The merger machine: how Dentons puts the pieces together in tie-ups around the world

This year the world's largest law firm announced deals with three firms on three continents in just three months - but how does it put together these tie-ups so quickly?

Just as remarkable as Dentons’ size is the speed at which the mega-firm has grown. Global CEO Elliott Portnoy manages nearly 7,500 lawyers today – that’s almost 10 times the 800 lawyers he led at US firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal a mere seven years ago.

Dentons’ preferred growth vehicle? “Whole-firm combinations,” the firm says. As of early October, Portnoy says seven-year-old Dentons had completed more law firm combinations than any partnership in history: 31. That’s roughly one deal every three months dating back to the May 2010 formation of SNR Denton (a firm of a paltry 1,300 lawyers).

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