Dentons, the world's biggest law firm, is to become even bigger as a result of a US merger.

The addition of McKenna Long & Aldridge will take the firm to 6,600 lawyers, sending it roaring ahead of next-placed Baker & McKenzie and DLA Piper, which each have a trifling 4,200. A merger with McKenna Long was mooted in 2012, but talks were aborted and Dentons turned east, merging with Chinese firm Dacheng instead to become the largest firm in the world by lawyer headcount. However it turns out it was simultaneously engaged in fresh discussions with its US target, and both partnerships have now voted for McKenna Long to be swallowed into the US part of Dentons' swiss verein structure.

  How the merger will work: McKenna Long (left), meet Dentons (right)

McKenna Long has 13 offices across California, Colorado, Georgia, New York, DC and Florida, plus an outpost in Brussels and in Seoul. It specialises in international law and public policy (and one of its legacy firms drafted the charter establishing San Diego, US law firm public policy fact fans). Chairman Jeff Haidet said that the advantages to its staff "are clear" and added mysteriously that everyone is "excited to embrace in the US".

Although it's possible some staff are less excited than others, since the Dentons behemoth is not taking all McKenna Long's 575 lawyers, nor all of its support staff. In a statement Dentons said that "by mutual decision" not all of them will join the firm, though suggestions (by RollOnFriday staff) that is because the Chinese government didn't like what it found in their emails are almost certainly untrue.
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