Dentons still has mergers in the 2017 pipeline

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The world’s largest law firm is still not done for 2017, merging with one of Scotland’s oldest law firms.

Dentons and Maclay Murray & Spens (MMS) have announced plans to combine. The deal is expected to be completed later this year, pending approval by the partnerships of both firms.

The combined firm will have about 800 fee-earners in the UK – including 200 partners – based out of offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Milton Keynes, and Watford. MMS, which was founded in 1871 as the first commercial law practice to be established in Scotland, had more than 200 fee-earners and around 160 other staff members at the end of last year.

The merger, which will result in MMS retiring its brand to adopt the Dentons name, boosts Denton’s lawyer and professional headcount to more than 8,700. But Dentons still has deals in the works.

Elliott Portnoy, Dentons' global chief executive officer, said the combination with MMS will significantly enhance the firm’s scale and capabilities in the UK. He said all of the combinations the firm has been part of this year continue the journey from being known as the largest to the world’s leading firm.

Jeremy Cohen, Dentons UK and Middle East chief executive officer, said that MMS is the leader in Scotland for some of Dentons’ strongest practices and sectors, including financial services, energy, transport and infrastructure, and real estate.

However, Dentons chairman Joe Andrew told Bloomberg Law that the merger is not only about getting specific leading practices but “much more about making sure we can continue to grow throughout the United Kingdom.” Dentons is still not finished with deals for 2017; Andrew said the firm still has multiple deals to announce this year.

Earlier this month, Dentons expanded in Uzbekistan by acquiring 10-lawyer firm Avent Advokat. It acquired 18-lawyer Lima, Peru-based firm Gallo Barrios Pickmann in June. In May, Dentons acquired five-lawyer firm Livingstons Legal in Yangon, Myanmar. During the same month, Dentons announced an alliance with Vella Pugliese Buosi Guidoni in Brazil.

Dentons absorbed 70-lawyer boutique Boekel De Nerée, based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in March. In January, it acquired 5-lawyer firm Canales Zambrano y Asociados in Monterrey, Mexico.

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