Dentons unveils deal to combine with Iowa's Davis Brown

Fourth deal under strategy to create truly national practice sees agreement with top tier Des Moines firm

Dentons is to set up shop in Iowa’s capital, Des Moines, after agreeing a combination with top tier local firm Davis Brown.

The deal is the fourth to be agreed as part of the Dentons’ Project Golden Spike – a strategy to build a network of regional US firms that will ultimately cover the entire US.

It adds nearly 80 lawyers to the firm’s burgeoning network and is of a similar size to the combination that went live in November with Salt Lake City-based Durham Jones & Pinegar.

As with the previous three deals, Davis Brown will add Dentons to its name when the deal goes live, becoming Dentons Davis Brown.

“Our combination with Davis Brown positions us as the first global law firm in Iowa and gets us one step closer to becoming the first truly national US law firm," said global chair Joe Andrew.

It will join Am Law 100 law firms Dorsey & Whitney and Faegre Drinker in Iowa’s capital, which is known as a financial and insurance centre and boasts two Fortune 500 companies: Principal Financial (ranked at 201) and Casey’s General Store (378).

Davis Brown has offices in Davis Brown Tower in downtown Des Moines we well as West Des Moines and Ames. 

It is ranked alongside Faegre Drinker as having a Band 1 commercial litigation practice by Chambers and Partners and is also ranked as a top tier firm for corporate/M&A, employment, insurance litigation and real estate.

Davis Brown president John Pietila said: "Clients will continue to work with the Davis Brown lawyers they know and trust, while our lawyers will gain access to a state-of-the-art platform for meeting client needs around efficiency, security and innovation.”

Lori Chesser, chair of the immigration department, added: "Dentons' polycentric model allows us to retain our defining characteristics as Davis Brown and all that means to our communities, while at the same time accessing a broad range of national and international legal services for our clients." 

When Dentons 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’. 

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.

The first two deals under Project Golden Spike led to the unveiling in January of Dentons Bingham Greenebaum and Dentons Cohen & Grigsby.

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