It’s very difficult to be a one or two office shop with an office in Silicon Valley and a small office someplace else. People want more. People expect more. They need more.
About two weeks ago, on September 30, 2010, two powerhouse law firms officially merged. The US-based Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP and UK-based Denton Wilde Sapte LLP formed a single international legal practice with 50 offices in 32 countries across four continents. The new firm is called SNR Denton.
Earlier this week, I interviewed Victor Boyajian, Global Chair of the Venture Technology group and we had a great conversation about why SNR merged and what it means for the future of their business. I was particularly interested in the merger because Sonnenschein has traditionally been very involved in the venture ecosystem here in Silicon Valley.
The Sonnenschein arm has a long and prestigious history starting in 1906, but the Denton arm traces its roots back to 1785 making the new combination a real legacy with a fresh twist. The new SNR Denton is truly a global firm with offices in the US, UK, Europe, the Middle East, Russia and the CIS, South-East Asia, and Africa and eight focus areas ranging from the finance sector to the entertainment sector.
Let’s jump into the heart of the interview:
Andrew: Let’s start with the merger. What was the reason for it?
Victor: It was definitely strategic. Our clients want us to be global. I’ve had venture capitalists selling portfolio companies in the UK who love us stateside and say “we only wish you were in the UK.”
I just got a call from a hot media company in New York where they’re looking to go global and the first step would be London. They want to know what to do, what issues are there to worry about, what employment issues are there, governance issues…etc. We know all that.
M&A deals are increasingly across border. Now that we’re global, we’re able to handle those transactions on our own which is a real benefit to our client because we’re the ones who know their business and we’re the ones they have confidence in.
We’ve been looking for this opportunity for literally five years and the stars aligned. We’re very excited.
It would be very difficult to be a small shop with an office in Silicon Valley and an office someplace else. People want more. People expect more. They need more. It’s globalization. One-off offices can’t lead clients to the next level of their growth. They can’t take you to the investment banking firms. They can’t take you to the strategic buyers – whether they’re in the Far East or the UK.
Andrew: So what makes SNR Denton different than everyone else?
Victor: Simply put: Sector focus on a global platform makes us different.
[Originally published By Andrew Bellay on aonetwork.com]