This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. (February 2019)
|No. of attorneys||Approximately 4,200|
|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, Securities, Tax, Technology|
|Revenue||US$2.48 billion (2014)|
|Profit per equity partner||US$1.490 million (2014)|
|Date founded||First parent firm founded 1764; current organization dates to 2005 (by merger)|
|Company type||Swiss Verein (2 LLPs)|
DLA Piper is a multinational law firm with offices in more than 40 countries throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. In 2014, it had total revenues of US$2.48 billion and average profit per equity partner of US$1.490 million, and was the third largest law firm in the United States as measured by revenue.
DLA Piper was formed, in January 2005, by a merger between three law firms: San Diego-based Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich LLP, Baltimore-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 LLP (US). The two partnerships share a single global board and are structured as a Swiss Verein.
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 fourth largest law firm (by revenue) in the world.
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.  Lupton was the Lord Mayor of Leeds 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 -  was the sister of Thomas Ashton, 1st Baron Ashton of Hyde. Lupton is the great great granduncle of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
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."
Piper Rudnick and American predecessor firms
Piper Rudnick was the result of a 1999 merger between the Baltimore-based Piper & Marbury and Chicago-based Rudnick & Wolfe. At the time, the merger was the largest law firm merger in history. The combined firm was known as Piper Marbury Rudnick & Wolfe LLP until April 2002, when the firm shortened its name to Piper Rudnick LLP.
Piper Rudnick acquired the Washington, D.C. based lobbying firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand in September 2002.
2005 to 2010
In July 2004, UK-based law firm DLA LLP and Baltimore-based law firm Piper Rudnick announced their intention to merge on 1 January 2005. DLA had been the result of a mid-1990s merger between three UK firms, Dibb Lupton Broomhead, Alsop Stevens, and Wilkinson Kimbers.
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.
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. The merger became effective on 1 January 2005 and the new firm was named DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary. The merger was structured in the form of two limited liability partnerships, DLA Piper International LLP, and DLA Piper US LLP (since renamed to DLA Piper LLP (US)), which share a single management board but are not financially integrated.
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. In December 2005 DLA Piper opened an office in Beijing, having recruited a team of lawyers from the Beijing office of Coudert Brothers.
In January 2006, DLA Piper opened its first office in the Middle East, in Dubai. 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. DLA Piper merged with its Norway-based alliance firm DLA Nordic in the same month, 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.
2010 to present
In February 2010, DLA Piper formed an alliance with the Turkish law firm Yüksel Karkın Küçük until 2014. In March 2010 DLA Piper formed an alliance with the Brazil-based law firm Campos Mello Advogados.
In January 2011, DLA Piper and DLA Phillips Fox announced their intention to merge. 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. Later in the same month DLA Phillips Fox's former New Zealand-based offices separated to form an independent firm. DLA Piper formed an alliance with Venezuela-based law firm InterJuris Abogados in February 2011, which subsequently renamed as DLA Interjuris. In 2016, the Venezuelan firm exited the alliance with DLA Piper and reverted to operating under the name of InterJuris Abogados.
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.
On 13 October 2015, DLA Piper announced the opening of an office in Casablanca in Morocco.
On 1 November 2016, DLA Piper (Canada) LLP combined with Dimock Stratton LLP and will operate under the DLA Piper name.
An office opened in Johannesburg in January 2016.
The Danish firm LETT and the Portuguese firm ABBC joined DLA Piper in March 2017 which made DLA Piper the largest law firm in the Nordic region, with offices in Aarhus, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo and Stockholm (DLA Piper has no offices in Iceland).
In late June 2017, The New York Times reported the firm had been hit in the ransomware cyberattack which infected their network. No information was compromised or lost. As of June 2017, the law firm was struggling to recover from "vicious computer attacks" from the week before.
In July 2018, DLA Piper formed an alliance with the Argentine-based law firm Cabanellas Etchebarne Kelly, founded in 1997. The new local firm was named DLA Piper Argentina.
DLA Piper was the twelfth-largest donor to President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign. 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. By comparison, during that same period Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld donated $2.56 million, 66% to Democrats, while oil conglomerate ExxonMobil donated $2.66 million, 88% to Republicans. Since 1990, DLA Piper has contributed $16.97 million to federal campaigns, and spent over $1 million on lobbying since 2002.
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. Zuckerberg and Facebook responded that Ceglia had hired Zuckerberg to work on an unrelated site, but 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." 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." The suit was later dismissed.
Notable attorneys, advisors and staff
- José María Aznar, former Prime Minister of Spain, has been Senior Adviser to DLA Piper’s Global Board since 2013
- James Blanchard, former Governor of Michigan and former U.S. Ambassador to Canada, has been partner since 1996
- Michael Castle, former Governor of Delaware, has been a partner at DLA Piper since 2011.
- Saxby Chambliss, former US Senator, has been partner since 2015
- Bart Chilton, former US Commodity Futures Trading Commissioner, was senior policy adviser from 2014 to 2017
- Timothy Clement-Jones, Baron Clement-Jones, Liberal Democrat Peer and former spokesman for the Creative Industries in the House of Lords
- Douglas Emhoff, attorney, Second Gentleman of the United States and spouse of Vice President Kamala Harris
- Sir Nigel Knowles was managing partner from 1996 to 2015 and global co-chairman from 2015 to 2016.
- Ray LaHood, former secretary of the Department of Transportation, has been Senior Policy Adviser since 2014
- Former US Senator George Mitchell was DLA Piper's chairman between 2003 and 2009 As of 2012, he is chairman emeritus.
- Dick Armey, former U.S. Representative from Texas' 26th congressional district (1985–2003) and House Majority Leader (1995–2003)
- Rudi M. Brewster, former judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California
- Peter Bynoe, attorney and businessman who co-owned the Denver Nuggets
- Tom Daschle, former US Senator and US Senate Majority Leader,; policy adviser at DLA Piper, from December 2009 to October 2014.
- Steven J. Davis, earth system scientist at the University of California, Irvine
- Jared Genser, international human rights attorney
- Miriam González Durántez, partner at DLA Piper, from 2006 to 2011; spouse of former deputy prime minister of the United Kingdom, Nick Clegg
- A. B. Krongard, former executive director of the Central Intelligence Agency and former chairman and CEO of Alex. Brown & Sons
- Jonathan Lisle, British D.J.
- Mel Martinez, partner and lobbyist for DLA Piper, after retiring as a U.S. Senator from Florida, during 2009 to 2010; Florida chairman for J.P. Morgan Chase & Co; co-chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center
- Harry Cummings McPherson Jr., author, attorney and policymaker who served as counsel and special counsel to President Lyndon B. Johnson, from 1965 to 1969, and as his chief speechwriter, from 1966 to 1969
- Paul Victor Niemeyer, judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and a former judge of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland
- Thomas C. Wheeler, judge of the United States Court of Federal Claims
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...the Lupton family (more particularly, probably, Sir Charles Lupton, Lord Mayor in 1915)...
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DLA Piper has become the biggest law firm in the world by revenue, knocking its rival Baker & McKenzie off the top spot, according to new rankings
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