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05 December 2016

Dentons Australia combination deal finally goes through

More than a year after it was first approved, Dentons' planned combination with Australian firm Gadens is finally going ahead.

By Kathryn Higgins

Anton Balazh

The tie-up between Dentons and Gadens that will at last launch the former’s Australian arm has officially gone through today (5 December), more than 12 months after partners first approved the union in November 2015. Dentons global chief executive Elliot Portnoy commented: ‘Our clients, particularly those in China, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea, responded enthusiastically to the announcement of our combination. Adding market-leading experience in Australia’s banking and finance, real estate, infrastructure, energy and natural resources sectors to our global teams significantly enhances our offerings to clients in the Pacific Rim.’ Gadens’ chair Steve Healy will become chief executive of Dentons Australia following the merger.

Slow progress

Dentons’ merger with 500-lawyer Gadens has hit several speed bumps due to the Australian firm’s federalised structure. While Gadens’ offices in Perth, Sydney and Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) operate more or less as a single, integrated firm, its offices in Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide exist as more or less autonomous entities. The union with Dentons will see Gadens’ offices in Perth, Sydney and Port Moresby absorbed into the Dentons brand, while the offices in Brisbane and Adelaide will become associate firms of Dentons Australia. Gadens’ Melbourne office confirmed that it would opt-out of the merger in October, and will have no formal ties to Dentons moving forward.  

Sources: Legal Week; Legal Business; The Australian

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