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Dentons Enters Scotland With Merger

July 21, 2017, 8:23 PM

Dentons will establish a footprint in Scotland by absorbing one of the country’s oldest law firms, Maclay Murray & Spens LLP.

The merger will bring the combined firm’s U.K. footprint to more than 800 fee-earning professionals, according to an announcement Dentons issued today, and will bring Dentons’ global footprint to more than 8,700 lawyers and professionals.

Dentons saw Maclay Murray & Spens as a Scottish leader in some of Dentons’ strongest practices and sectors including financial services, energy, transportation and Infrastructure, the larger firm said in its announcement.

“The Scotland deal is much more about making sure we can continue to grow throughout the United Kingdom” than any one sector, Dentons chairman Joe Andrew told Big Law Business today.

One factor, though, was the presence of three of the U.K.'s largest banks in Scotland, including RBS, the UK’s number one bank, Andrew said.

Maclay Murray & Spens has offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. Dentons’ existing U.K. offices are in London, Watford and Milton Keynes. The deal is pending approval by both firms’ partners and is expected to be finalized later this year.

The merger is the latest in a long series of Dentons mergers, most notably its 2015 combination with Chinese firm Dacheng that created the world’s largest law firm.

Andrew told Big Law Business in April the firm would continue to announce deals, including in areas such as Latin America where it has a limited presence.

Shortly afterward in May, the firm announced announce an alliance in May with Brazilian firm Vella Pugliese Buosi Guidoni.

He said today the firm will announce multiple deals in the rest of 2017.

The firm’s leadership has described its strategy as focused on not just being the largest in the world but also the “leading” law firm.

“Following soon after our recent combinations with equally high-quality firms in Latin America and the Netherlands, this development accelerates Dentons’ momentum,” said Elliott Portnoy, global chief executive for Dentons, in a written statement.

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