merger

Partners from SNR Denton, Salans and Canada’s Fraser Milner Casgrain (FMC) have voted through a three-way tie-up between the firms, creating a top 10 global law firm by headcount.

The new firm, which will be known as Dentons, as first revealed by Legal Week, is set to fully combine in the first quarter of 2013, and will be structured as a Swiss Verein.

The tie-up gives the firm combined revenues of around $1.3bn (£817m) and a large presence across the US, Canada, Europe and the UK.

It effectively means four firms will have combined over three years, taking into account the 2010 union between US firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal and UK firm Denton Wilde Sapte. With more than 2,500 lawyers, the combined firm will have offices in 52 countries.

While there is no overlap with any of Canada-based FMC’s offices, Salans and SNR Denton have a number of duplicate offices, with each firm having bases in Almaty, Brussels, London, Moscow and Paris. The deal is expected to see Salans’ UK arm being absorbed into the City arm of SNR Denton, with the same happening in New York. It is unclear what will happen in the other locations.

As previously announced, the firm will be headed by Elliott Portnoy (pictured), SNR Denton’s global chief executive, who will take the same role at the new firm, with SNR Denton’s Joe Andrew sitting as global chair, and Salans’ global board chair Francois Chateau and FMC’s national partnership board presiding member Bill Jenkins becoming global vice-chairs.

Salans global managing partner Dariusz Oleszczuk becomes Europe chief executive, while SNR Denton’s EMEA head Matthew Jones takes on the role of UK, Middle East and Africa chief executive. Martin Kitchen, SNR Denton’s UK senior partner also takes a role on the merged firm’s board.

Merger discussions between Salans and SNR Denton started last year, with partners at both firms initially expected to vote on the deal last month in preparation for a 1 January 2013 tie-up. Legal Week revealed earlier this month that SNR Denton was also in talks with a Canadian law firm.

The union has faced scepticism from some in the market, with a recent Legal Week survey finding only 28% of respondents believing it to be a good deal, with 37% expressing doubts about the benefits touted by the three firms.

Click here for an interview with global chair Joe Andrew and UK, Middle East and Africa CEO Matthew Jones.

Dentons – combined management team

Elliott Portnoy, global chief executive officer
Joe Andrew, global chair
Francois Chateau, global vice-chair
Bill Jenkins, global vice-chair
Matthew Jones, UK, Middle East and Africa chief executive officer
Dariusz Oleszczuk, Europe chief executive officer
Chris Pinnington, Canada chief executive officer
Peter Wolfson, US chief executive officer
Jana Cohen Barbe, currently SNR Denton’s financial institutions and funds sector co-chair
Michael Barr, currently SNR Denton’s US senior partner
Neil Cuthbert, currently SNR Denton’s Middle East senior partner
Mike Kaplan, currently managing partner of FMC’s Toronto office
Martin Kitchen, currently SNR Denton’s UK senior partner
Evan Lazar, currently Salans’ global real estate co-chair