Insights: Dentons At Ten—What’s Next?

  • On 10.28.2022
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A Forbes’ article “Dentons At Ten—What’s Next?” examines Dentons’ success in its first 10 years and the equally ambitious future plans of the firm’s global leadership, led by Joe Andrew, Global Chairman, and Elliott Portnoy, Global CEO, to retain the firm’s ‘challenger brand’ mindset, commitment to constant improvement, and business zeitgeist. With the vision and leadership of Joe Andrew and our CEO, Ed Reilly, Dentons Global Advisors was launched in 2021 as part of Dentons’ long-held vision to be more than a law firm.

“Dentons will soon turn ten—and with a characteristic bang. The firm sent a letter to its clients heralding its forthcoming birthday milestone and looking to the future. Days later, Dentons announced an historic agreement to combine with leading Indian law firm Link Legal, making it the world’s first global firm to combine with a law firm in India. The convergence of these two events is emblematic of Dentons’ commitment to “always be the firm of the future.”

Dentons was formed in 2013 when Salans, Fraser Milner Casgrain (FMC) and SNR Denton combined. Dentons has been big and been bold from day one. The leadership duo of Global Chairman Joe Andrew and Global CEO Elliott Portnoy held the same titles at the predecessor firm that was to become Dentons. They charted a course to reimagine the scale, scope, and boundaries of a law firm. The goal was to build a leading global professional services enterprise-not simply a law firm- designed to provide client solutions to business challenges locally and around the globe.

Andrew and Portnoy challenged the profession’s longstanding dogma that law is a vertical whose “bespoke” work is its birthright. They had a different view— law is a horizontal function that cuts across the enterprise, society, and geography. Legal expertise is part of a wider problem-solving dynamic that requires integration of lawyers, technologists, finance, data scientists, risk and compliance managers, and a host of other professional and paraprofessional disciplines. The goal of law—and professional services more broadly—is to drive value to business.

A decade on, Dentons is the product of its founders’ iconoclastic conception of the legal role. The firm has altered the paradigm of the traditional law firm, replacing it with an entity designed to deliver solutions for business challenges and opportunity capture. Dentons has challenged other deeply rooted law firm precepts—talent mining, homogeneity, parochialism, and origination. It has fashioned a firm culture that is diverse, collaborative, innovative, purpose-driven, and customer-centric.

The explosive growth of Dentons and the return of the Big Four to the legal space is no coincidence. These organizations recognize that in an increasingly complex, fast-moving, and fluid geopolitical environment, clients require real-time, multidisciplinary, platform-driven, data-backed solutions to business challenges. No single discipline—legal, financial, data analytics, policy—has all the answers. Integrated solutions are more valuable than piecemeal ones.”

Read the full article in Forbes here.

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