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Trendsetters: International Access, Deep Local Roots

If there were any such thing as a global legal military, Dentons law firm would be the elite special ops, leading their ground troops across the world. With more than 150 offices in 50 plus countries, their global presence is well established.

The firm first entered the Atlanta market in July 2015, when Dentons US merged with Atlanta’s McKenna Long & Aldridge. It’s been a transformative year and a half for Dentons in Atlanta, says Joseph Blanco, managing partner of the Atlanta office.

“The firm’s goal in Atlanta and across the world is to connect clients with lawyers who are highly regarded and deeply rooted in their local economies, communities and cultures,” says Blanco. “Our Atlanta-based attorneys and principals have longstanding legacies throughout Georgia and a deep understanding of our clients’ businesses and, therefore, we are uniquely positioned to connect international clients with growing business interests not only in Atlanta but across the state.”

Since the merger, Dentons has added a number of high-profile colleagues, including numerous former elected and appointed officials and individuals who worked at all levels of government.

Eric Tanenblatt co-leads the firm’s public policy practice and says that as a combined firm, Dentons really focuses on the intersection between business, government and the law. While Dentons already had lobbyists and consultants in several states, they identified additional lobbying and consulting firms and formed Dentons 50, a 50-state network of their own robust state government affairs professionals.

“It allows us to pitch a multi-state solution to clients,” says Tanenblatt, noting that companies are often limited by resources to be able to identify the right firm to help them in particular states. “So we manage these other firms all across the country, share best practices. Rather than reinventing the wheel 50 times over, or in as many states as the company is operating, it’s more efficient for them to go to one place and have us manage that for them,” he says.

With the launch last summer of Dentons 50, the firm established an unrivaled full-service, public policy and advocacy network, reaching every state capital in the country and covering all industry sectors, from healthcare to economic development. The network is the go-to resource for businesses with complex, multi-state policy matters.

For clients using Dentons for state, federal or even legal work, if a public policy issue pops up in a state, clients can now reach out to Dentons 50 for a referral to a Dentons resource on the ground in that particular state.

“It will also be very beneficial for inbound work coming from overseas. Given our global platform, we have clients all around the world that are looking to the U.S. that perhaps want to set up a presence in the U.S. or a manufacturing facility or U.S. headquarters and want to know where is the best place for them to locate,” says Tanenblatt, adding that Dentons is the only global law firm in Georgia.

Litigator Jim Manley has practiced law in Georgia for two decades, joining McKenna Long and Aldridge in 2001 and now with Dentons following the merger. “This platform has really accelerated my practice, and it’s been great for my clients, primarily Georgia companies that need legal work around the world,” he says, noting that in the last year alone he has exported legal work to partners in Columbia, Honduras, Mexico, Canada, Hong Kong, China, the U.K. and Germany.

He initially was concerned a merger would result in a higher rate for his clients, but that was not the case. “Because Dentons is in so many locations around the globe, it is very much tuned to having rates that fit whatever the local market is,” he says.

“Atlanta and Georgia really are participating in a big way in the global economy, between the airport here and the port in Savannah,” and efforts by Gov. Nathan Deal and the Department of Economic Development to attract companies like Mercedes-Benz and NCR, he adds.

“It really puts our law firm in a great position, situated where we are in the capital of the Southeastern United States,” Manley says. “I think this is a really bright future, and if the last year and a half are any indication, it was really a forward-thinking and smart move on behalf of the leadership of McKenna Long and Aldridge.”

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