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Dentons US, Bingham Greenebaum and Cohen & Grigsby have announced a proposed combination and a new partnership that they say will enable the firms to build a new national law firm capable of serving clients from coast to coast as well as around the world.
The firms say this combination represents the first step in forming the first truly national law firm in the US. While the largest legal market in the world, the firms point out that US law firms are disproportionately small relative to the size of the market. The firms also flag that clients want more consolidation among firms they use and have a corresponding need for law firms to be of sufficient scale that they can support the myriad specialties clients demand. Building on Dentons' global polycentric model, the new partnership thus aims to be a truly national US law firm serving as a one-stop shop for clients on both a national and global scale. The firms call this model "Golden Spike" in honour of the celebratory railroad spike that 150 years ago completed the first transcontinental railroad in the US and united the Nation in commerce. “This law firm model is analogous with the arrival of the smartphone,” said Joe Andrew, global chair of Dentons. “Hard lines, flip phones and smartphones all provide telecommunications but a smartphone does a lot more. Project Golden Spike will build a law firm that will be capable of offering clients more.” Elliott Portnoy, global ceo of Dentons, explained “Clients want to work with a firm that can support the wide variety of specialties they demand in the markets where they do business but today no full service law firm has offices in all 20, let alone the top 100, largest US legal markets.” He added, “The innovative approach of Golden Spike will position us to do what no law firm has done before: create the first truly national US law firm.”
At launch, the combined firm will have offices in 33 US markets, including nine of the 10 largest markets and 14 of the top 20. Its headcount of nearly 1,100 lawyers will make it the tenth largest law firm in the US. Clients will have access to the experience and talents of more than 10,000 lawyers in 181 locations and 73 countries across the globe. “We are thrilled to become foundational partners in a new partnership that will enable us to provide the benefits of being part of a truly national and global firm to our clients, while allowing us to retain our defining characteristics, leadership structure and in and of the community insights that our clients value,” said Chris Carson, president and ceo of Cohen & Grigsby. Bingham Greenebaum managing partner, Tobin “Toby” McClamroch said “The reach, breadth, and depth provided by Dentons, Cohen & Grigsby and future combinations will enable Bingham Greenebaum lawyers to unlock growth opportunities for clients and enable us to assist them in new and significant ways. An important factor in our decision to be a part of this initiative was our ability to maintain our local presence, unique culture, and strong client relationships.” The combination, following approval by partners and meeting applicable regulatory requirements, is expected to launch in January 2020.