Post-merger Dentons plans first steps into Latin America

Firm mulls launches in Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil

Dentons is planning its first moves into Latin America, with the newly merged firm considering a series of launches in countries including Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil. 

Speaking to Legal Week, global chief executive Elliott Portnoy (pictured) said that the region was of “strategic and economic importance” to Dentons’ clients, confirming the firm was actively looking at opportunities there.

Following the merger of SNR Denton, Salans and Canadian firm Fraser Milner Casgrain in March, Latin America is the only continent in which Dentons does not have an office or alliance.

Portnoy said: “With the energy, natural resources, financial institutions, manufacturing and other sector focuses of Dentons, as well as the fact that we are one of the largest law firms in the world without a presence in the region, we are actively evaluating opportunities.

“In entering a new market in Latin America, we would consider a combination or a team move,” he commented, adding that no relationships had been formalised.

Portnoy also confirmed the firm plans to open in Houston later in the year, which will be Dentons’ 12th office in the US.

In 2012, Hogan Lovells expressed interest in opening in Mexico, following the opening of its Rio de Janeiro office earlier in the year. 

Other international law firms already in Mexico include White & Case, Jones Day and DAC Beachcroft, as well as DLA Piper – which launched in Mexico City in February 2012 – and Baker & McKenzie. 

In Brazil, however, restrictions set by the local Bar have stifled efforts by many international law firms to practise Brazilian law or forge alliances with local firms.

Dentons currently has 21 offices in North America as part of a greater network of 2,500 lawyers and professionals in 79 locations across 52 countries.