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17 November 2020

Dentons unveils combination with Salt Lake City's Durham Jones & Pinegar

Deal is third secured under Project Golden Spike to create national network of regional firms

By John Malpas

By Abbie Warnock-Matthews; Shutterstock

Dentons has unveiled its third regional US combination this year, with Salt Lake City-based Durham Jones & Pinegar.

The deal, which was announced in August and went live yesterday, is part of the global firm’s Project Golden Spike – a strategy to build a network of regional US firms that will ultimately cover the entire US.

The unveiling of Dentons Durham Jones Pinegar adds nearly 100 lawyers to Dentons’ US network and offices in Salt Lake City, Lehi, Ogden and St George boosting its US office count to 36.

The deal follows the launch of Dentons Bingham Greenebaum and Dentons Cohen & Grigsbym in January and is the first US combination to be announced this year, the first two transactions having been announced in October last year.

Durham Jones & Pinegar is ranked as a Band 2 Utah corporate and M&A firm by Chambers & Partners behind Band 1 practices Dorsey & Whitney and Stoel Rives with partner P Christian Anderson, who advises early stage companies and entrepreneurs, identified as a senior statesperson.

Elliott Portnoy, global CEO of Dentons, said: “The Salt Lake City metropolitan area is a model for the New Dynamic economy: a community with a history of strong economic growth and stability that continues to foster a vibrant, diverse group of innovative businesses and initiatives."

Joe Andrew, global chairman, added that the deal put Dentons “one step closer to becoming the first truly national US law firm”.

When the firm unveiled its US strategy it noted that ‘no full service law firm has offices in all 20 of the largest US legal markets, much less the top 100 – a surprising fact, given the distribution of the country’s largest publicly held companies from coast to coast’. Dentons’ website currently lists 1,269 partners, associates and counsel in the US. 

Under Dentons’ US deals, local partners become partners of Dentons US, which is in turn part of Dentons’ global network under its ‘polycentric’ model. The US region is governed by a management committee led by Mike McNamara, Dentons' US chief executive, who is also a member of the global management committee.

Last year, Dentons accounted for 12 of the 18 crossborder transactions involving US firms, according to Altman Weil MergerLine. 

This year, with merger activity dampened by the Covid-19 pandemic, it has so far announced two combinations, the other being with Tanzanian law firm East African Law Chambers. It has also launched an office in Dublin after departing from its usual strategy of tying up with local law firms.

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