Over its 127-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; and its
latest addition: Moscow.
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.
King & Spalding served as international counsel to the project
company, Adjaristsqali Georgia LLC (AGL), during the development,
construction and US$ 250 million debt financing of the landmark,
187 megawatt Shuakhevi Hydropower Project in Georgia (the former
Soviet Republic), the first power project that will export
electricity from Georgia to Turkey, financed on a limited-recourse
basis. The Asia Development Bank, the European Bank for
Reconstruction and Development and the International Finance
Corporation made available first disbursement of their loan
facilities for this project on April 5, 2015.
International Trade Team of the Year
King & Spalding's International Trade practice was named 2015's
International Trade Team of the Year by Chambers USA in an
awards ceremony in New York City on May 19. The annual Chambers
USA Awards for Excellence "shine a spotlight on the firms and
individuals that have excelled above all others in the U.S. legal
market over the period 2014-15," according to the publication.
Go Unanimous or Go Home
King & Spalding partner Jeffrey S. Bucholtz won a significant
victory in the U.S. Supreme Court on February 24, 2014 in
Walden v. Fiore. King & Spalding represented a U.S.
Drug Enforcement agent, obtaining from the Supreme Court a
unanimous reversal of the Ninth Circuit in an opinion that
reaffirms and clarifies important due process limits on personal
Practices of the Year and a Global
In Law360's 2015 survey of the top practice groups in the
world (January 2105) King & Spalding was identified as a
"Practice of the Year" in three areas of the law: energy, product
liability and real estate, based on the significance, size,
complexity and number of cases won and deals completed.
Law360 also once again included the firm in its annual Top
20 Global Firms in 2014.
Did You Say $750 Million?
King & Spalding won a total of more than $750 million in
damages and interest in arbitrations for two clients against the
Republic of Kazakhstan and Romania, in December 2013 and January
2014, respectively. The award against Kazakhstan is the largest
award under the Energy Charter Treaty and the third-largest treaty
arbitration award in history. The Romania award is among the ten
largest treaty arbitration awards on record.
A Pretty Powerful Project
King & Spalding advised Sasol Chemicals (USA) LLC in the
development of an engineering, procurement and construction
management contract with Fluor and Technip for a world-scale
petrochemical complex near Lake Charles, Louisiana. King &
Spalding also is advising Sasol on a suite of local and
international engineering and construction contracts for the
project. The $8.1 billion project will include a 1.5
million-tons-per-year ethane cracker and six downstream derivatives
units. The project is expected to be ready for commercial operation