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01 February 2021

Dentons global vice chair Richard Macklin leaves firm

Global giant pays tribute to longstanding partner and M&A specialist's 'boundless enthusiasm' and 'huge generosity'

By John Malpas

Richard Macklin

Dentons global vice chair Richard Macklin has left the firm after more than 30 years during which he helped struggling London practice Denton Wilde Sapte become a founding component of what is now the world’s largest law firm.

Macklin, who was also global client partner with a seat on the global board, stood down at the end of December to take up a portfolio of advisory, coaching and consulting roles, including with Lexington Consultants, which has teamed up with The Global Legal Post to run the three-day law firm management course: Preparing your law firm for success in the post-pandemic era. He was one of five global vice chairs appointed in 2016 to represent Dentons’ regions.

UKIME CEO Jeremy Cohen said: “Richard made a huge contribution to our firm during a career spanning over 30 years, both as a highly accomplished practitioner and in helping the whole firm to enhance its client relationships. This was all done with boundless enthusiasm, passion for the firm and huge generosity with his time and energies. We wish him all the very best in his future endeavours.”

The M&A specialist was among a group of highly rated partners who stuck with Denton Wilde Sapte during a period of declining profitability and high-level partner defections both before and immediately after its merger with US firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal in May 2010 to form SNR Denton.

That deal became the platform from which Sonnenschein’s leadership team of Joe Andrew and Elliott Portnoy - now global chair and CEO respectively at Dentons – embarked on a relentless expansion programme under its polycentric model that continues to this day, most recently under its Project Golden Spike strategy to build a network of regional US firms that will ultimately cover the entire US.

Reflecting on the merger with Sonnenschein, Macklin said: “Dentons was at a low point, but those of us who remained were like coiled springs with real drive, wanting to prove ourselves and ready to take risks. When the opportunity came up to merge with Sonnenschein we could see the potential of the leadership team and we said ‘let’s do it’.”

Before taking his global positions at Dentons, Macklin co-headed the firm’s UKMEA M&A division. He said the fact Dentons was not regarded as an elite London firm at the time forced him and his colleagues to explore client winning strategies that didn’t centre on the global financial centre.

“When you are a top firm in your market it can be a bit too easy,” he said. “There was a stage in London when it was hard to get new clients so we needed another plan and had success leveraging off our well regarded Middle East and Africa practice to advise clients like Total and Virgin, and many of those relationships have since grown to become global clients for the firm.”

Alongside his role with Lexington Consultants, Macklin is advisory chair of executive coaching outfit Meyler Campbell. He is also seeking non-executive directorships and is a volunteer for UK charity the Samaritans, which provides emotional support to people in distress.

“I’ve done a lot of coaching,” he said of his decision to become a Samaritans volunteer, “so although some of the techniques are different, I felt it would be a good fit. I know it’s a cliche but when you have spent your career as an M&A lawyer working with a relatively small section of society, it is great to have the opportunity to give something back to the wider community."

Click here for more information about the three-day online management course Preparing your law firm for success in the post-pandemic era, held by The Global Legal Posst in association with Lexington Counsultants. Alternatively, download the full programme here.  

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