Politically connected law firm McKenna Long & Aldridge swallowed by Dentons

McKenna Long & Aldridge, the super-connected law giant that casts an outsize shadow in Atlanta, will be no more -- at least in name.

Wednesday evening the lawfirm announced a merger with Dentons, the world's largest law firm, effective later this year.

From today's premium/print edition, Dan Chapman has this:

The deal brings the trend toward legal mergers to Atlanta and gives McKenna Long, started in 1974, a grander global footprint and the opportunity to play a larger role in growing Asian, European and Canadian markets.  

Dentons already counts 6,500 lawyers and advisers worldwide and tallied $1.3 billion in revenue last year. McKenna Long’s 434 lawyers and public policy advisers, as well as more than $300 million in annual revenue, will be added to the mix.  

“We were presented with the opportunity to go big and go global,” said Jeff Haidet, the chairman of McKenna Long who becomes a co-CEO with Dentons’ Peter Wolfson. “Obviously, our big corporate citizens in Atlanta already have experience internationally. Now, a lot of middle-market companies will be able to take advantage of our network of relationships and skills to help navigate the global marketplace.”

McKenna Long is intertwined with Georgia politics. Here's the lead of a 2010 piece by our AJC colleague Bill Torpy:

 The world of politics and government is increasingly a confusing, raucous and messy place. There are endless ethics complaints, sweeping health care changes, ever-present lobbying scandals and desperate attempts to stimulate the economy.

But that's all good for McKenna Long & Aldridge. The Atlanta- and Washington-based law firm has continually --- and unashamedly --- positioned itself to be a player in the corridors of power, where a phone call to the right official can make things happen.

"People in the firm have relations in and knowledge of government, " said Clay Long, the 74-year-old lawyer on the firm's nameplate. "Sometimes you have to know where to go and how to get in the door to allow you to make your case."

Dentons is no slouch in the political arena, either. McKenna Long sent over a sampling of what its merged government affairs team looks like:

It includes the global chairman of Dentons and the former Chair of the Democratic National Committee, Joe Andrew, and the following:

 ·         Howard Dean, former Governor of Vermont and Chair of the Democratic National Committee;

·         Ron Kaufman, former White House Political Director under President George H. W. Bush;

·         Gordon Giffin, former US Ambassador to Canada;

·         Eric Tanenblatt, former COS to Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue and senior advisor to the late US Senator Paul Coverdell;

·         Anthony Williams, former Mayor of Washington, DC;

·         Four former US Congressman; and

·         Four former state attorney generals.

Bloomberg BNA has some additional background on the deal:

Dentons has been on a frenzied merger pace of late: In January, it united with the roughly 4000-attorney Dacheng Law Offices of China, in a deal structured as a Swiss verein, which allowed the firms to maintain separate profit pools but also to share certain expenses. That merger created the largest firm in the world, a global behemoth governed by a board of 19 directors and combined reported global revenues of more than $1.6 billion. ...

The deal shows how the legal industry is consolidating, as law firms market themselves to corporate clients as a one-stop shop with offices around the globe.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

About the Author

X