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Despite a pandemic disrupting business as we’ve known it, Dentons is pushing ahead with a national initiative called Project Golden Spike in an effort to develop what it calls the first, true national U.S. law firm. To that end, the firm announced a combination with Salt Lake City-based Durham Jones & Pinegar, adding a global element to law in Utah. Following the combination, Durham Jones & Pinegar will operate as Dentons Durham Jones & Pinegar.

Earlier this year, Dentons launched Project Golden Spike with the additions of Bingham Greenebaum Doll and Cohen & Grigsby. This initial partnership expanded Dentons’ headcount to include over 1,100 lawyers and 33 offices in the U.S. The addition of Durham Jones & Pinegar will extend Dentons’ reach to 188 locations with a total of 37 offices within the U.S.

Durham Jones’ addition will add more than 90 attorneys and create a foothold for Dentons in the Utah area. Durham Jones specializes in complex business laws, finance, and banking. Law.com noted that Salt Lake City is home to more industrial banks than any other U.S. city.

While a set date is to be determined, Law.com reported that Dentons global chairman Joe Andrew expects the combination to be finalized late 2020 or early 2021.

Like the Troutman Pepper merger last July, challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic require remote coordination and reliance on technology platforms and digitization. These new challenges could create challenges to a set date as it did with Troutman Pepper’s initial plans for April 1. In response to COVID-19, Dentons’ launched The New Dynamic, a hub of legal insights to provide operations guidance and digital strategies to various organizations. In Dentons’ press release, Andrew states that “This combination with Durham Jones & Pinegar is a testament to our commitment to helping clients navigate this New Dynamic.”

Todd Leishman, chairman and president of Durham Jones & Pinegar, expressed excitement, stating that “Our combination with Dentons will allow our clients to continue to be served by lawyers they know and trust, who can now connect them to colleagues across the country and around the world.”

Dentons’ Project Golden Spike aims to collaborate and work with other law firms using a dual partnership model that allows lawyers to remain in their current firm and be a part of the larger Dentons’ network. Member firms can thus operate post-merger while retaining their existing organizational structure.

David Yang

David Yang

Research Analyst, Law Firms