The Legal Cheek View

The world's largest law firm by headcount got even bigger this year thanks to a host of further tie-ups. The most significant for Dentons’ UK practice was the merger with elite four-office Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens in July 2017. It followed combinations with Dutch outfit Boekel and Central American firm Munoz Global, and strategic alliances with Vella Pugliese Buosi Guidoni, of Brazil, and Peru’s Gallo Barrios Pickmann. Oh, and Dentons has also recently launched in Georgia with the hire of DLA Piper’s 11-lawyer team in Tbilisi.

The pace of growth has been searing. Ultimately it has been led by Dentons' 2015 merger with one of the biggest law firms in China, Dacheng. Other recent bolt-ons to what until as recently as 2010 was London corporate outfit Denton Wilde Sapte include major practices from the US, Canada and France. These days Dentons has more than 80 offices in over 50 countries and counting – and global turnover of over $2 billion. Among these are some of the most interestingly located bases of any international firm, with outposts for example in Turkmenistan, the Cape Verde Islands and Mongolia. Closer to home, Dentons has offices in Milton Keynes and Watford as well as a big City of London base.

Revenue for the UK, Middle East and Africa branch of the business is up for the fourth consecutive year – albeit by a pretty small 1% (to £166 million) following some tough Brexit trading conditions in the UK. This figure will likely rise considerably more sharply next year once the Maclay Murray & Spens deal is accounted for. But profit for equity partner (PEP) is down by 9% to £481,000 following a 6% rise last year.

What does this all mean for students contemplating applying to the firm?

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Key Info

Training contracts 30
Latest trainee retention rate 68%
Offices 120
Countries 52
Minimum A-level requirement ABB
Minimum degree requirement 2:1

Insider Scorecard

Quality of work
Peer support
Partner approach-ability
Work/life balance
Social life

Insider Scorecard Grades range from A* to D and are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2017-18 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK.


Average arrival time 8:44am
Average leave time 7:36pm
Annual target hours 1,540
Annual leave 25 days


First year trainee salary £40,000
Second year trainee salary £44,000
Newly qualified salary £65,000
Profit per equity partner £481,000
GDL grant £6,000
LPC grant £6,000

The above figures are for London. First year trainees in Milton Keynes and Watford receive £27,200, while second years earn £29,750. Newly qualified solicitors in these locations receive £44,000.


UK female associates 54%
UK female partners 26%
UK BME associates 14%
UK BME partners 7%

Universities Current Trainees Attended

The Firm In Its Own Words