October 8, 2019, 11:30 am CDT
Dentons has announced a first step in a plan to become the nation’s “first truly national law firm” through a dual-partnership model.
In the first step, Dentons is adding more than 300 lawyers by merging with regional law firms Bingham Greenebaum Doll and Cohen & Grigsby, according to press releases here and here. Law.com and Indiana Lawyer have coverage.
Bingham Greenebaum has offices in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, while Cohen & Grigsby has offices in Pennsylvania and Florida.
The mergers allow the regional law firms to maintain local autonomy, even as they tap in to Dentons’ technology platform.
The regional law firms will keep their leadership and compensation structures and set their own rates. Partners in the regional law firms will remain part of those firms while also becoming partners in Dentons.
The dual-partner model is intended to counter problems of traditional mergers where law firms lose cultural attributes that helped give them prominence in their markets, according to Law.com.
When law firms under the Dentons umbrella share work, the law firm that brings in clients will earn half the profit, and the firm handling the matter will earn the other half, Law.com explains.
Dentons calls the merger model the “Golden Spike” after the celebratory railroad spike that completed the first transcontinental railroad in the United States 150 years ago.
“The U.S. is the largest legal market in the world, yet U.S. law firms are disproportionately small relative to the size of the market,” Dentons says in its press release. “No full service law firm has offices in all 20 of the largest U.S. legal markets, much less the top 100—a surprising fact, given the distribution of the country’s largest publicly held companies from coast to coast.”
As a result of the combination, Dentons will have offices in 33 U.S. markets, including nine of the 10 largest markets and 14 of the top 20. Its headcount in the United States will total 1,100 lawyers, making Dentons the 11th largest law firm in the United States, according to Law.com. Internationally, Dentons is the world’s largest law firm.
The deal still requires partner approval. The combination is expected to take place in January 2020.
Bingham Greenebaum will be renamed Dentons Bingham Greenebaum, while Cohen & Grigsby will be callec Dentons Cohen & Grigsby.