In the News


Davis Brown Law Firm to Combine with Dentons - December 8, 2020

The combination will position the combined firm as the first truly global law firm in Iowa, and continues the momentum of Project Golden Spike, helping clients navigate the New Dynamic in 39 US locations.

Davis Brown Law Firm announced today a future combination with Dentons, the world’s largest law firm.

The combination continues the growth of Project Golden Spike, a series of combinations dedicated to advancing the first truly national US law firm capable of helping clients navigate the New Dynamic across 39 US locations and 193 locations across 77 countries around the world.

"In the New Dynamic our clients are confronted with constant, accelerated change and want to work with a law firm that has the experience and confidence to help them navigate it wherever they are located," said Joe Andrew, Global Chairman of Dentons. "Davis Brown is a truly exceptional firm and has been ranked as Des Moines's best law firm for the last 15 years. Our combination with Davis Brown positions us as the first global law firm in Iowa and gets us one step closer to becoming the first truly national US law firm."

“We are excited about our combination with Dentons, as it dovetails precisely with our client-centric focus on the future of legal services," said John Pietila, President of Davis Brown. "Clients will continue to work with the Davis Brown lawyers they know and trust, while our lawyers will gain access to a state-of-the-art platform for meeting client needs around efficiency, security and innovation. Combined with our strengths as an Iowa law firm, the national and global reach of Dentons will provide additional opportunities and greater capabilities to solve our clients’ most complex problems.”

Davis Brown is one of the largest law firms in Iowa with close to 80 lawyers and three offices in West Des Moines, Ames and the largest in the Davis Brown Tower in downtown Des Moines. Davis Brown offers a range of legal services to its diverse client base through a number of specialized fields, including agribusiness, construction, emerging businesses, health law, immigration, intellectual property, employment and labor law, litigation and dispute resolution, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, renewable energy, tax, and wills, trusts and probate.

"We are delighted to be combining with Davis Brown in Iowa, a major financial services and insurance hub, and a key and growing market for our clients with Des Moines' external legal spend exceeding that of the entire country of India,” said Elliott Portnoy, Global CEO of Dentons. "Like Dentons, Davis Brown and its lawyers are repeatedly recognized for the quality of their legal service and their focus on inclusion and diversity and our combination means we can connect clients to leading talent in Iowa and in 77 countries around the world."

Davis Brown dominates the Iowa legal market and the firm and its lawyers—known for their academic excellence, creativity, integrity, and motivation—are repeatedly recognized by Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers and Chambers. Davis Brown is ranked Band 1 by Chambers and Partners in all five practice areas available in the Iowa chapter of Chambers USA and the firm has also been recognized as the Best Law Firm in Des Moines for 15 consecutive years by the Business Record, the preeminent business journal in Iowa.

The combination with Davis Brown in Iowa expands Dentons' geographic offering and further strengthens Dentons' existing Midwest offices. Through the combination, both Davis Brown and Dentons will enhance the depth and breadth of services available to clients among highly regarded practices including corporate, employment, healthcare, insurance, litigation, construction, and real estate, as well as opportunities for growth through smart collaboration in areas including immigration, intellectual property, agriculture, energy, cross-border M&A, public law, and finance.

"Dentons' polycentric model allows us to retain our defining characteristics as Davis Brown and all that means to our communities, while at the same time accessing a broad range of national and international legal services for our clients," said Lori Chesser, shareholder and Chair of the Immigration Department at Davis Brown.

"We are in a time of accelerated change and law firms, more than ever before, need to transform to meet and exceed the dynamic needs of clients," said Toby McClamroch, Managing Partner of Dentons United States Region. "Law firms around the US see the benefits of our Golden Spike model and the combination with Davis Brown will continue our trajectory to better serve our clients’ needs across the 100 largest legal markets in the US."

At launch of the combination with what will be known as Dentons Davis Brown, Dentons will extend its reach to 193 locations—with 39 in the US—in 77 countries.

In 2020 to date, Dentons has announced 28 new offices. In addition to the future combination with Davis Brown, Dentons' partners approved a combination with leading Tanzanian law firm, East African Law Chambers (EALC) as part of its strategy to become the leading Pan-African law firm owned and controlled by Africans. In addition, Dentons has launched nine combinations:

  • Dentons Bingham Greenebaum and Dentons Cohen & Grigsby, the founding members with Dentons US of Project Golden Spike;
  • Dentons Kensington Swan in New Zealand;
  • Dentons Lee in South Korea;
  • Dentons Jiménez de Aréchaga in Uruguay;
  • Dentons Rattagan Macchiavello Arocena in Argentina;
  • Dentons LEAD in Angola;
  • Dentons Durham Jones Pinegar in the US- - as part of Project Golden Spike; and
  • Dentons Eric Silwamba Jalasi & Linyama in Zambia.

Dentons has also opened offices in the British Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, Ireland, Colombia, and China.