Dentons deepens South American presence with Chilean tie-up

Dentons has encroached further into South America through a merger with Chilean firm Larrain Rencoret Urzua (LRU).

The latest tie-up comes three months after Dentons became the first global firm to enter Hawaii, following a merger with independent player Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing, which saw it add almost 50 lawyers to the firm’s US platform.

Through the Chilean merger, Dentons will lay down roots in Santiago, where LRU is based, and acquire 33 lawyers. LRU, which is strong in mining and natural resources, and energy and projects, is part of Dentons’ NextLaw global network, which was formed to “improve its global brand”, When formed in 2016, the network encompassed 280 firms in 160 jurisdictions.

Many of the firms that joined the network were already a part of Dentons’ mammoth global referral system that saw the firm refer work to 920 other firms in 2015 and receive more than 500 referrals from other firms around the world.

The merger with LRU builds on Dentons push into Latin America and the Caribbean, after it combined with Dinner Martin in the Cayman Islands and Delany Law in the Eastern Caribbean in March. It currently has 20 other offices in the region; in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Peru.

As well as South America, the firm has also been pursuing growth in Africa. In September last year, Dentons launched in Uganda through a tie-up with Kampala Associated Advocates, after Dentons’ newly-appointed Africa CEO Noor Kapdi unveiled the firm’s plans to expand its footprint significantly in the region over the next two years. Nigeria, alongside Mauritius, Southern Africa and Tanzania, were highlighted as key locations for expansion.

2016 saw somewhat of a rush into Chile, as firms keen for rapid Latin American expansion set up shop. DLA Piper launched thanks to a cooperation agreement with local firm Bahamondez Alvarez & Zegers (BAZ), as well as Kennedys, which picked up a 13-strong team from Sateler Depolo Diemoz Abogados. The latter firm had been in an association with Kennedys since 2013. Iberian firm Garrigues also continued its expansion across Latin America, bolting on Chilean firm Avendaño Merino.

Dentons’ other recent merger sprees include combinations with seven law firms in Kenya, Mauritius, Cayman Islands, Barbados, Indonesia and Malaysia and a merger last July with Scottish firm McClay Murray Spens.

The firm now has offices in 74 countries worldwide.

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