Dentons enters Scotland with Maclay Murray & Spens tie-up

The biggest law firm in the world just got bigger

Global colossus Dentons has announced it will be swallowing up yet another law firm, this time in Scotland.

Dentons, already the largest law firm in the world by headcount, has today confirmed it will combine with leading Scottish outfit Maclay Murray & Spens. The tie-up is due to be completed later this year and will see Dentons gain new offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow. It will also bolster Dentons’ already sizeable London headcount, as Maclay has one office in the Barbican.

The merger has been given the green light by Maclay’s partners and Dentons’ UK, Middle East and Africa (UKMEA) partners. However, final approval from the Dentons’ global partnership is still required and is expected to come through in the next few weeks.

So what do we know about Maclay? The firm, founded in 1871 and headquartered in Glasgow, is a commercial all-rounder with roughly 250 lawyers on its books. Maclay’s 2015/16 financials (it hasn’t released its latest results) show that net profit at the firm stands at £10 million, a decrease of 20% on the previous year, while profit per equity partner (PEP) dropped by just over 12% to £248,000.

Meanwhile, Dentons has over 7,600 lawyers across 120 offices. The firm was created in 2013 following a three way merger between: Anglo-American outfit SNR Denton, Canadian firm Fraser Milner Casgrain and French-headquartered Salans. Dentons’ 2016/17 UKMEA financial results revealed revenue increased to £166 million, a rise of 1%, while PEP slumped by 9% to £481,000.

Commenting on today’s tie-up, Dentons’ global chief executive officer, Elliott Portnoy, said:

Combining with strong, independent and well-established firms is central to Dentons’ ‘in and of the community’ ethos, and with its rich history in the Scottish market Maclay Murray & Spens fits very much into this category.

The deal comes almost two years after industry rumours suggested Maclay was engaged in cross-border merger talks with northern giant Addleshaw Goddard. The combo chatter was eventually put to bed three months later when a spokesperson for Maclay revealed it was not in discussions with any firm about a possible merger.

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25 Comments

Anonymous

It’s only 4pm on a Friday and Dentons already got their beer goggles on. No idea what they’re doing in bailing out that sinking ship.

(23)(15)
Anonymous

Agreed. The trainees must be rubbing their hands with glee.

(1)(2)
Anonymous

Dentons have a pretty poor trainee retention rate though.

(1)(1)
TheAcresofFour

No, the trainees at KWM that ended up jumping to Goodwin Procter were rubbing their hands with glee.

Not everyone is happy about this.

(4)(1)
Anonymous

Literally.

Even PLA Diper and BakerMcD ain’t got nothing on these jokers.

(2)(3)
Knowitall

Who loves a merger more? DLA or Dentons. Lost, loser firms.

(1)(8)
Anonymous

DLA will take any firm on as long as the price is right. A bit like Legal Cheek.

(4)(6)
Anonymous

Dundas no more, McGrigors no more, HBJ no more, Maclays no more.

(5)(5)
Anonymous

Maclay’s deadwood equity geezers must be laughing all the way to the bank.

This is a total home run for them: once the merger completes, they’ll happily parachute out with fat paychecks, leaving whatever brand MMS had left (not much I’ll admit) to disappear into thin air. Ghastly.

(17)(9)
Anonymous

Think this is the truest comment so far. Looking very likely.

(1)(4)
Anonymous

One terrible firm joining another, a match made in heaven

(10)(19)
Anonymous

Yeah, keep telling yourself that, MMS stooge. The merger-led redundancies are fast coming your way…

(4)(13)
Anonymous

How are Dentons terrible? They’re one of the top firms in the world… most students would give their right arm to train there.

(10)(7)
Anonymous

MMS are an awful outfit, had several dealings with them over recent years and been left less than impressed.

(8)(12)
Anonymous

No chance of keeping an open mind, hoping it works out for all those involved and secures jobs, continues to contribute to the economy ? Does not effect me but seems a shame to condem something before it happens?

(4)(1)
Anonymous

More takeover than merger. Support staff left in limbo. Partners are selling long-term staff down to river.

(1)(6)
Anonymous

MMS sold down the river for Partners GREED expect up to 50+ redundancies, so not the great deal you are all bumming up for the firm. Scottish newspapers should be picking up this story of a sell out, 140+ years of history wiped out. THANKS

(4)(6)
Anonymous

Lots of support jobs lost today, and so the first stage of redundancies begin.

(1)(0)
Anonymous

Staff in limbo for 2 months then pushed out door mms partners should hang heads in shame most staff have been there 20-30 years while they take the money and slink out the door. Disgusting.

(0)(0)

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