Denton International adds Hungarian office to group

Denton Wilde Sapte's global alliance Denton International has added a Hungarian presence to the group.

Budapest firm Sándor Bihary Szegedi &Szent-Ivány joins Denton International on 3 July.

The eight-partner firm has a referral agreement with Denton International's Austrian firm Lambert Grohmann Stolitzka Röhsner.

Discussions with the firm started 12 months ago after the Austrian practice recommended approaching the Budapest practice.

Executive director for Denton International John Griffiths-Jones, who led the negotiations, says: “They have been referring work to each other for the last eight to 10 years so it was a logical one to pick up and run with.”

Denton Wilde joins UK heavyweights Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy and Cameron McKenna in establishing a presence in Hungary.

And earlier this month, PricewaterhouseCoopers' legal arm Landwell made its first foray into the market by hooking up with local firm Dezso Reti & Antall (The Lawyer, 12 June).

Griffiths-Jones says: “It is a very important market for our Austrian partners, who can see increasing economic integration in that region.

“Hungary will be knocking at the door of the European Union in the not too distant future. As far as London is concerned, there is interest in terms of project and infrastructure work.”

Denton International consists of firms in the UK, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Spain and Hungary, and a presence in France through Denton Sàles Vincent & Thomas.

Griffiths-Jones confirms that the group is in discussions to add firms in Italy and The Netherlands to the alliance.

But he adds: “We have discussions and expectations under way in both of these markets but it is not easy. The number of eligible firms that would meet our expectations is extremely limited.”

According to Griffiths-Jones organic growth is therefore an alternative way of establishing operations, although nothing has yet been finalised.

But Denton Wilde eventually hopes to merge the firms in the alliance in the next two years.

The Hungarian alliance is Denton Wilde's second European move this month. It recently consolidated its Paris presence through a merger with alliance partner Sàles Vincent & Associés and the bulk of Deloitte & Touche's Paris office, Thomas & Associés (The Lawyer, 5 June).