Dentons-McKenna Long & Aldridge deal off the table

Merger would have resulted in a mega-firm of more than 3,000 lawyers

The much-anticipated union between two of the industry’s biggest law firms was apparently not meant to be after all.

The expected deal between Dentons and U.S. law firm McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP is off the table, according to a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report that cites Dentons partners as source of the news.

“While the executive boards of both firms had recommended to their partners that the firms combine, McKenna was not able to muster enough support to approve the deal, according to those partners,” WSJ’s Jennifer Smith wrote in a Law Blog post.

While the large majority of Dentons’ nearly 900 partners and 75 percent of McKenna’s partners voted in favor of the deal, the vote “was called off when it became clear that it would not pass the required 66 and 2/3 percent equity-stake threshold,” the report said.

However, McKenna apparently disputed the account of the Dentons partners, stating, “any statements ascribing even approximate percentages to the number of our partners who supported the tie-up are inaccurate,” Smith reported.

One of the biggest concerns McKenna partners have is Dentons structure of one brand but separate profit pools, the report said. 

The merger would have produced one of the top three global law firms by head count, resulting in a mega-firm of more than 3,000 lawyers. Dentons currently has about 2,500 lawyers in 75 locations in more than 50 countries. McKenna Long has about 575 lawyers, almost all of which are in the U.S.

The benefits of mergers with competing law firms comes down to increasing revenue and yielding savings on the expense side, however, when it comes to hiring outside counsel, general counsel say they hire lawyers, not law firms.


For more coverage of law firm mergers and trends, check out InsideCounsel’s stories below: 

Is bigger really better? Supersized law firms generate skepticism

Midsize law firms take a bigger piece of big-ticket litigation

Dentons open for business, already considering growth






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Erin E. Harrison

Erin E. Harrison is the Editor in Chief of InsideCounsel magazine. Harrison’s professional background includes extensive expertise in both print and online media, highlighted by...

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