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Merger talks: Dentons and McKenna Long partners say no to a tie-up

Just two days after Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and New York-headquartered Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman called off their potentially game changing merger, Dentons and McKenna Long & Aldridge have announced that their partners have said no to a tie-up, after the decision was put to a partnership vote yesterday (26 November).

Both firms confirmed that they were in merger talks in late September and a vote was originally scheduled for 14 November, which if it had gone through would have created a firm with around 3,100 lawyer globally.

However, a spokesperson for McKenna Long, which was formed from the 2002 merger of Atlanta’s Long Aldridge & Norman and Washington-based McKenna & Cuneo, last night sent Legal Business a statement saying: ‘We are not in a position to successfully bring our firms together at this time. We look forward to maintaining the many friendships and working relationships, including with shared clients that partners in both firms have forged. Both firms will continue to advance their respective strategic priorities.’

Dentons, which has 2360 lawyers and has undergone successive mergers, including latterly the three-way tie-up last November of SNR Denton, Salans and Canada’s Fraser Milner Casgrain, saw a flat 2012/13 revenue figure of £830m and profits per equity partner of £451,000.

News of the decision comes in the same week as the potentially game changing merger between California-based Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and New York-headquartered Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman was called off after the firms said client conflicts of interest had proved insurmountable.

Those firms disclosed around a month ago that they were in talks, with a view to creating a 1,800-lawyer practice with revenues of around $1.4bn, putting the combined entity in the top 15 law firms in the world by fee income.