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World's largest law firm Dentons to open Dublin office
Dentons' Dublin managing partner Eavan Saunders

08 Jan 2020 / corporate law Print

World's largest law firm Dentons opens Dublin office

The world's largest law firm Dentons is to open an Irish office.

Irish lawyers Eavan Saunders and Peter O'Brien will be founders at the Dublin office, and Eavan will become managing partner.

Expansion plans

As part of its expansion plans, Dentons will be fully operational in Dublin from Q2 and intends to grow the office quickly.

Respected corporate lawyer Eavan Saunders was previously a senior partner at William Fry, as well as at global law firm Ashurst.

New chairman Peter O’Brien has been a senior finance and capital markets partner at Matheson, acting for a range of domestic and international financial institutions, and has over 20 years’ experience advising on all aspects of banking and finance-related transactions.

Eavan joins Dentons with immediate effect and Peter will be joining shortly.


Dentons' Dublin office will initially focus on transactional work for clients, particularly in the financial services, real-estate, energy, infrastructure, and technology sectors – areas where Dentons has market-leading expertise globally.

"Dentons can offer Irish companies with international ambitions the scale, quality and in-depth sector specialisation that no other law firm in Dublin can match," says Eavan Saunders.

Dentons is one of the leading global law firms in Britain and is a top-ten international law firm on the European continent. It has offices in 33 US cities, including nine of the ten largest markets in the US.

It is also the largest law firm in China, and has a wide international footprint across Asia and Australia.


“Dentons is the only pan-Latin American law firm, and has ambitions to be the leading pan-African law firm.

“As Dentons we can now offer the Irish business community access to the largest pool of legal talent in the world," Saunders said this morning.

"Dublin is a leading offshore funds centre, a global centre of aviation finance, and nine out of ten of the world's largest tech companies have their European headquarters in the city," said Elliott Portnoy, global CEO of Dentons.

"Dentons' strategy is to be in all of the places our clients do business, providing them with high-quality lawyers who are also established leaders in their markets. We are delighted to have attracted a partner of Eavan's calibre to lead our Dublin office.


“Ireland is a priority market for many of our clients. However, many of the strongest firms in Ireland rely on referrals from firms outside of London.  That is why we are opening our own office, rather than combining with another firm at this time."  

"Our vision is to always be the law firm of the future," said the firm’s global chairman Joe Andrew.

"We look forward to working with Eavan and Peter in bringing Dentons' global capabilities and innovative approach to client service to the Irish legal market, while offering ambitious Irish lawyers some of the profession's best learning and development opportunities."

10,000 lawyers

Dentons gives clients access to over 10,000 lawyers in 181 locations across 73 countries. In 2019, the firm won 270 awards.

"Eavan and Peter have very impressive reputations in the Irish market, having advised blue-chip domestic and international clients on some of their most important corporate and finance transactions in recent years," said Jeremy Cohen, CEO for Dentons' UK and Middle East region.

"Our aim is to build an elite team that can offer the highest quality advice, combined with unrivalled international reach.

Search for outstanding legal talent

“Over the next few months, we will be looking to hire further outstanding legal talent as we develop our plans to quickly reach full service capability.

“This is a really exciting opportunity for up-and-coming Irish lawyers with an international mind-set," Cohen said.

Dentons was founded 2013 after a merger of SNR Denton, based in London and Washington and Canada’s Fraser Milner Casgrain and Salans, which was founded in Paris. It subsequently merged with Beijing-based Dacheng in late 2015, becoming the largest law firm in the world.

Several UK-based law firms have set up shop in Dublin in the wake of the Brexit vote in June 2016. Among them are Pinsent Masons, DLA Piper and Simmons & Simmons, all based in London, as well as US-origin firms Tully Rinckey and Covington & Burling.

The Law Society has seen a big increase in England and Wales lawyers enrolling in Ireland since the Brexit vote.


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