In 2012, Jessica Pearson merged Pearson Hardman with Darby International after Daniel Hardman had crippled the firm, making it vulnerable to other law firms. As a result of the merger, Darby owned 51% of the firm, as opposed to Jessica's 49%, which made Darby the managing partner. The partnership was dissolved following the end of the Hessington Oil murder trial. Darby was forced to forfeit his license to practice law in the United States in order to cut a deal with prosecutor Cameron Dennis to spare Ava and pursue Stephen Huntley instead. This turned out to be a plan set up by Jessica Pearson in order to win back control of her law firm. Darby assigned Dana Scott to lead the dissolution negotiation. Following the dissolution of the merger, Darby International was reinstated and restored, headquartered in London. It was revealed that Darby's long-running relationship with Ava Hessington was due to him being her father's former attorney and lover.