Over its 130-year history, King & Spalding
has branched far from its Southern roots to open offices across the
United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, giving Left Coast
and Yankee firms a run for their money. With stellar corporate and
litigation practices, the firm counts among its longtime clients
Atlanta-based Coca-Cola-a history of partnership evidenced by the
old-fashioned soda fountains found in K&S offices.
Momentous events of 1885: the roller coaster
was patented, Pasteur discovered the rabies vaccine, Lady Liberty
swanned into New York harbor, and Alex C. King and Jack J. Spalding
founded what eventually became Atlanta's largest law firm. Among
the firm's early matters was extensive service for the railroad
industry-a crucial factor in Atlanta's post-Civil War rebuilding.
And like true royalty, the firm was rich in connections-in 1918,
King's former colleague Woodrow Wilson appointed him U.S. Solicitor
General, and in the 1940s, Spalding's son Hughes forged many of the
firm's key alliances, including those with Coca-Cola and Trust
Company Bank. Expansion in the latter half of the 20th century
included development of a client base outside the Southeast in
areas like the auto and pharmaceutical industries. Defending
General Motors against the spate of lawsuits brought on by Ralph
Nader's activism in the 1960s helped to make the firm its name.
The firm's first expansion came in 1979 when
it opened a Washington, DC office to help clients with FDA matters.
Offices in New York and Houston followed. The 21st century saw more
expansion-fueled by client demand in the pharmaceutical,
biomedical, energy and high-technology sectors-and several offices
in California as well as overseas were established. King &
Spalding's most recent office openings include Paris, where it
boasts an international arbitration practice specializing in civil
engineering, construction, oil, gas and energy, telecommunications
and information and technology; Geneva, where the firm mainly
represents clients in World Trade Organization matters; Singapore,
furthering the firm's international arbitration practice; an office
in Moscow that works closely with the firm's Paris and London
offices and further expands its international energy practice; and
its latest addition in 2015: Tokyo.
With its real estate capital markets practice
now based in New York City, the aspirations of the firm's capital
transactions and real estate group-which encompasses practices in
Atlanta, Houston, London, New York, Charlotte, and Frankfurt-are
clear. The Frankfurt base is also driven by the firm's real estate
capital markets, finance, corporate and tax practices and
complements its longstanding German practice based in New York
City. But that's not all the New York office is known for-lawyers
in M&A, finance, financial restructuring, business litigation,
and professional services liability practices, as well as a large
portion of the firm's intellectual property group, work out of New
K&S was one of the first U.S. firms to
grasp the potential of Middle Eastern markets. The firm has
determinedly built up its Islamic finance capabilities and
continues to establish offices in the region. In January 2007, the
firm opened shop in Dubai, staffing the new venture with lawyers
from its Atlanta, London, New York and Houston offices, as well as
associates gleaned from the Dubai arm of rival Baker Botts.
Primarily concentrating on Islamic finance, private equity, real
estate and energy law, the Dubai office has already grown into one
of the largest offices of any U.S. firm in the Middle East. In
April 2007, King & Spalding opened in Riyadh and in June 2008,
the firm launched in Abu Dhabi.
King & Spalding has one of the largest
health care law practices in the United States and is a perennial
on the Chambers USA listing of top firms serving the
industry. It counts as partners three past presidents of the
American Health Lawyers Association, and the firm sponsors an
annual forum on health law and policy.