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Dentons hires former BLP corporate chief Collins as it targets cross-border deal work

In tandem with its significant global expansion this year, Dentons is targeting greater volumes of cross-border deal work and has hired Berwin Leighton Paisner’s former corporate chief David Collins to head its global M&A push.

Collins, who has held a string of management positions at BLP and spent the last two years running the firm’s corporate group, joins Dentons as UK head of corporate and co-chair of the global M&A Group on 1 January 2016.

Collins succeeds Richard Barham as UK head of corporate after four years in the role. Collins resigned from the BLP partnership in June after more than 20 years at the firm, having been pipped to the managing partner role by employment head Lisa Mayhew earlier this year. As head of BLP’s corporate group, he oversaw the corporate finance, funds and financial services, employment and EU, competition and trade practice groups, and he also headed the firm’s betting and gaming sector group.

The hire of Collins is seen as an important step towards strengthening Dentons’ brand in the City and building a stronger corporate platform to capitalise on its rapid international expansion. In the past 12 months Dentons has tied up with Chinese firm Dacheng and US firm McKenna Long to make it the largest law firm in the world by lawyer headcount.

Jeremy Cohen, Dentons’ UKMEA chief executive, said ‘building a stronger corporate practice is one of our key priorities for the region’ following recent spate of mergers. With combinations in South America with Colombia’s Cárdenas & Cárdenas and Mexico’s López Velarde, Heftye y Soria (LVHS), in Australia with Gadens and in Singapore with Rodyk & Davidson all pending, Cohen said Dentons ‘can expect to see increasing amounts of opportunities for cross-border work’.

‘Combined with David’s track record of successful leadership and high standing in the City, the UK corporate practice now has a very strong platform from which to access a greater volume of high quality domestic and cross-border mandates,’ he added.

Collins said: ‘As many law firms continue to reflect on how to position themselves for the future in an increasingly competitive environment, I have been extremely impressed by Dentons’ ability to execute on its ground-breaking global strategy. Dentons’ corporate businesses continue to evolve, reflecting the wealth of opportunities arising from the firm’s rapid growth and international expansion.’