Business of Law

Dentons and Chinese law firm vote to merge, producing the world's largest law firm by head count

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Dentons and Chinese law firm Dacheng have approved a merger that would create a 6,600-lawyer entity, the world’s largest law firm by head count.

The firms are awaiting approval by Chinese regulators for the combination, which will use a Swiss verein structure, report the American Lawyer and the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.). Dacheng has about 4,000 lawyers and represents many of China’s most important companies.

The combined firm will be called Dacheng in China and Dentons elsewhere. It will have 120 offices in more than 50 countries. A new logo will show the Chinese characters for Dacheng followed by the Dentons name, the American lawyer says.

Currently the world’s largest law firm is Baker & McKenzie, with 4,245 lawyers.

China generally bars foreign lawyers from appearing in court or before the government, a restriction that has made law practice in the country difficult for foreign firms. The merger between Dentons and Dacheng will allow Dentons to overcome that hurdle.

Dentons is the product of a three-way merger in 2013 between SNR Denton, Canadian law firm Fraser Milner Casgrain and European firm Salans.

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