'Serious overture' made to Patton Boggs

Another major law firm has reached out to the leaders of Patton Boggs about a merger.

Dentons, which has about 2,600 lawyers in 75 different offices worldwide, said in a statement Wednesday that it “has made a serious overture to Patton Boggs leadership about a combination to form a new firm together.”


The move comes as Patton Boggs is in the midst of merger talks with another law firm, Squire Sanders.

Neither Squire Sanders nor Patton Boggs responded to a request for comment.

In 2013, Dentons U.S. — the firm's American operation — reported more than $6.4 million in lobbying revenue, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. That falls far behind K Street titan Patton Boggs’s lobbying fees totaling $40.2 million last year.

“We hold Patton Boggs and its lawyers and professionals in high regard, and our interest in conversations between our firms and partners remains high,” a spokeswoman for Dentons said in an email.

Over the past year, Patton Boggs has been undergoing a massive restructuring as its legal revenue has declined. At the end of 2013, Patton said it had 435 attorneys and overall firm revenue of $278 million, compared to the $313 million it earned in 2012.

While the firm’s all-star lobby shop in Washington remains relatively unscathed, Patton closed its Newark, N.J., office, and many partners have left. Adding to the firm’s problems, a federal judge this week gave oil and gas giant Chevron the go-ahead to sue Patton, which Chevron alleges helped cover up fraudulent evidence in a lawsuit in Ecuador.

Rick Talisman, the general counsel for Patton Boggs, said Chevron’s claims are “baseless.”

Patton Boggs has also hired restructuring advisory firm Zolfo Cooper to help it get back on track, and the firm’s leaders have said they expect the firm to emerge stronger than ever.

Late last year, merger negotiations between Patton Boggs and the law firm Locke Lord fell apart.

Dentons was formed in March when international law firm SNR Denton merged with Paris-based Salans and the Canadian firm Fraser Milner Casgrain (FMC).

The firm operates under a “Swiss verein structure” and has five separate regional LLPs. Its U.S. arm reported $464 million in gross revenue last year, according to the legal publication The American Lawyer.

Dentons called off merger talks with McKenna Long & Aldridge late last year.