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United States : Industry focus
Within Energy: litigation, King & Spalding LLP is a first tier firm,
King & Spalding LLP provides ‘excellent service with sound advice’ through its ‘strong, well diversified, and refreshing’ team, which has notable expertise in international arbitrations, particularly those involving bilateral investment treaties. It recently represented Chevron in one of the largest ever international arbitrations, in which it filed against Ecuador alleging breaches of settlement and release agreements relating to environmental remediation claims for historic petroleum production activities and a proposed $27bn judgment against Chevron in an Ecuadorian court. The firm also made representations under the US-Ecuador bilateral investment treaty for claims of due process and procedural violations by Ecuador in initial proceedings. The tribunal granted Chevron’s interim request for Ecuador to take all necessary measures to prevent enforcement of an Ecuadorian order. The team is currently challenging the Ecuadorian proceedings in The Hague and in parallel domestic proceedings relating to the enforceability of the Ecuadorian judgment. It is also defending Chevron in numerous state and federal court cases, most of which form part of an MDL by plaintiffs seeking multimillion-dollar treatment and punitive damages alleging water contamination by the gasoline additive MTBE. Other clients include Anadarko, ConocoPhillips, Edison Mission Company, Shell Oil, Occidental Petroleum, and Halliburton. Managing partner and practice head Robert Meadows is a leading trial lawyer and the persistent Penn Huston is also recommended. Reagan Simpson left the firm.
Within Energy: regulatory, King & Spalding LLP is a second tier firm,
King & Spalding LLP’s ‘top-notch’ team has ‘in-depth industry knowledge’ and its advice is ‘always on target’. Its primary focus is in the electricity space, and it acts extensively for many independent power producers in all US electric power markets, including new clients Exelon Generation Company, TC Ravenswood, and Advanced Power Services NA. It advises on a wide range of regulatory issues, including the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) reliability standards, and obtaining and maintaining exempt wholesale generator status. In the oil and gas space, clients include Chevron and BP American Production Company in regulatory matters relating to pipelines, exploration and production. The team is representing the Electric Power Supply Association in leading opposition to FERC’s mandate that ISOs and RTOs pay demand resources full locational marginal prices without offset for avoided purchase costs. FERC denied a rehearing and the matter is to proceed to the Court of Appeals on jurisdictional grounds. It is also representing Calpine, as well as various subsidiaries and affiliates of Dynegy, GenOn, NRG and Tenska, in judicial review proceedings before the DC Circuit Court of Appeals challenging FERC orders claiming jurisdiction over generators’ self-supply of station power in the California Independent System Operator Corporation market, which thereby pre-empts states from imposing retail charges under tariff provisions. If the challenge is successful, it would have significant implications for independent suppliers countrywide. Notably, the team is also representing USPowerGen, NRG Energy and TC Ravenswood in challenging the New York ISO’s implementation of buyer-side market power mitigation mechanisms, the outcome of which may decide whether USPowerGen is forced to file for bankruptcy. Neil Levy, who co-chairs the global energy practice, is ‘top-rate’ and trusted by clients. David Tewksbury is ‘very creative and has an expansive knowledge of FERC’, and Bruce Richardson is ‘excellent’.
Within Energy: renewable/alternative, tier 4
King & Spalding LLP provides an ‘excellent, commercially savvy’ service on ethanol, biofuel, solar, biogas, wind, geothermal and hydropower projects and transactions, as well as biomass-related projects such as waste-to-energy and waste-to-fuels projects. The team variously advised Edison Mission Energy on its acquisition of a renewables company, the restructuring of a 150MW wind farm development, the acquisition of an option to develop a 161 MW wind farm, and the proposed acquisition of a third site, all in Texas. It represented Forbes Energy in its investment in early-stage ethanol production and power generation facilities in the Dominican Republic, Morocco and Ecuador. It also represented an energy company during the development of a 230MW biomass power and gasification facility for the production of synthetic diesel, which was mandated by the US military. The team is also acting for Apex Compressed Air Energy Storage in the development of a compressed air energy storage facility in the US, which will be one of only three such facilities in the world. Ken Culotta, Ned Crady and Peter Oxman are recommended.
Within Energy: transactions, King & Spalding LLP is a third tier firm,
King & Spalding LLP is best known for representing independent power producers on the sale or purchase of power generation assets, financings of public utilities and power projects, and private equity investments in and acquisitions of power plants or renewables projects. The team has been acting extensively for key client LS Power, including on the $381m acquisition of interests in three power plants in New England and the Mid-Atlantic region from subsidiaries of PPL; the $355m sale of a power plant in New England to a subsidiary of Capital Power (US) Holdings; the sale of two power plants in the Southwest to Starwest Generation; an investment in Twin Eagle Resource Management; and, most recently, the $1.05bn acquisition of four power plants from NextEra. The team represented lead arrangers Barclays Capital and RBS Securities, and JPMorgan Chase as administrative agent, regarding a $2bn senior credit facility for Oncor Electricity Delivery Company, Texas’ largest regulated electricity delivery business. Notably, the team also represents Anadarko on all aspects of its multibillion-dollar Mozambique liquid natural gas export project. The global energy practice is co-chaired by Neil Levy in Washington DC and Philip Weems in New York.
Within Environment: litigation, tier 4
King & Spalding LLP is ‘extremely competitive on fees and areas of expertise’. It handles a wide range of environmental litigation, including defense of government enforcement actions, criminal environmental prosecutions, toxic tort claims and citizen suits. It also represents corporations with environmental coverage actions against insurance companies seeking indemnification of remediation costs. Recent work includes continued representation of the City of Atlanta and other local governments in the defense of multiple cases threatening drinking water supplies to the region; the States of Alabama and Florida contend that the State of Georgia is taking more than its fair share of the water used to supply the tri-state area. Other clients include Shell, the US Chamber of Commerce, Portland Cement and Chevron. Atlanta-based Patricia Barmeyer, Washington DC-based Katherine Rhyne and Carol Wood in Houston head the practice, which expanded with the hire of two new partners into its San Francisco office, including Gennaro Filice. Les Oakes and Rahul Patel are recommended.
Within Healthcare: service providers, King & Spalding LLP is a third tier firm,
King & Spalding LLP has ‘a deep knowledge of the healthcare industry and of the legal and business issues faced by tax-exempt healthcare systems’. The firm has major healthcare practices in Atlanta, Houston, New York and Washington DC, with 32 partners spending the majority of their time in the service provider space. Paul Quiros and Jay Harris led a team which advised the largest health system in Georgia, St. Joseph’s on its expansion via the formation of a new joint operating company with Emory Healthcare. Houston-based Dennis Dunn and associate Christina Gonzales advised Hospital Corporation of America on several acquisitions and sales and on joint ventures between ambulatory surgery centers and diagnostic imaging centers nationwide. In Atlanta, Sara Kay Wheeler is ‘a great resource on all facets of government regulations’. Dennis Barry, head of the Washington DC practice, is ‘pre-eminent in the field of federal healthcare reimbursement issues’.
United States : Intellectual property
Within Trademarks: non-contentious (full coverage), tier 4
King & Spalding LLP's trademark practice is predominantly based in Atlanta, with support coming from offices across the US including Houston and New York. Group head Holmes Hawkins primarily focuses on litigation, particularly patent infringement matters. The practice's other key partners are litigator Bruce Baber, who splits his time between New York and Atlanta; Kathleen McCarthy in New York, whose main expertise lies in copyright and false advertising; and Julie McWhirter, who predominantly advises on the IP aspects of corporate transactions. The team continues to act as primary outside counsel to Coca-Cola, and also assisted another a global beverages company in a co-branding initiative with a well-known musician. Other recent work highlights include representing the world's largest shipping and logistics company in the management of its global trademark portfolio.
United States : Litigation
Within International arbitration, King & Spalding LLP is a first tier firm,
Historically strong in oil and gas, King & Spalding LLP has expanded its ‘premier’ arbitration practice to encompass areas including construction, IP, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and biotechnology disputes. A ‘large and experienced practice’, it undertakes both investment treaty work and major commercial disputes, counting three sovereign states on its impressive client list. This includes the Republic of Senegal, for which the firm acted in an ICSID case brought by Millicom and Sentel under the Netherlands-Senegal bilateral investment treaty and a contract respectively. In August 2011, the firm achieved a significant victory for Chevron in a second arbitration against Ecuador, concerning delays in ruling on seven cases filed between 1991 and 1993; the tribunal, administered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, found that Ecuador’s courts violated international law through their significant delays in ruling, and the final award was $96m. The ‘very knowledgeable and professional’ team is also representing Renco in an arbitration under United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) rules; the amount in dispute is approximately $800m, and the case involves claims by Renco that Peru violated provisions of the 2009 United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement and promises made under a stock transfer agreement, including issues of environmental impact and third party indemnification. Other clients include Coca-Cola, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil. Co-heads of the practice Doak Bishop and Edward Kehoe, based in Houston and New York respectively, are highly regarded by peers. Guillermo Aguilar-Alvarez and John Bowman are also recommended.
Within International trade, King & Spalding LLP is a second tier firm,
Stephen Jones leads the group at King & Spalding LLP, which attracts praise for providing ‘very high-quality’ advice on technical issues regarding anti-dumping and countervailing duties. Jones successfully represented Aluminium Extrusions Fair Trade Committee in litigation concerning Chinese aluminum imports. Historically identified as a domestic petitioner’s practice, it has successfully extended its reach beyond US borders and now acts for several clients in trade remedy litigation across the EU, Asia and Latin America. Anti-dumping consultant Jorge Miranda has ‘very detailed knowledge on WTO and Mexican legislation’. In an effort to diversify its trade practice, the firm has sought out mandates involving market access and climate change, as well as Section 337 litigation, where it has represented Advanced Micro Devices and ITC. Commended for his ability to ‘articulate detailed issues in straightforward terms’, Joseph Dorn has ‘substantial experience in international trade matters’, and offers ‘excellent insights’. In June 2010, the firm opened a new office in Geneva, a move that expanded its highly reputed WTO dispute settlements practice. Tom Graham left to join the WTO Appellate Body in 2011.
Within Product liability and mass tort defense: automotive/transport , King & Spalding LLP is a third tier firm,
King & Spalding LLP’s finesse includes strong trial capabilities and a nationally renowned appellate practice. It is representing a large shipping and logistics company in catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death cases across the US, a mandate which entails defending the company’s actions involving its vehicles and personal injury and property actions involving its air cargo operations. The practice recently obtained a trial victory for the same client in a case brought by a passenger on a motorcycle involved in a collision with a company package car in Alabama. The driver was killed and the passenger suffered catastrophic injuries. The team has also been defending Toyota in individual product liability lawsuits involving claims of defects variously relating to air bags, seatbelts, rollovers, unintended acceleration and overall crashworthiness. It continues to represent General Motors (New GM) in cases involving claims against corporate affiliates not affected by the bankruptcy. The Atlanta-based practice includes Chilton Varner, Andrew Bayman, Philip Holladay, Randy Bassett, Harold Franklin, Halli Cohn and Robert Friedman.
King & Spalding LLP has a strong track record in defending tobacco product claims which span class actions, mass actions and individual cases across the US. For example, it acted for RJ Reynolds in Engle progeny litigation in Miami, obtaining a complete defense verdict on the plaintiff’s wrongful death claim when the jury found that the decedent’s smoking was not the cause of his death. The firm is handling a number of other mandates for the same client, including recently acting as lead counsel in West Virginia mass litigation which was declared a mistrial shortly after commencing in 2011. Jeff Furr and Ursula Henninger in Charlotte are key figures, along with Ray Persons and Richard Schneider in Atlanta.
Within Product liability and mass tort defense: pharmaceuticals and medical devices, King & Spalding LLP is a second tier firm,
King & Spalding LLP is a ‘solid’ and prominent fixture in the market, fielding a ‘very sophisticated, experienced product liability group that is thoroughly familiar with the pharmaceutical industry’. Current mandates include acting for GlaxoSmithKline in litigation involving antidepressant drug Paxil. It recently took one of several bellwether cases to trial, in which plaintiffs alleged that exposure to the drug during pregnancy caused a child to suffer severe birth defects. Merck instructed it in relation to an MDL pending in the Southern District of New York over Fosamax; it is alleged that the plaintiff’s long-term use of the osteoporosis medication caused ONJ, severe oral infections and other complications. Other clients include Purdue Pharma. The ‘terrific’ and ‘very talented’ Chilton Varner is ‘one of the premier product liability trial attorneys in the country’. Varner is commended for her ability to make complex scientific concepts understandable to jurors, and ‘has an extraordinary penchant for mastering the facts and law for any matter with which she becomes involved’. Andrew Bayman is ‘a premier trial attorney’ with ‘vast experience’, and Ray Persons is also recommended.
Within Product liability and mass tort defense: toxic tort, King & Spalding LLP is a first tier firm,
King & Spalding LLP’s key strengths include its deep scientific expertise and trial bench. Having been involved in landmark cases involving asbestos and Chinese drywall, it is ‘well placed for big-ticket litigation’ and ‘thoroughly deserving of its reputation’. Recent highlights include acting for Lincoln Electric when it was claimed that a former welder, who was diagnosed with Parkinson disease at the age of 26, was exposed to toxic levels of manganese in welding fumes produced by the company’s products. The three-week trial resulted in a unanimous defense verdict. Acting for Cytec, the firm obtained another defense verdict when it was claimed that plaintiffs contracted terminal mesothelioma as a result of occupational exposure to, among other products, an asbestos-containing plastic molding compound manufactured and sold by a predecessor to the company. Claims were based on defective design, failure to warn, negligence and fraud. It also represents Dow Chemical in lawsuits claiming personal injury from exposure to products including trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE). For Chevron, it is national litigation counsel in MTBE cases in which it is alleged that drinking water supplies in certain states are contaminated. Shell is also a client. The practice’s leading lawyers are Atlanta-based Kevin Buster and, in Houston, Tracie Renfroe and the highly recommended Robert Meadows.
Within Securities: shareholder litigation, tier 5
King & Spalding LLP’s clients are drawn from the full list of public and private companies, investment banks, broker-dealers, auditors, investment advisors and hedge funds. The 81-strong team regularly defends clients in federal and state securities litigations, government investigations and related disputes and is considered a ‘major player in the market’. Among the firm’s recent highlights, Robert Thornton led the successful defense of Beazer Homes, and several of its directors, in a shareholder derivative action alleging breach of fiduciary duty. Warren Pope is singled out as a ‘highly knowledgeable and user-friendly partner’ and led the successful defense of EMS Technologies in a shareholder class action challenging the proposed $550m tender offer and merger of EMS with Honeywell.
Within Supreme Court and appellate, King & Spalding LLP is a second tier firm,
Although King & Spalding LLP was weakened by the departure of Paul Clement to Bancroft PLLC, the firm continues to be praised for its ‘exceptional brief-writing and oral advocacy skills’. Daryl Jossefer (a former principal deputy in the office of the solicitor general), Ashley Parrish and Jeffrey Bucholtz are all deemed to be ‘extremely talented and creative lawyers’. Jossefer is particularly prominent in appellate cases and has argued a noteworthy number of appeals before the Federal Circuit for clients such as McKesson Technologies and CBT Flint Partners. Other clients include Franck’s Compounding Lab and Dynegy Midwest Generation. On the US Supreme Court side, the practice’s record includes having presented arguments – such as Schwarzenegger v Coleman, or PPL Montana, LLC v State of Montana – and filed amicus curiae briefs.
Within White-collar criminal defense , tier 8
Able to tap into a the services of an experienced roster of former government lawyers – which was further enhanced in 2011 by the return of ex-senior federal prosecutor Michael Pauze and the arrival of senior counsel Donna Kooperstein from the DOJ’s antitrust division – King & Spalding LLP has excellent credibility before the agencies across a broad swathe of white-collar matters. Dividing his time between the firm’s Washington DC and Atlanta offices, the ‘very experienced’ Christopher Wray heads the special matters and government investigations practice. Reflecting the team’s all-encompassing expertise, Wray handles an array of white-collar matters including healthcare fraud, securities enforcement and FCPA violations. The team is, however, probably best-known for its ‘tremendous expertise’ within the healthcare industry. The ‘hardworking, responsive and creative’ Mark Jensen has quickly made a name for himself as an extremely accomplished lawyer within the field and is regularly called upon to represent global pharmaceutical companies faced with criminal prosecutions; Jensen recently helped Johnson & Johnson reach a global $81.5m settlement that ended a DOJ inquiry into off-label marketing of the epilepsy and migraine drug Topomax. ‘Calm and experienced’ managing partner of the firm’s Washington DC office Wick Sollers is recommended, in particular for his work within the healthcare industry.
United States : Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts
Within Antitrust, tier 6
In November 2011, King & Spalding LLP benefited from the addition of 32-year DOJ veteran Donna Kooperstein, who joined the Washington DC office as senior counsel. The arrival of Kooperstein, whose position at the DOJ was chief of the transportation, energy and agriculture section, has not only enhanced the firm’s profile in the antitrust arena, but also increased its offering of first-hand agency knowledge. The practice, led by Jeffrey Spigel, is predominantly centered in Washington DC, but is also peppered across New York, Atlanta and Houston. Outside the US, the firm is currently expanding its European presence. Recent work includes two high-profile instructions from Bank of America, one of which concerned plaintiffs’ claims in the Municipal Derivatives Antitrust Litigation; and the other relates to the client’s subsidiary Countrywide Financial Corporation, where the firm handled an FTC investigation into loan servicing practices. Besides the firm’s strong skill set when it comes to government relations, the team also has strengths in the healthcare context, where it acts for clients such as Hospital Corporation of America and Piedmont HealthCare.
Within M&A: middle-market ($500m-999m), King & Spalding LLP is a second tier firm,
Clients report that ‘it is a pleasure to work with fine firm’ King & Spalding LLP. The ‘level of service is excellent, the team is highly responsive, and it has deep industry knowledge and highly effective business acumen. The attorneys’ advice is very insightful, and they provide excellent value’. Highlights included representing Rock-Tenn Company on its acquisition of Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation for an aggregate value exceeding $4bn; advising CVS Caremark Corporation on its approximately $1.4bn acquisition of the prescription drug plan business of Universal American Corporation; and acting for LS Power on its agreement to acquire the ownership interests in a portfolio of four natural gas-fired generating assets from a subsidiary of NextEra Energy for approximately $1.05bn. In the mega deal space, the team advised the senior management of the US operations of Australia’s Centro Properties Group in connection with its $9bn acquisition by Blackstone Real Estate Partners, Centro’s US holdings consisting of 585 neighborhood shopping centers in 39 states. Key mid-market deals included representing EarthLink on both the $524m acquisition of all of the issued outstanding common stock of ITC^DeltaCom and its acquisition of One Communications, pursuant to which One Comm’s stockholders had the right to elect to receive cash or EarthLink common stock, aggregately valued at $370m. Atlanta-based Raymond Baltz Jr is corporate practice group leader, and William Bates II in New York co-heads the M&A practice with Atlanta-based Michael Egan. Egan ‘has a depth and breadth of experience equaled by few. His customer focus and responsiveness is unparalleled, while his judgment and savvy have also proven to be key to deal success’. Rahul Patel in Atlanta is ‘a terrific talent, and demonstrates depth and effectiveness well beyond his years. He is also very responsive and personable’. In 2011, William Calvin Smith III, a leading corporate lawyer in the southeastern US, joined the firm’s Atlanta office as partner from Troutman Sanders.
United States : Real estate and construction
Within Construction (including construction litigation), King & Spalding LLP is a third tier firm,
King & Spalding LLP’s 41-attorney construction practice focuses mainly on the representation of owners/developers, handling the full range of transactions and litigation. The practice is an energy specialist – clients include ExxonMobil, Chevron, Exelon, Inc and Shell Oil Company – and has taken on substantial work in this sector; it is at the forefront of construction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects. The team is led by Scott Greer in Houston, who is valued for his ‘invaluable advice’ and ‘high level of industry knowledge’. Greer is currently taking the lead in representing Freeport LNG and Cherniere Energy regarding the development and construction of the first LNG export terminals in the continental US; the developments will be at existing import terminals near Freeport, Texas and Sabine Pass, Louisiana. The group is also representing the Atlanta Falcons Football Club, negotiating agreements relating to the construction of a new football stadium. Counsels Angelica Alfaro and Sandra Cofer have a ‘very good understanding of the current market for construction transactions’. On the litigation side, Craig Ledet, a former engineer, has a ‘great knack for combining legal strategy and issues with good common sense’, and Michael Youtt is ‘a great all-round litigation attorney’.
Within Real estate, tier 4
Sixty lawyers are actively involved in the real estate department at King & Spalding LLP, which operates out of Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, Charlotte and Houston. Sarah Borders chairs the practice, which is closely integrated with the firm’s corporate, private equity and tax departments and is involved in capital transactions as well as a complete range of commercial real estate deals. It assists a number of German investors targeting US multi-family and commercial properties, including recently representing RECAP Investments in various joint venture development projects with partners in New York, Texas, Florida and Maryland. The team has also advised Morgan Stanley’s flagship real estate investment fund, Prime Property Fund, a private REIT with more than $9bn in assets; Brookdale, which has an investment capacity of nearly $1bn primarily destined for investment in southeastern US commercial properties; and Paladin Realty Partners in relation to investments in residential and other properties in Latin American countries including Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile and Brazil. In Atlanta, Timothy Goodwin is notable for his structuring and investment fund expertise, and Clay Gibson is a highly regarded veteran of the practice.
Further information on King & Spalding LLP
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United Arab Emirates
- Banking and finance : Banking and finance
- Corporate and M&A : Corporate and M&A
- Investment funds : Investment funds
- Projects and energy : Projects and energy
Offices in Frankfurt
Offices in Paris
Latin America: International firms
Offices in London
- Corporate and commercial : M&A: premium deals, £250m+
- Dispute resolution : Commercial litigation
- Dispute resolution : International arbitration
- Dispute resolution : Mediators
- Finance : Islamic finance
- Projects, energy and natural resources : Oil and gas
Offices in Moscow
- Banking and finance : Banking and finance
- Corporate and M&A : Moscow
- Energy and natural resources : Energy and natural resources
- Intellectual property : Intellectual property
- Real estate and construction : Real estate and construction
- TMT : TMT
Offices in Singapore
- Dispute resolution : Local firms
- Projects and energy : Foreign firms
- International arbitration : International arbitration
Offices in Riyadh
- Banking and finance : Banking and finance
- Capital markets : Capital markets
- Corporate and M&A : Corporate and M&A
- Projects and energy : Projects and energy
Offices in Geneva
- Industry focus : Energy: litigation
- Industry focus : Energy: regulatory
- Industry focus : Energy: renewable/alternative
- Industry focus : Energy: transactions
- Industry focus : Environment: litigation
- Industry focus : Healthcare: service providers
- Intellectual property : Trademarks: non-contentious (full coverage)
- Litigation : International arbitration
- Litigation : International trade
- Litigation : Product liability and mass tort defense: automotive/transport
- Litigation : Product liability and mass tort defense: consumer products (including tobacco)
- Litigation : Product liability and mass tort defense: pharmaceuticals and medical devices
- Litigation : Product liability and mass tort defense: toxic tort
- Litigation : Securities: shareholder litigation
- Litigation : Supreme Court and appellate
- Litigation : White-collar criminal defense
- Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts : Antitrust
- Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts : M&A: middle-market ($500m-999m)
- Real estate and construction : Construction (including construction litigation)
- Real estate and construction : Real estate