The world’s largest law firm just got smaller

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By Emily Hinkley on


Dentons parts ways with China’s Dacheng citing security laws

Beijing, China

Dentons, the largest law firm in world by lawyer headcount, has announced it is cutting ties with its Chinese operation.

The decision, announced this week, comes eight years after Dentons 2015 mega-merger with Chinese firm Dacheng Law Offices (大成).

A statement released by the firm cited the Chinese government’s recent changes to cybersecurity and data protection regulations as key reasons for the divorce.

Despite the two firms officially becoming separate entities, a referral system will exist between them which will see Dentons treat Dacheng as its “preferred” firm for work in that jurisdiction.

The full statement read:

“In response to recent Chinese government mandates on Chinese law firms, including those relating to cybersecurity and data protection, Dentons is modifying its relationship with Beijing Dacheng Law Offices (大成), the Chinese legal partnership that has been a member of the Dentons Group since 2015.”

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Its continued: “Moving forward, 大成 will operate as a separate, standalone law firm that will serve as Dentons’ preferred law firm for clients with legal needs in China. While our legal relationship is changing, we will continue working together to meet our clients’ needs across China and the 80+ countries where Dentons does business.”

Prior to the split, Dentons employed 21,000 professionals in over 200 locations in more than 80 countries. A firm spokesperson confirmed it remains the largest by headcount.

Legal Cheek recently reported a similar move from Eversheds Sutherland, which struck a deal with Asia’s King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) to send legal work to each other as part of a new “formal cooperation agreement”.

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