Dentons appoints new CEO in US amid pressure for more law firm combinations


Signage is visible outside the Dentons law firm in Washington, DC, United States, August 30, 2020. REUTERS / Andrew Kelly

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  • Bay Area litigator Sonia Martin replaces Mike McNamara
  • Dentons said he is actively pursuing combinations with US law firms

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Jan. 4 (Reuters) – Global law firm Dentons announced on Wednesday that Sonia Martin, managing partner of its San Francisco and Oakland offices, will be its new U.S. CEO.

She replaces Mike McNamara, whose cabinet announced in July it planned to resign as part of a change in its leadership structure. McNamara said in a statement that he “pledged my support to help Sonia succeed.”

Martin will oversee the law firm’s strategy in the United States as it pursues plans to expand its presence through combinations with regional and mid-sized firms, said Elliott Portnoy, Washington-based global CEO of Dentons, DC, in an interview.

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Since 2020, Dentons has partnered with five US law firms as part of its “Project Golden Spike” strategy, named for the railroad crossing that united the transcontinental railroad in 1869.

The firm of 12,000 lawyers is the largest in the world by number of employees and now has 44 offices in the United States

Martin, a partner in the firm’s litigation and dispute resolution practice, said Dentons US had its “strongest financial performance” on record in 2021. She said the firm is still compiling its numbers and declined to provide details.

Portnoy said the firm is in active discussions with other US law firms about the merger, and he expects Dentons “to present multiple opportunities to our partners” early this year.

The U.S. legal industry is poised for another solid year of revenue growth – Wells Fargo Private Bank’s legal specialty group forecast average growth of 14% among law firms surveyed in November.

Read more:

Growth of law firms accelerates, with the richest firms in the lead

Dentons shakes up American leadership and promises continued expansion

Dentons marries Alabama law firm in latest midsize US combo

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Report by David Thomas

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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