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Overview

Introduction

As a global giant, Dentons provides a plethora of opportunities for associates to grow in their legal careers. Strong mentorship complements early responsibility, and many associates envision long-term careers at the firm. More than 12,000 lawyers at Dentons work in a grand total of 40 practice areas across 24 different sectors, such as energy, financial institutions, government, life sciences and health care, manufacturing, private equity, real estate, technology, and transportation.

Firm Stats


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Total No. Attorneys (2021)


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Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100...

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No. of Summer Associates (2021)



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Base Salary

Salary not disclosed....


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No. of U.S. Offices



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No. of International Offices

Vault Verdict

Grades and personality are crucial for landing a spot at Dentons. Colleagues are friendly with one another, but the social scene tends to be more work-day than after-hours focused. In many ways, the firm is transparent, but associates feel there is not enough insight into compensation. Some associates think the 2,000-hour billable requirement is high, but most are busy enough that they meet it without issue. Associates appreciate the flexibility they have in when and where they get work done. The biggest gripe is compensation—it’s black box, and bonuses are reportedly below market, contingent on billables, and aren’t paid out as early as associates would like. Associates get quality work and are given significant trust to take on responsibility at an early stage. The firm provides...

About the Firm

Borne of a history of combinations, Dentons is the Pac-Man of law firms. The rapid growth began in 2010, when Chicago’s Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal—known for its real estate prowess—and U.K.-based Denton Wilde Sapte joined forces to create SNR Denton. Soon after launching, SNR Denton set its sights on Europe and Canada, courting Salans Hertzfeld & Heilbronn and Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP (FMC). The March 2013 mega-combination of these three firms—SNR Denton, Salans and FMC—created Dentons. The new law firm was immediately one of the world’s largest with locations in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., continental Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. But the firm wasn’t done. In January 2015, the partners of Dentons and 大成 (pronounced Da-CHUNG)—the largest law firm in China—announced the approval of an historic combination between the...

Associate Reviews


  • “Lawyers and staff are friendly and socialize easily. Most attorneys are friendly and glad to socialize together, but it seems like a lot of people have their own things going on outside of work.”
  • “I can mostly speak to my specific office at the firm. It is a very collegial environment (socially, politically, and professionally), with most attorneys getting along well and socializing when possible at work. There is not much socializing after hours. Occasionally, attorneys will go out to lunch together. ...”
  • “Pre-COVID, we often went to lunch and attended other social events together. It is an open-door culture and easy to talk and mingle with all attorneys. Interactions during COVID have been primarily virtual or over the phone but still meaningful.”
  • “Most colleagues are understanding and sociable. Pre-COVID, there were a few social events sponsored every year and there was usually good turn out and camaraderie among everyone. Day-to-day, most people stay in their offices and focused on work but will go about every so often to check in with each other. I feel comfortable stopping in to colleagues' offices to chat and also going out for lunches.”
  • “Because of the ratio of partners to associates, I get to interact with partners multiple times on a daily basis. The partners are always respectful and really value mentoring and taking the time to teach young associates. The firm is somewhat transparent in large decisions (e.g., special bonuses), but is not transparent at all with respect to annual salary increases and bonuses.”
  • “Relationship between associates and partners is great. Partners are very hands-on (including senior partners). They have patience to teach, mark up drafts, and ask you to incorporate comments so you can learn. They give you fair deadlines to deliver work without the unnecessary pressure of working on weekends when you don't need to.”
  • “The firm is extremely transparent about the path to partnership, finances, and performance reviews. Within the first few months of starting at the firm, professional development held trainings on each of these areas for new associates. [A] formal review process is annual, but there is a mid-year check in for new associates, and there's a procedure for getting immediate feedback if desired. …”
  • “I think our firm has improved this year in terms of financial transparency. Firm leadership held quarterly meetings with all members to discuss firm financial performance.”
  • “I think the hours budget is fair, and I generally have enough work to stay busy without feeling overworked. I appreciate the flexibility in when and where I work.”
  • “Minimum 2,000 hourly requirement, though it's easy to hit given how busy most practice areas usually are (particularly real estate). A typical busy associate probably bills in the 2,100-2,200 range. Total flexibility in when and where hours are worked—no facetime requirements.”
  • “I always have more than enough work—work is not always evenly distributed, but that is often a factor of building strong relationships with various sources of work, trust, etc.”
  • “Nothing really to complain about. Hours are still BigLaw hours, but are pretty steady and the firm balances helping you find work when you are low without pressuring to constantly bill.”
  • “Compensation scale is not lockstep, and the system for determining compensation and bonuses is not transparent enough to provide adequate guidance. The compensation scale [is] based on an October-September year, but not having raises become effective until following reviews in February of the following year and bonuses payable in April is not ideal.”
  • “The firm's black box compensation system is not ideal. Associates in smaller markets (e.g., St. Louis) have the same billable-hour requirements but lower salaries, even though we do work for clients outside of our markets, including in NYC, Chicago, etc. where our billable rates are increased to that market. The lack of market-based bonuses (e.g., COVID bonuses) is unfortunate.”
  • “Bonuses are below market.”
  • “Associates are only eligible for additional compensation if they meet the billable-hour requirement.”
  • “One of the highlights of Dentons is that associates are given substantive work from the get-go. I am completely satisfied with the quality of work I'm given.”
  • “I get a wide range of work assignments. On smaller transactions, I am able to handle the primary drafting and negotiation of deal documents. On larger transactions, because of my experience, I am able to fill roles as needed, from primarily providing closing support to working primarily on deal documents and managing junior attorneys (depending on staffing needs).”
  • “I spend most of my time on substantive work, including drafting dispositive motions and preparing for depositions. There is always doc review to be done, but as a junior associate, I have also had the opportunity to take depositions and argue motions.”
  • “Good things come to those who ask and demonstrate their ability to work hard. That is true with most things in life, and is certainly true at Dentons. Work hard, demonstrate ability, and you will be rewarded with high-quality, substantive assignments at a junior level. Partners definitely reward initiative and willingness to take and apply constructive feedback.”
  • “Our firm had a seamless transition to allowing all attorneys to work from home—they supported us by sending our office computers and phones, routinely send packages with printed documents upon request, and have provided each attorney with a $500 technology budget to assist in bolstering their home technology capabilities.”
  • “It took some time, but we are finally in a place where our technology is able to handle working remotely in a more efficient manner.”
  • “The firm has increased its server strength, so no issues working remotely. It has also given both associates and business staff the option of using firm resources to set up a home office if necessary.”
  • “I feel the firm is pretty well technologically advanced. There are plenty of subscriptions and tools to help make my life a lot easier.”
  • “The has really placed great emphasis on attorney wellness in recent years and has made many programs available prior to, and in response to, the COVID-19 pandemic.”
  • “The Dentons U.S. ‘Wellness for Life’ program offers educational webinars, interactive wellness chats, financial well-being seminars, emotional wellness, chair desk yoga classes, and offers [the] free Headspace app. All employees in our office have access to one-on-one sessions with a wellness coach a couple times a week.”
  • “The firm offers weekly Zoom ‘meditation’ sessions, and they have rolled out different wellness seminars and trainings throughout the pandemic. There is counseling and a health program offered, as well. I think I've only attended one wellness seminar, because it counted for one billable/credible hour, but I would like to attend some of the other programs, as well.”
  • “There are formal programs in place, but the most valuable mentorship [is through] informal relationships with partners, especially those that have progressed through the associate ranks at Dentons or one of its predecessor firms.”
  • “We have occasional trainings, but most of the learning is hands on. The firm has a good mentorship program where associates are paired up with certain shareholders. I've also found other mentors within the firm by working closely with shareholders.”
  • “The firm often provides training in time management, writing, professionalism, etc., and associates do have access to a near unlimited variety of free CLEs.”
  • “The firm matches each associate with at least one mentor. The mentor helps answer the associate's questions, provides guidance on obtaining billable hours and promoting one's self in the firm, and acts as a sounding board for the associate.”
  • “Promotion to partnership is realistic within my firm, and is the expectation of most associates. Our firm has a very transparent partnership process, which is encouraging to associates.”
  • “Strong track record of promoting internally. Lots of good exits for attorneys who choose to leave.”
  • “Making partner is more difficult in litigation than in some other practice groups within the firm, but it is achievable for those willing to dedicate themselves to it. Counsel roles are available for senior associates who do not transition to partnership.”
  • “Although the partnership process isn't transparent like the compensation process, it does seem very plausible to make partner here, and many senior associates transition to partner. Additionally, I have seen many senior associates who did not want to become a partner smoothly transition to in-house roles or government roles. However, internally there aren't many other options than partner once you get to a certain point.”
  • “My firm is very committed to pro bono work. Associates are encouraged to seek out and find pro bono work, and the firm also has larger firmwide pro bono projects that it takes on.”
  • “Pro bono work is promoted and counts as creditable hours. I have worked with Atlanta Volunteers Lawyers Foundation and was also able to get pro bono work in my community approved for credit.”
  • “I get to do all the pro bono work I want to. I even got to spend a week in Dilley, Texas advising women and children seeking asylum who ICE had essentially imprisoned.”
  • “Pro bono work is generally well supported, and the firm uses email and the Paladin platform to promote and assign pro bono work. Pro bono hours are definitely expected to take a back seat to billable work, though, and only your first 100 hours of pro bono work are automatically credited without approval. It is not difficult to get additional hours approved if necessary, but it is a hurdle to doing any significant work.”
  • “The firm has made a huge emphasis on diversity and inclusion. It has formed groups throughout the firm to support this initiative as well as hired a head of diversity and inclusion and appointed diversity and inclusion chairs in each practice group. This ensures work is spread around evenly and everyone is supported. …”
  • “The firm is making a strong effort to improve its D&I record, and that is certainly appreciated. The firm could do better with recruitment and retention of diverse associates. The Executive Mentoring program for African-American associates has been a success. The firm should consider similar programs for other diverse groups at the firm. The firm offers billable credit for diversity-related work and activities.”
  • “Yes, there is billable credit for a significant number of diversity-related work/activities. There are strong advocates for diverse hiring and committees and affinity groups.”

Diversity at Dentons

"Commitment to diversity and inclusion is a key element of Dentons' strategic plan, and central to who we are and what we do. We believe that diversity and inclusion are essential to the success and strength of our Firm and the quality of our advice to, and representation of, our clients. We are committed to being the leader in diversity and inclusion within our Firm, the legal profession and the communities we serve. We have established a cross-office, cross-disciplinary Diversity and Inclusion Committee whose primary focus is..."

Getting Hired Here


  • “We are looking for diverse, intelligent, and hard-working associates. One indicator of intelligence and work ethic is academic success, but Dentons also looks to other life experiences to ensure we have quality candidates.”
  • “No particular ‘feeder schools’; they have high standards for where candidates attended law school and their grades. Journal experience is preferred.”
  • “Someone well rounded and typically from local regional schools. We do have interview guidelines that are general and informal.”
  • “School and grades are important. So is clerkship and prior work experience, as well as personality. …”
  • “Our interviews are fairly conversational and usually start with ‘tell us a bit about yourself.’ If attorneys have specific questions about the resume they will ask them; otherwise, it's just wherever the conversation leads. Especially towards the end of the interview process, the attorneys are trying to gauge whether the personality is a right ‘fit,’ whether there are red flags, etc.”
  • “We want to know their ‘why.’ Why do they want to be lawyers, why did they choose their law school, why are they interested in Dentons, and why do they want to be in the particular markets in which they are applying?”
  • “I like to ask about professional relationships and mentorships. I love seeing candidates who have strong mentors and peer relationships. Trust is important, and I want to see a good team player. We also ask all the typical behavioral questions, etc.”
  • “We ask about work experience, how much research you've done on our practice group, how you've responded to a difficult assignment, and what your process looked like. In general, my group seems to want to have a conversation more than a Q&A.”
  • “They made it easy to join the firm. They really went out of their way to ensure that my joining the firm was smooth. And it was!”
  • “The lack of pro-rated hours during the lateral integration process should be changed. An attorney cannot be expected to bill for a full day from day one of the job (when he/she is going through Dentons's orientation).”
  • “The firm offers an onboarding mentor to help guide you through the logistics and systems of the firm.”