DLA Piper

DLA Piper
No. of attorneys Approximately 4,200[1]
Major practice areas Arbitration, Banking, Competition and Trade, Corporate Crime, Corporate Finance, Employment, Energy, Government Affairs, Hospitality and Leisure, Insurance, Intellectual Property, Litigation, Mergers and Acquisitions, Pensions, Private Equity, Real Estate, Restructuring, Tax, Technology
Key people Roger Meltzer (Global Co-Chairman)
Juan Picón (Global Co-Chairman)
Simon Levine (Joint CEO)
Cameron Jay Rains (Joint CEO)
Revenue US$2.48 billion (2014)[2]
Profit per equity partner US$1.490 million (2014)[2]
Date founded 2005 (by merger)[3]
Company type Swiss Verein (2 LLPs)

DLA Piper is a multinational law firm located in more than 30 countries throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.[1] In 2014 it had total revenues of US$2.48 billion and average profit per equity partner of US$1.490 million,[2] and was the third largest law firm in the United States as measured by revenue.[4]

DLA Piper was formed in January 2005 by a merger between three law firms: San Diego-based Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich LLP, Chicago-based Piper Rudnick LLP and United Kingdom-based DLA LLP. It is composed of two partnerships, the United Kingdom-based DLA Piper International LLP and the United States-based DLA Piper US LLP. The two partnerships share a single global board and are structured as a Swiss Verein.[5]


DLA Piper's origins can be traced back to Thomas Townend Dibb (1807–1875) and Sir Charles Lupton OBE (1855–1935).[6][7][8]

In the reception foyer of DLA Piper (Leeds office) a Victorian bust of Thomas Townend Dibb is displayed as the founder of the firm. He was born in Leeds, in 1807, the son of a physician. He was educated at Leeds Grammar School and qualified in 1829. He then became a partner of Atkinson Bolland & Atkinson, a well established practice at that time and with record of its existence from 1764. DLA can trace its Yorkshire roots back to 1764, when the firm of Barnard & Bolland was established in Leeds. The newly qualified Thomas Dibb became a partner at Barnard & Bolland and added his name in 1829. The three-letter abbreviation used by the firm today - DLA - conceals a complex history of consolidation and name changes. It picked up Lupton, from Nelson Eddison & Lupton in 1920. The firm merged with Broomhead of Sheffield in 1988. The name of the firm as Dibb Lupton & Co. survived intact until the merger with Broomheads of Sheffield in 1988. Following the link with Alsop Wilkinson in 1996, the firm was then known as Dibb Lupton Alsop until around the year 2000, when the name was shortened to DLA. It is now known internationally as DLA Piper, the largest law firm (by revenue) in the world.[9]

Sir Charles Lupton had been educated at Rugby school and then Trinity College, Cambridge. He qualified as a solicitor in 1881, practising mainly at Dibb & Co., later Dibb Lupton in Leeds and also Nelson Eddison & Lupton. [10] Lupton was the Lord Mayor of Leeds[11][12] in 1915–16. His portrait was painted by royal portraitist Sir Oswald Birley and his wife, Katharine Lupton (née Ashton) - a former Leeds Lady Mayoress - [13] was the sister of Thomas Ashton, 1st Baron Ashton of Hyde. Lupton is the great great granduncle of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.[14][15][16]

Lupton's son was Captain Charles Roger Lupton, the World War I flying ace.

Dibb had no children. The Yorkshire Obituary of June 1875 defines Dibb as "one of the most influential men in the borough, and for long period the firm, of which he in the course of time rose to be the chief, has had an influential and extensive practice."[17]

Piper Rudnick

Piper Rudnick was the result of a 1999 merger between the Baltimore-based Piper & Marbury and Chicago-based Rudnick & Wolfe.[18] At the time, the merger was the largest law firm merger in history.[19] The combined firm was known as Piper Marbury Rudnick & Wolfe LLP until April 2002, when the firm shortened its name to Piper Rudnick LLP.[19]

Piper Rudnick acquired the Washington, D.C. based lobbying firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand in September 2002.[20]

2005 to 2010

In July 2004 UK-based law firm DLA LLP and Chicago-based law firm Piper Rudnick announced their intention to merge on 1 January 2005.[21][22] DLA had been the result of a mid-1990s merger between three UK firms, Dibb Lupton Broomhead, Alsop Stevens, and Wilkinson Kimbers.[18]

Piper Rudnick agreed to merge with San Diego-based law firm Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich LLP in October 2004, forming a firm with around 1,300 lawyers and 20 offices across the United States.[18] In December 2004 DLA LLP, Gray Cary and Piper Rudnick, the latter two of which had yet to complete their merger, announced that the partners of each firm had approved a three-way merger.[23][24] The merger became effective on 1 January 2005 and the new firm was named DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary.[3] The merger was structured in the form of two limited liability partnerships, DLA Piper International LLP, and DLA Piper US LLP, which share a single management board but are not financially integrated.[5]

In July 2005 DLA Piper acquired EY Law's 87 lawyer operation in the Commonwealth of Independent States, including offices in Moscow and St Petersburg.[25] In December 2005 DLA Piper opened an office in Beijing, having recruited a team of lawyers from the Beijing office of Coudert Brothers.[26]

In January 2006 DLA Piper opened its first office in the Middle East, in Dubai.[27] The firm has since opened offices in Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Doha, Kuwait City, Manama, Muscat, Riyadh and Jeddah. On 1 September 2006 the firm shortened its name to DLA Piper.[28] DLA Piper merged with its Norway-based alliance firm DLA Nordic in the same month,[29] and formed an alliance with the Australia-based law firm Phillips Fox in November 2006, with Phillips Fox rebranding as DLA Phillips Fox at that time.[30][31][32]

DLA Piper opened offices in Munich, Germany and Warsaw, Poland in 2007.[33][34]

2010 to present

In February 2010 DLA Piper formed an alliance with the Turkish law firm Yüksel Karkın Küçük[35] until 2014.[36] In March 2010 DLA Piper formed an alliance with the Brazil-based law firm Campos Mello Advogados.[37]

In January 2011 DLA Piper and DLA Phillips Fox announced their intention to merge.[38][39] The merger was approved by partners of both firms in February and was completed on 1 May, when DLA Phillips Fox become part of DLA Piper International LLP.[40] Later in the same month DLA Phillips Fox's former New Zealand-based offices separated to form an independent firm.[41] DLA Piper formed an alliance with Venezuela-based law firm InterJuris Abogados in February 2011, which subsequently renamed as DLA Interjuris.[42] In 2016, the Venezuelan firm exited the alliance with DLA Piper and reverted to operating under the name of InterJuris Abogados.[43]

In February 2012 DLA Piper opened an office in Mexico City, having recruited a team from Thompson & Knight's office in the city.[42]

In January 2013 DLA Piper announced the closure of its Glasgow office[44] and the sale of its Manchester- and Sheffield-based defendant insurance practices to Hill Dickinson.[45]

Also in January 2013, DLA Piper opened an office in Seoul in South Korea.[46][47]

On 2 March 2015, DLA Phillips Fox New Zealand became DLA Piper New Zealand.

On 17 April 2015, Canadian law firm Davis LLP became DLA Piper (Canada) LLP.[48]

On 13 October 2015, DLA Piper announced the opening of an office in Casablanca in Morocco.[49]

On November 1, 2016, DLA Piper (Canada) LLP combined with Dimock Stratton LLP and will operate under the DLA Piper name.[50]

An office is due to open in Johannesburg in early 2016.


DLA Piper has over 80 offices in more than 30 countries across the Americas, Asia Pacific, Australasia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East:[51]

Political contributions

DLA Piper was the twelfth-largest donor to President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign.[52] According to the Center for Responsive Politics, DLA Piper was one of the top law firms contributing to federal candidates during the 2012 election cycle, donating $2.19 million, 73% to Democrats.[53] By comparison, during that same period Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld donated $2.56, 66% to Democrats,[53] while oil conglomerate ExxonMobil donated $2.66 million, 88% to Republicans.[54] Since 1990, DLA Piper has contributed $16.97 million to federal campaigns, and spent over $1 million on lobbying since 2002.[55]

As of 2014 it was the fifth largest donor to potential presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.


In 2010, DLA Piper represented Paul Ceglia in his claim that he hired Mark Zuckerberg to create a website that became Facebook and that, under the agreement, Ceglia was entitled to ownership of 84 percent of Facebook, then worth multiple billions of dollars.[56] Zuckerberg and Facebook responded that, while Ceglia had hired Zuckerberg to work on an unrelated site, Ceglia had fraudulently altered that contract to make it appear to cover Facebook. A DLA Piper attorney told the Wall Street Journal that, although he had not seen the original document, he had "absolutely 100% confidence that [Mr. Ceglia's] agreement is authentic."[57] Ceglia's document was later, in fact, found to be fraudulent and in 2014, Facebook and Zuckerberg sued DLA Piper and others, claiming Ceglia’s lawyers "knew or should have known that the [initial] lawsuit was a fraud."[58] The suit was later dismissed.[59][60]

Notable staff

Former US Senator George Mitchell was DLA Piper's chairman between 2003 and 2009.[61][62] As of 2012, he is Chairman Emeritus.[63]

Tom Daschle, a former US Senator and US Senate Majority Leader, was Policy Adviser at DLA Piper from December 2009[64] to October 2014.[65]

Miriam González Durántez, wife of former Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Nick Clegg, was a partner at DLA Piper from 2006 to 2011.[66]

Michael Castle, former Governor of Delaware, has been a partner at DLA Piper since 2011.[67]

Sir Nigel Knowles was Managing Partner from 1996 to 2015 and Global Co-Chairman from 2015 to 2016.[68] James Blanchard, former US Governor and former Ambassador to Canada, has been Partner since 1996.[69]

José María Aznar, former Prime Minister of Spain, has been Senior Adviser to DLA Piper’s Global Board since 2013.[70][71]

Ray LaHood, former secretary of the Department of Transportation, has been Senior Policy Adviser since 2014.[72]

Bart Chilton, former US Commodity Futures Trading Commissioner, has been Senior Policy Adviser since 2014.[73]

Saxby Chambliss, former US Senator, has been Partner since 2015.[74]


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External links

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