Everywhere I go in legal circles these days, people ask about Dentons. How incredible it would have been even 18 months ago that this child of a second-line Illinois player and the most battered City law brand of the 2000s would attract such interest. Much of that attention is aghast that this dismissed institution has emerged somehow after a remarkable 2015 as the world’s most lawyered firm.
Given the chequered history, the scepticism is understandable and was shared by Legal Business as we sat down to hear the Dentons pitch to potential suitors for this month’s cover feature. But that presentation – backed by Dentons’ dynamic duo of Elliott Portnoy and Joe Andrew – is pretty good. Whatever the chinks in the armour (and there are chinks), the basic premise stands up. The legal industry called time on globalisation in the 2000s amid a series of troubled mergers, inter-firm competition and the fallout from the banking crisis. But that’s not to say there isn’t a good case for building a genuine global giant. Quickly.