SNR Denton set for three way merger to create legal giant

Michael Bow
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CITY law firms SNR Denton, Salans and Canadian outfit Fraser Milner Casgrain yesterday announced plans to merge the practices to create the seventh largest law firm on the planet.

In an explicit challenge to the dominance of the Magic Circle law firms in the City, the new business will become the biggest energy and mining sector legal practice in the world.

The merged company, which is set to be called Dentons, will also seek to capitalise on Salans’ strong insurance practice by using it to boost the new firm’s presence in the London insurance market.

The merger, which has been in the works for months, will see the creation of a 14 membership executive board led by current SNR Denton chief executive Elliott Portnoy, who will remain leader of the new merged company.

Describing the deal as a “game changer”, management said more practices in Canada could follow the firms’ lead to merge with outfits in the US and UK in future.

Portnoy told City A.M.: “All three firms know and respect each other well and we all have shared clients. The merger is a result of our conversations.”

Joe Andrew, currently SNR Denton’s global chair, added: “We are the challenger brand.

“We are challenging the elite and as the biggest newcomer we are obviously defined as being different.”

The firms are set to put their proposals to a vote of their partners next week and will become active in the first quarter of next year.