Dentons has capped off an expansive summer, even by its own standards, announcing it is to enter Argentina and Uruguay through its fourth and fifth combinations respectively in just over a month.
The 10,000-lawyer firm announced today (4 September) it will add another 80 to its ranks by absorbing Rattagan Macchiavello Arocena in Buenos Aires and Jiménez de Aréchaga, Viana & Brause in Montevideo.
Subject to a partner vote taking place over the next two weeks, chair Joe Andrew (pictured) said the move would make Dentons ‘the first truly pan-Latin American and Caribbean firm in the history of the legal profession’.
‘We already have coverage in Mexico, central America and most of the Caribbean,’ Latin America and the Caribbean chief executive Jorge Alers told Legal Business. ‘So the last remaining area where we needed to establish a presence was South America.’
In Argentina the firm will initially focus on M&A and environmental work, but Alers said that it could soon expand into other areas: ‘While we may start with a more focused platform, what we have seen in the region is that, because of the global platform of Dentons, we are often able to expand to include new areas and practices.’
He pointed to the firm’s Chile practice, which in its first year of operation almost doubled its size to around 60 lawyers. The firm also has offices in Peru, Colombia and Venezuela, as well as a strategic alliance in Brazil.
The mergers come just over a month after the firm said it was merging with New Zealand firm Kensington Swan bringing its lawyer headcount in the region to over 500.
In the following seven days, it announced a tie-up with Gustavo Zacapa y Asociados in Honduras and Lee International in South Korea.
Speaking to Legal Business last month, Andrews said: ‘The more places you are the more pressure there is to be in even more places. In May 2016 we had no presence in South America, now we have more presence in South America and the Caribbean than anyone else.’
Also in 2019, Dentons combined with MawereSibanda in Zimbabwe and acquired Norton Rose Fulbright’s Venezuela business.
Andrews concluded: ‘If you look at a map, any place we’re not, we are making an effort.’