By Casey Sullivan
Nov 8 (Reuters) - The U.S. law firm SNR Denton, Canada's
Fraser Milner Casgrain and the Paris-based Salans are discussing
an unusual three-way merger that would create a 2,500 attorney
Leaders of the three firms will present the deal to their
partners on Tuesday, according to the firms, and a vote will
take place toward the end of November. If the deal is approved,
the new law firm would be called Dentons and would have 79
offices in 52 countries.
SNR Denton, with 1,140 lawyers, was created by the 2010
merger of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal and Britain's Denton
Wilde Sapte. The Salans firm, with offices around Europe, has
750 lawyers and Canada's Fraser Milner Casgrain has 500 lawyers.
The merger underscores interest in the Canadian legal market
which has attracted a number of foreign law firms seeking
mergers to capture work from Canada's energy market.
In 2011, UK-based Norton Rose combined with the
Montreal-based Ogilvy Renault and Calgary-based Macleod Dixon to
form a 2,900-lawyer international law firm, making it one of the
five largest in the world.
The proposed Dentons merger places pressure on domestic
Canadian law firms to expand their practices to match
competition, said Brad Hildebrandt, a law firm consultant with
Hildebrandt Consulting and an advisor to Thomson Reuters.
If the deal is approved, Dentons will be managed by a
global leadership board made up of a team of at least 14 lawyers
from the three law firms. The tie-up would be effective in the
first quarter of 2013.
Joe Andrew, the global chair of SNR Denton, would become
chair, according to the firms. Elliott Portnoy, SNR Denton's
chief executive officer, will keep his title at the new firm.
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