Structure Of McKenna Suitor Could Keep Firm Financially Independent
A vote on Swiss verein combination would create world's third largest firm, with 3,100 professionals
A combination between Atlanta's McKenna Long & Aldridge and global mega-firm Dentons would enormously broaden the McKenna lawyers' global reach and potential client base, but it remains to be seen what financial benefit they would gain.
McKenna and Dentons confirmed that they were talking to each other about a union in statements late Monday to a sibling publication, The Am Law Daily, but both said they didn't have a relationship to announce.
A McKenna partner, speaking to the Daily Report on condition of anonymity, said the partnership will vote on the combination on Oct. 28.
A supermajority of two-thirds of the partners must approve the deal, which the partner thinks will go through. If approved, the combination would take effect at year-end.
The proposal was unveiled to McKenna's partners at a firm retreat this past weekend, the McKenna partner said, adding that the two firms have been in talks for four or five months, which got serious about a month and a half ago.
Dentons is structured as a Swiss verein, an increasingly popular method for law firms to make cross-border tie ups. Vereins allow members to join forces yet retain their existing forms as distinct legal entities that are not financially integrated.
HOW THE FIRMS COMPARE
|15 locations||79 locations|
*2012 data for SNR Denton (U.S.), before 2013 merger with Salans and Fraser Milner Casgrain
Sources: Firm websites, statements, The American Lawyer data for 2012 profit per partner and revenue per lawyer
That aspect of the combination could ease any discomfort from McKenna partners, who make on average $145,000 more in profit than their counterparts in SNR Denton, Dentons' predecessor firm.
The Dentons verein is made up of four firms that have linked over the last three years. It formed in March from the three-way combination of international firms SNR Denton, Salans and Canadian firm Fraser Milner Casgrain. SNR Denton was itself the product of a combination in late 2010 between London's Denton Wilde Sapte and Chicago's Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal.
The firm is decentralized and has no headquarters.
If the deal with McKenna goes through, Dentons would have about 3,100 lawyers and professionals—making it the third-largest law firm on the planet by head count.