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SNR Denton stars in: '2012, a microcosm'

Posted by: Laurence Simons 22/11/12

When aliens descend on our cold dead earth and start to dig through the ashes of our ruined civilisation (friendly reminder: the Mayan calendar predicts fiery end-of-days death for us all next month, so get your admin in order), they will find exactly three pieces of evidence that the year 2012 happened: a Gangnam Style video on an infinite loop. A bronze Statue of Liberty-sized rendering of Honey Boo-Boo. And a load of paperwork saying law firms merged with one another.

SNR Denton is just one such law firm, formed as it was in 2010 by the merger of Denton Wilde Sapte and Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, a Verein situation that saw SNR Denton storm up the Global 100 charts earlier this year. And now the firm wants to go two better, with a proposed three-way between it and Fraser, Milner & Casgrain and Salans in the offing.

But has anyone stopped to ask why? Yes, actually: Belly of the Beast's Stephen J Harper has. And as Harper notes, a firm that until the latter months of 2011 was flirting perilously with a doomed Dewey merger might not always make the right decision when it comes to buddying up. "If consummated, the merger would double the size of the current SNR Denton," says Harper. "If the transaction goes through, what results won't be a partnership. Whether it would become a profitable business venture for the participants is an open question."

It's something to bear in mind. Basically: yes, mergers are tres chic right now. But they are also risky. If you're thinking of joining a firm in the midst of a partnership, ask if the move is right for the company before jumping in head first.