Firm Profile > King & Spalding LLP > Houston , United States
King & Spalding LLP Offices
1100 LOUISIANA STREET, SUITE 4000
HOUSTON, TX 77002
King & Spalding LLP > The Legal 500 Rankings
The 'excellent' trial and global disputes group at King & Spalding LLP deals with the firm's contentious oil and gas work. Tracie Renfroe (Houston) leads the practice and Robert Meadows (Houston), Reginald Smith (Houston), Charles Correll (San Francisco) and Tim Engel (DC) are all key points of contact. A team including Meadows and Correll is representing Chevron in multiple lawsuits arising from an explosion and fire at the client's refinery in Richmond, California; the firm has secured the dismissal of over 10,000 plaintiffs in individual claimant actions and two purported class actions at the pleadings stage. Elsewhere, Renfroe, Houston-based Carol Wood and others are defending ConocoPhillips in a series of climate change lawsuits; the plaintiffs seek potentially billions of dollars to redeem municipalities’ claimed costs of infrastructure modifications to prepare for a future allegedly threatened by a climate change for which the client is responsible. Additionally, the firm is active in litigation related to toxic torts, personal injury, property damage and trade secrets, as well as international arbitration. Craig Stanfield, noted for his knowledge of toxic and environmental torts, joined the Houston office from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in January 2018. Also based in Houston, onshore and offshore energy project specialist Andrew Stakelum was made partner in January 2018.
The healthcare department at King & Spalding LLP has experience in Medicare reimbursement appeals and other fraud enforcement actions, managed care litigation, compliance, corporate and contract law, as well as M&A and healthcare IT. Mark Polston in Washington DC acted for Prime Healthcare in its breach-of-contract claim against Humana over alleged underpayment for inpatient hospital services. Polston teamed up with Daniel Hettich and Chris Kenny to advise several health systems and hospitals on regulatory changes in Medicare funding for uncompensated care provided to low-income and uninsured individuals. In Atlanta, Glenn Reed, Tom Hawk and Jay Harris have advised Piedmont Healthcare on several acquisitions, including the purchase of Columbus Regional Health System. San Francisco-based partner Stephen Goff represented California Public Employees Retirement System in negotiations with health plans regarding health premium rates and contract terms for state employees and retirees, while Torrey McClary in Los Angeles assisted University of Colorado Health during its acquisition of Pikes Peak Regional Hospital.
International arbitration Tier 1
King & Spalding LLP fields a team of 'true international arbitration specialists', who skillfully handle investment and commercial arbitration matters, and have particular expertise in the energy sector. Noted for its 'impressive advocacy and deep understanding', the team has successfully represented Chevron and its subsidiary, Texaco Petroleum Company, in an international arbitration against the Republic of Ecuador pertaining to its violation of the BIT; following the proceedings, which were led by 'outstanding lawyers' Doak Bishop and Edward Kehoe, the $9.5bn judgment rendered against Chevron was deemed unenforceable. 'Excellent' Caline Mouawad, Henry Burnett, and Houston-based Craig Miles represented Bear Creek Mining Corporation in an ICSID arbitration against the Republic of Peru brought under the Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement. Other key contacts include global disputes head Reginald Smith and head of upstream oil and gas John Bowman from Houston. The team has been strengthened with two new additions from White & Case LLP: John Templeman joined as counsel in New York and Chip Rosenberg joined the Washington DC office; however, Houston-based Silvia Marchili left the firm to lead the international arbitration group at White & Case LLP.
King & Spalding LLP’s toxic and environmental torts practice group is headed by Carol Wood and spans a multitude of sectors, including energy, environmental, climate change and asbestos litigation. Led by Tracie Renfroe, the team successfully defended ConocoPhillips subsidiary Burlington Resources in an ISCID arbitration against Ecuador’s US$2.5bn environmental contamination counterclaims for soil and groundwater contamination and ecological injury. Further, Los Angeles-based Alexander Calfo and Julia Romano continue to represent Johnson & Johnson in talc litigation. Other clients include Shell, Monsanto and Chevron. Robert Meadows, Elizabeth Taber and associate Megan Nishikawa in San Francisco are also recommended. Frank Bayuk departed for Jones Day in March 2018, while Craig Stanfield joined in January 2018 from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. Unless otherwise noted, all named partners are based in Houston.
King & Spalding LLP advises major US banks on rail asset acquisitions and disposals, and is noted for its experience of advising on various finance and leasing structures for rolling stock and rail equipment. The team also works closely with the firm’s securitization finance practice, advising on structures to provide asset financing as well as advising on the securitization of leases. Christopher Buchanan and transportation finance head Jason Huff are based in the Charlotte office, as are associate Mickey Jett and senior associate Derek Marks.
King & Spalding LLP is engaged in automotive regulatory matters and is particularly recommended for its experience in issues involving autonomous vehicles. Department head Jacqueline Glassman has ‘deep expertise in auto-safety issues’ and acts for clients in regulatory and policy matters, with particular experience in safety and fuel efficiency initiatives. Granta Nakayama, who is experienced in advising automaker clients in diesel-related issues and litigation, represented Volkswagen in US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), California Air Resources Board (ARB), and Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations relating to emissions from 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter diesel engine powered vehicles. Nakayama also represented Porsche in matters relating to the use of diesel engines purchased from the VW Group in Porsche vehicles. Theodore Hester, Ilana Saltzbart and counsel Christie Iannetta are also recommended. The team is jointly led by Nakayama, Glassman and Atlanta-based Philip Holladay. Named lawyers are based in Washington DC unless stated otherwise.
The team at King & Spalding LLP has a strong track record in energy infrastructure projects, including LNG and petrochemical plants, as well as contentious disputes. Scott Greer leads the transactional side, and recently advised LNG Canada on a $31bn export terminal in British Columbia, the first in Canada's history. Counsel Rajesh Patel and Washington DC-based Cynthia Stroman were also involved. Greer is supported by counsel Rob Garner, who divides his time between Atlanta and Houston, in assisting Motiva Enterprises with the development of a new petrochemical project to be built in Port Arthur, Texas. On the arbitration side, experienced litigator Mike Stenglein, who is based in Austin, is representing Reficar in ICC arbitration against CB&I relating to disputes arising from the construction of the Cartagena Oil Reifnery. He was assisted by Adam Gray, who splits his time between the Austin and Houston, and Doak Bishop. Named individuals are based in the firm's Houston office unless otherwise stated.
Copyright Tier 2
King & Spalding LLP has a strong track record in copyright disputes and represents clients such as Soundcloud, Netflix and ESPN. Kenneth Steinthal leads the team and has a strong focus on the media and entertainment sector. Alongside Joseph Wetzel , he acted for the Radio Music License Committee in a lawsuit against the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers in which the client alleged that the defendant's collection of music royalties violated antitrust law. Bruce Baber defended Google from a copyright infringement claim brought by Oracle involving the client's use of the plaintiff's Java Platform for the development of its mobile device platform.
In May 2018, in a major development, King & Spalding LLP welcomed former US acting attorney general Sally Yates to its Atlanta office. Yates is among a number of new recruits, which also includes former associate director for enforcement at the SEC Aaron Lipson, who joined in Atlanta in January 2019, and former senior vice president and deputy enforcement chief at FINRA Russell Ryan, who joined in Washington DC in September 2018. The 'hard-charging' team, led by Washington DC's Wick Sollers, is best known for handling multi-jurisdictional matters, including relating to potential violations of economic sanctions, the FCPA, the FCA, securities law and healthcare regulation. Key matters for Sollers included the successful representation, alongside Mark Jensen, of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals in an investigation, led by a consortium of state attorneys general representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia, into alleged off-label promotion of four products, and violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute; the case was settled for $13.5m. Chicago's Zachary Fardon represents Equifax in an investigation initiated by 48 state attorneys general into a major cybersecurity incident. Individual clients include an array of high-profile politicians and C-suite executives; as an example, the firm represented Michael Babich, the former president and CEO of Insys Therapeutics, in criminal case regarding the sale of opioids. Other key practitioners include Jason Jones and John Richter in Washington DC.
E-discovery Tier 2
Thought-leader Ronni Solomon leads the Atlanta-based team at King & Spalding LLP. The group acts as e-discovery counsel for a number of corporates involved in litigation and is often called upon for advisory work. Solomon serves as national e-discovery counsel to UPS, a role she has held since 2009, advising on litigation protocol, email retention, litigation hold and attorney-client privilege issues, and representing the client in various investigations and litigation. In another notable engagement, Rose Jones and Lisa Smith serve as national discovery counsel to Toyota Motor North America.
King & Spalding LLP brings a 'thorough knowledge of both the commercial and regulatory aspects of the electricity sector' to its conventional power work, which is handled by the firm's government matters department. The DC-based team is led by 'ISO and RTO tariff expert' Neil Levy. Calpine and Independent Power Producers of New York are some noteworthy clients. A group guided by Levy advised a power generation and transmission entity on the regulatory aspects of two major transactions; one was an $825m acquisition of interest in a coal bed methane-fired facility and a hydroelectric plant, and the other the $180m sale of Columbia Energy Center to South Carolina Electric and Gas Company. Additionally, David Tewksbury leads a group representing multiple suppliers - among them NRG and Eastern Generation - before FERC with regard to proposed market rules changes addressing the impact of state-approved subsidies for current generation on the market. Tewksbury 'knows the subject matter, writes exceptionally well and works efficiently'. Bruce Richardson and senior associate Stephanie Lim are also recommended.
King & Spalding LLP assists energy companies, private equity firms and strategic investors with various transactions ranging from capital raising and finance transactions to acquisitions and dispositions. The department is headed in the Houston office by Scott Greer, who is supported by the co-head of the midstream segment Stuart Zisman and the co-head of the upstream segment Peter Hays. Significant arrivals include New York-based James Woolery from Hudson Executive Capital, and Carol Burke, Kimberlee Cagle and Susan Berry who joined from Reed Smith LLP. Daniel Rogers, who co-heads the LNG and gas segment, and Washington DC-based James Bowe advised Hawaii Gas on the procurement of long-term LNG supplies for import into Kaui, and the long-term chartering-in of an LNG floating storage and regasification unit. David Strickland joined White & Case LLP and Archie Fallon left for Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP.
Environment: litigation Tier 2
King & Spalding LLP’s ‘terrific’ team is retained by big-name clients in litigation relating to climate change, coastal erosion, oilfield fracking, drinking water and soil contamination, as well as automotive and other emission regulation and enforcement, and oilfield contamination in the US and Latin America. As an example, the firm was engaged by key client ConocoPhillips in a spate of climate change tort litigation cases brought by a number of states; toxic and environmental torts practice head Carol Wood and Houston office managing partner Tracie Renfroe co-led the case. Respected Granta Nakayama works out of Washington DC and is also known for his regulatory expertise. Craig Stanfield joined from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in January 2018, and Peter Hsiao joined in Los Angeles from Morrison & Foerster LLP in September 2018. Other key contacts include Matt Blaschke in San Francisco, and Elizabeth Robertson Taber. Named lawyers are based in Houston unless otherwise stated. In November 2019, following the publication of this guide, Karl Heisler joined the Chicago team from Katten.
Healthcare: life sciences Tier 2
The ‘highly pragmatic and commercial’ firm King & Spalding LLP is particularly praised by clients for its ‘strong IP expertise’ and its ‘keen understanding of how FDA works’. The life sciences practice is co-headed by Nikki Reeves, Mark Brown and Seth Lundy. Reeves and Atlanta’s Andy Bayman successfully defended Vertical Pharmaceuticals and BioDelivery Sciences International (BDSI) in a lawsuit filed by the State of Arkansas and various Arkansas counties and cities, which aimed at recouping the public health costs associated with the abuse of opioid analgesics allegedly marketed and distributed by the clients in the State. Other clients include Medtronic and Boehringer. With her ‘unending enthusiasm to take on clients’ causes as her own’, former FDA’s Lisa Dwyer ‘stands above the crowd’. David Farber, who ‘comes to the table with years of developed wisdom in the pharma space’, Preeya Noronha Pinto and Jessica Ringel are also recommended. The ‘unique team’ of patent litigators Gerald Flattmann, Evan Diamond and Vanessa Yen joined the New York office from Paul Hastings LLP in July 2018. Stephen Abreu left to Sidley Austin LLP. Names of individuals are based in Washington DC unless otherwise indicated.
International trade Tier 2
Led by the 'knowledgeable and responsive' Stephen Orava , King & Spalding LLP's 11-partner Washington DC-based team excels at representing petitioners in trade remedies actions. Stephen Jones is praised for his ability to 'effectively communicate with the government', and has consequently been at the forefront of work for domestic industries and manufacturers as petitioners in the context of the Trump administration's Section 301 and 232 tariffs against China. Both Jones and Michael Taylor are representing AK Steel regarding its request to expand the scope of the steel Section 232 relief to include downstream electrical steel products, including laminations, core assemblies, cores and transformers. Led by Orava from the US and able to leverage practitioners based in Geneva, the firm is also regularly involved in WTO proceedings, such as in its recent work for the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association in a challenge regarding Thailand’s subsidies to the sugar sector. Praised for her 'incredibly in-depth regulatory knowledge', Christine Savage heads the firm's export controls, economic sanctions and CFIUS practice, and brings significant credibility to the role by virtue of her private practice expertise as well as her experience as a former high-ranking official at the DOC. Other clients include Dow Chemical Company, US Magnesium, United Parcel Service and Domtar Corporation.
King & Spalding LLP's experience includes acquisitions and divestitures of public and private companies, joint ventures and going-private transactions, and it advises investment bankers on facilitating deals. Other areas of strength are anti-takeover strategies, solicited and unsolicited acquisition offers, and tender offers and proxy contests. The firm also has a significant private equity practice as well as sector expertise in energy and infrastructure, real estate, healthcare and life sciences, business services, and technology and telecoms. Active key clients are Energizer, Transocean, Roper Technologies, Brookfield Infrastructure Group and The Coca-Cola Company. The team acted for Energizer in its proposed acquisition of the global battery and portable lighting business of Spectrum Brands; and advised Roper Technologies on the agreement to divest its transmission electron microscope business to multinational biotechnology product development company, Thermo Fisher Scientific. In other matters, the team assisted Brookfield Infrastructure Group with its acquisition from AT&T of 32 internet data centers in 12 countries. James Woolery in New York leads the firm’s M&A and corporate governance practices; key Atlanta names are global corporate practice leader Raymond Baltz Jr, William Calvin Smith III, Rahul Patel, Russell Richards and Keith Townsend. Judy O’Brien and Laura Bushnell are notable Silicon Valley contacts. Significant growth includes Jonathan Melmed joining the New York office as co-chair of the global private equity practice from Morrison & Foerster LLP, while Washington DC-based Alan Noskow and Brian Ashin, formerly of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, were hired in the corporate, finance and investments practice group.
King & Spalding LLP's automotive and transportation litigation team is jointly led by Philip Holladay and Susan Clare, and recently welcomed Livia Kiser and Michael Shortnacy in Chicago and Los Angeles, respectively, both of whom joined from Sidley Austin LLP in July 2018. With particular strength in class actions and product liability litigation, the group defends leading OEMs against manufacturing defects, design defects and failure to warn claims. In recent highlights, Stephen Devereaux represented Daimler and Mercedes Benz in a putative class action alleging a design defect in the HVAC systems of various models of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, and senior counsel Chilton Varner is defending Suzuki as appellate counsel against design defect, negligent recall, failure to warn, and loss of consortium claims arising from a crash involving the plaintiff’s motorcycle. John Hooper in New York continues to act for Toyota in the settlement of the unintended acceleration class action. Unless otherwise noted, all named partners are based in Atlanta.
Product liability, mass tort and class actions: pharmaceuticals and medical devices - defense Tier 2
The pharmaceutical and medical device litigation team at King & Spalding LLP was strengthened by the October 2018 hire of Austin-based Melvin Bailey from Crowe Arnold & Majors LLP. In recent highlights, practice head Bruce Hurley and Tracie Renfroe in Houston defended Johnson & Johnson and DePuy Orthopedics as co-lead trial counsel in personal injury claims, including an MDL relating to a metal-on-metal hip implant. Andrew Bayman in Atlanta continues to represent GlaxoSmithKline as national counsel in litigation related to the anti-depressant medication Paxil, which involves allegations that the use of the drug increases the risk of suicidal behavior in adult patients. In addition, Los Angeles-based Alexander Calfo is acting as coordinating and trial counsel in California for Johnson & Johnson Consumer in the talc powder litigation, having recently defended the client against a plaintiff claiming she developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to the alleged asbestos-contaminated talcum powder products. Other clients include Halyard Health, Eli Lilly and Allergan. Senior counsel Chilton Varner in Atlanta is also recommended.
The team at King & Spalding LLP is widely recognized for its expertise in whole-business securitizations, where it regularly acts for major bank-side clients such as Barclays Capital. Headed by Michael Urschel, who is highly regarded by his peers, the team advised Barclays on a $1bn fixed-rate note offering, which was backed by a whole-business securitization of the franchise assets of CKE; this deal marked one of the largest whole-business transactions of 2018. Further, Urschel and Jeff Misher acted for Barclays Bank and Credit Suisse in a whole-business transaction backed by the franchise assets of Dine Brands Global. The practice group also has expertise in ABS involving telecom tower assets and other receivables financing. Acting alongside Anthony Mechcatie, Urschel advised Barclays and Deutsche Bank on an offering by Vantage Data Centers Issuer of $225m variable funding notes, which are secured by assets and cashflows generated by a portfolio of data centers; this marked the first-ever 144A data center securitization. The team was also strengthened by two significant hires in 2018: Ryan McNaughton joined from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, where he focused on tax lien, timeshare and PACE securitizations, and Kevin Manz joined from Pepper Hamilton LLP. Also recommended are Terry Novetsky and Matthew Sandiford, the latter of whom was recently promoted to partner.
King & Spalding LLP regularly defends auto-industry clients in a range of product liability, regulatory, environmental, safety and personal injury cases. John Hooper in New York represented Toyota Motor Sales and Toyota Motor Company in several cases, including a class action concerning the Takata airbag recall, which implicated several automobile manufacturers. Alexander Calfo in Los Angeles, Geoffrey Drake and Susan Clare (the last of whom co-chairs the automotive and transportation litigation team) are representing Ford Motor Company in hundreds of cases pending in California state and federal courts alleging breach of warranty. Elsewhere, Randall Bassett defends UPS Freight in its high-exposure cases arising out of tractor trailer and package car delivery accidents. Philip Holladay, who heads the automotive litigation team; Stephen Devereaux, who focuses on consumer class actions; Livia Kiser, Eric Gladbach and Jacqueline Seidel in New York; and Michael Shortnacy in Los Angeles are also recommended. Named individuals are based in Atlanta unless otherwise stated.
Appellate Tier 3
Working closely with the firm’s specialized regulatory practices, the cutting-edge work of King & Spalding LLP’s appellate department ranges from life sciences and healthcare to intellectual property, energy and environmental law. In ESI Energy v FERC, a case challenging a decision of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission before the DC Circuit, practice co-chair Ashley Parrish argued for intervenor for the respondent West Deptford Energy. Parish led the team on successfully petitioning the US Supreme Court in Wolfe v Virginia, which concerned the right to use alleged vindictive prosecution as ground for challenging the constitutional authority of a state to prosecute. Bobby Burchfield led on representing the petitioner in CNH Industrial N.V. v Reese, where the US Supreme Court affirmed that collective bargaining agreements must be interpreted according to ordinary principles of contract law. In a case concerning the interpretation of the False Claims Act, co-chair Jeffrey Bucholtz convinced the Second Circuit to reverse the federal district court’s ruling in favor of client Allergan. Bucholtz also argued the case for R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in an Engle progeny case at the Fourth District Court of Appeal in Florida. In April 2018, Merritt McAlister left to pursue an academic career.
Corporate governance Tier 3
King & Spalding LLP has experience of various leadership change mandates, executive compensation and other governance matters. The key figure in the team is Jim Woolery, 'a brilliant strategist with a deep understanding of the interests of all stakeholders'.
The Washington DC-based government matters department at King & Spalding LLP handles the firm's oil and gas regulatory work. James Bowe, Charles Engel and Neil Levy are the joint heads of the team. Bowe and others are advising Mexico Pacific Limited on all aspects of its development and implementation of a new LNG export facility to be located in Mexico worth over $1bn. Regulatory work thus far has included preparing and submitting a an export application to the DOE and counseling the client on Mexican LNG regulation. Another key highlight is Engel's assistance to a multinational energy company with its decommissioning of offshore oil and gas production platforms and related assets. This involves representation before numerous authorities, including the Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. Counsel William Rice is also of note; Engel is 'a top-notch attorney who understands business needs and provides clear and cogent advice'.
Environment: regulatory Tier 3
Clients rely on King & Spalding LLP for its ‘experience of federal government enforcement, and very efficient and practical advice’. Indeed, team has several lawyers with environmental agency enforcement expertise and it is particularly strong in environmental litigation. It handles automotive, stationary source and other air emission regulation and enforcement; environmental health and safety and crisis management; oilfield environmental impacts; issues involving industrial and consumer products; and Superfund remediation. Of note, the team is acting for Volkswagen in ongoing EPA, CARB, and DOJ investigations related to emissions from 2.0-litre and 3.0-litre diesel engine powered vehicles, involving questions of compliance with the environmental requirements of the settlement agreements reached previously between the parties in what was the largest-ever CAA enforcement case. Based in Washington DC, the ‘smart, savvy and experienced’ Granta Nakayama is the firm-wide environmental, health and safety group leader. Other names to note are Atlanta-based Adam Sowatzka (‘razor-sharp instincts’; ‘always upbeat’; ‘an extremely fast learner’), and, Peter Hsiao in Los Angeles, who heads the West Coast environmental, health and safety practice.
General commercial disputes Tier 3
Andrew Bayman in Atlanta heads the trial and global disputes practice at King & Spalding LLP, which regularly handles complex commercial litigation, often involving litigation in multiple states or with parallel regulatory investigations. Recent hires at the firm include Livia Kisier, who joined the Chicago office from Sidley Austin LLP, and Jessica Corley and Lisa Bugni who joined from Alston & Bird LLP in the Atlanta and San Francisco offices, respectively. In a high-profile matter, Israel Dahan and Richard Marooney in New York acted for Darwin Deason in successful litigation to prevent Xerox and Fujifilm's merger plan. Jonathan Chally and American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL) fellow David Balser are other key practitioners in Atlanta; Bobby Burchfield is a name to note in Washington DC.
Government relations Tier 3
King & Spalding LLP’s government relations team is very active in matters related to congressional investigations, particularly in the healthcare sector. Other work concerns international trade as well as data, privacy and security issues, with clients coming from a wide range of industry sectors, including aerospace, automotive/transportation, infrastructure and sports. In addition to being known for representing clients in political law issues, particularly pharmaceutical companies, the firm has a growing attorney general practice, which in 2018 saw the arrival of former congressman and California attorney general Daniel Lungren as senior counsel. Practice head Thomas Spulak provides ongoing assistance to Embraer and its subsidiary Embraer Aircraft on several issues before the executive and legislative branches, including the development of regulations for autonomous electric aircraft operations in US airspace and support for a number of US Air Force programs. Spulak also advocates on behalf Mood Media before Congress concerning the standard used to set royalties associated with the cost of licensing music. Theodore Hester, Steve Kupka, J C Boggs and Eleanor Hill are the other names to note. Another recruit in 2018 was senior adviser James Miller, who was previously chair of the FTC, and in January 2019, the firm welcomed the former managing partner of Troutman Sanders LLP’s Atlanta office, Pete Robinson.
The insurance department of King & Spalding LLP specializes in the exclusive representation of policyholders and focuses, among other areas, on data and cyber security coverage, asbestos claims, nature catastrophes and commercial liability issues. In Washington DC, Martin McNerney and Jack Fontham represent long-term client Pneumo Abex in insurance coverage lawsuits aimed at defense costs in asbestos litigation, while Atlanta-based Anthony Tatum assists SunTrust Banks in professional liability, and D&O recovery actions relating to approximately 200 claims made against the client. Meghan Magruder and Shelby Guilbert are other names to note in Atlanta.
International litigation Tier 3
King & Spalding LLP's team comprises 'true litigators in every sense of the word'. Indeed, the litigation department is 'just excellent' and has 'distinguished itself in the enforcement of international judgments’. Andrew Bayman heads the global disputes team, and Reginald Smith in Houston is also recommended. The team has represented the plaintiffs in Ascom (Stati) v Kazakhstan Enforcement, which concerns a $500m arbitral award under the Energy Charter Treaty, and also acted for PwC Brazil in a securities class action arising out corruption investigations of PwC Brazil’s audit client, state-controlled oil and gas giant Petroleo Brasileiro. Los Angeles-based Michael Shortnacy and Chicago-based Livia Kiser both joined the firm from Sidley Austin LLP. Zach Harmon in Washington DC, and Andrew Hruska and James Berger in New York are also recommended.
Real estate Tier 3
King & Spalding LLP, which advises on a range of real estate transactional matters, has a client base which includes financial institutions, alternative capital and debt funds, private equity funds and family offices. In 2018 the firm added a seven-attorney real estate finance group in New York from Riemer & Braunstein. Jennifer Morgan and John Wilson, who are based in New York, recently advised Greystar Real Estate Partners on the formation of Greystar Student Housing Growth and Income Fund, a $4.6bn open-end student housing fund formed to acquire EdR. Charlotte-based Mark Thigpen represented real estate investment compnay Asana Partners on more than $1.5bn-worth of deals involving properties across the US. Atlanta-based Joshua Kamin acts for Jamestown and recently advised on the acquisitions and financing of properties in Miami, Washington DC, New York, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh with an aggregate value of $930m. Charlotte-based Davis Powell, Atlanta-based Sarah Borders and Kamin acted for Cerberus Real Estate Capital Management on various joint venture acquisitions and the refinancing of a hotel with an aggregate value of more than $1.5bn. Other clients include Brookfield Infrastructure Group, Prologis, Transwestern Investment Management and Clarion Partners.
King & Spalding LLP 'delivers incredible depth and expertise with thoughtful and practical advice'. The team advises across the full spectrum of REIT-related transactions, including public offerings, fund formation, finance deals, M&A involving public and private REITs, asset level and portfolio acquisitions, and exit strategies. Recent work includes acting for publicly traded REIT Columbia Property Trust, as borrower, in a $300m syndicated term loan facility. Spencer Johnson leads the REIT team; also key to the team are Anthony Rothermel, who splits his time between New York and Atlanta, Kathryn Furman, Keith Townsend and tax experts Jonathan Talansky in New York and Wayne Pressgrove. Peter Genz retired from the practice. The advisers listed are in Atlanta unless otherwise stated.
'The securities defense attorneys at this firm are substantially thorough, experienced, ethical and prompt', says a client of King & Spalding LLP, which climbs the ranking this year. 'They have substantial experience with the federal district court judges, where the securities class actions are filed and substantial and significant experience with the mediators who are often proposed by the plaintiffs', notes another. Michael Smith and Jessica Corley in Atlanta, and Paul Bessette and Mike Biles in Austin are all described as 'extremely experienced in securities class actions and 100% ethical'. Smith and Warren Pope are currently representing Equifax Inc in a putative class action consolidated in Georgia arising from a large-scale cybersecurity incident announced in 2017, which challenges public statements about the company made about efforts to protect consumer information and compliance with data protection laws. Pope also secured the dismissal of a $400m claim against Aaron’s, Inc following a 30% fall in its stock price. Israel Dahan in New York is also recommended.
King & Spalding LLP is engaged by clients in a broad range of sectors, with a particular focus on food and beverages, retail and consumer products. Austin-based Richard Gross handles the global trademark portfolio of The Home Depot and heads the practice with Kathleen McCarthy, who operates from New York. The team is also engaged by Mary Kay and Steve Jackson Games for the respective enforcement and protection of each company’s brands. Other work undertaken includes trademark searching, clearance and licensing.
The marine litigation team at King & Spalding LLP handles disputes for container shipping lines, shipping agencies, marine terminal operators, and trucking, warehousing and transportation and logistics companies. Joseph Akrotirianakis in Los Angeles represented Everport Terminal Services (ETS) in several disputes, including a case brought before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Division of Judges, alleging that ETS had unlawfully displaced one union in favor of another when it assumed operations of its terminal in the Port of Oakland. Total Terminals International and UPS are also clients. Houston-based Andrew Stakelum and counsel Troy McMahan in San Francisco are other key figures.
Capital markets: debt Tier 4
A strong performer in energy offerings, King & Spalding LLP’s recent debt capital markets work also spanned the financial services, natural resources and real estate sectors. The group is the preferred counsel for several large seasoned issuers, such as SunTrust Banks which recently turned to the firm for advice on its $1.2bn offering of senior bank notes — Atlanta-based Zachary Cochran led that deal. In addition, Atlanta-based department lead Keith Townsend advised Total System Services on notes offerings totaling $1bn. The team has also recently undertaken work for ConocoPhillips, Colonial Pipeline Company and Mueller Water Products.
King & Spalding LLP fields a robust issuer-focused practice, with recent experience in energy and natural resources, life sciences, financial services and TMT-related transactions. In a significant boost to its national profile for equity deals, the group secured several IPOs over the past year. Most notably, Spencer Johnson assisted Americold Realty Trust with its $833.5m upsized IPO. In addition, capital markets lead Keith Townsend paired up with Zachary Cochran to advise EVO Payments on its $258m IPO. Townsend also advised SunTrust Banks on its $500m public offering of depositary shares. Named attorneys are based in Atlanta.
Commercial lending Tier 4
King & Spalding LLP has a highly versatile practice group that acts for a mix of borrowers and lenders, and is praised for its 'very deep bench that can solve any problems that come up'. The US team has a strong spread of lawyers in Atlanta, New York, Chicago, and Charlotte, and regularly works in conjunction with the firm's wider global network. In addition, the team's clients note that its lawyers are 'extremely current on the latest market trends and can negotiate against the most seasoned groups across the table'. On the borrower side, the group advised Pinnacle Arcadia Cattle Holdco, a Pinacle Asset Management portfolio company, on the financing of its $200m acquisition of JBS Five River Cattle Feeding from Moyer Distribution. The firm also has strength in the energy sector, where it advised ConocoPhillips on a $6.5bn revolving credit facility. Key lender clients include Citizens Bank, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. Carolyn Alford leads the team from Atlanta. Other key partners include Todd Holleman, Cecilia Hong and Ellen Snare in New York, and Amy Peters in Chicago.
King & Spalding LLP significantly strengthened its energy team with a number of hires in 2018. Enrico Granata and Jonathan Melmed, who heads the New York-based power and infrastructure team, joined from Morrison & Foerster LLP, Washington DC-based tax specialist Edouard Markson joined from Chadbourne & Parke LLP, and New York-based Brandon Dalling joined from Latham & Watkins LLP. Recent highlights included the team acting for Starwood Energy Group Global in its $1.2bn acquisition of 100% of the equity interest in the operating subsidiaries for two of Dominion Energy’s combined-cycle gas turbine plants, located in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Additionally, Houston-based David Runnels and Roxanne Almaraz advised a Carlyle Group portfolio company on its acquisition, via an affiliate, of the wind portfolio of Noble Environmental Power. Also recommended is Washington DC-based counsel Zori Ferkin, who has expertise in federal and state energy regulation.
ERISA litigation Tier 4
King & Spalding LLP has experience in a wide range of disputes, including stock-drop litigation, where the team has acted for clients such as Coca-Cola. Recent highlights included Atlanta-based David Tetrick defending The Home Depot against a $140m claim of defined benefit fiduciary breaches. Washington DC-based Bobby Burchfield combines ‘a nuanced understanding of ERISA issues with the ability to clearly argue the case’; Burchfield saw recent success in a long-running dispute brought against CNH Industrial concerning its collectively bargained health benefits plans. Other key clients include Lone Star Funds, Peabody Energy Corporation, SunTrust Banks and Aramco Services Company.
M&A litigation: defense Tier 4
King & Spalding LLP has 'a very strong litigation team with good communicators who have successfully dealt with high-visibility matters'. The practice is led by Michael Smith in Atlanta, who represented SCANA Corporation in cases arising from its proposed $14.6bn merger with Dominion Energy, and Paul Bessette in Austin. Atlanta-based Warren Pope, who handled a high-profile case for Triangle Capital Corporation, is also recommended. In New York, Richard Marooney is a partner in the trial and global disputes practice and clients note that he 'stands out as very knowledgeable, extremely responsive and aggressive on behalf of his clients'. He worked with Israel Dahan and Peter Isajiw, also based in New York, on the defense of Genuine Parts Company following a challenge by private equity firm Sycamore Partners to the $362m merger of its office supply wholesaling business with Essendant.
Product liability, mass tort and class actions: consumer products (including tobacco) - defense Tier 4
The tobacco and consumer products trial practice at King & Spalding LLP is led by Atlanta-based Randall Bassett and has expertise in product liability litigation and class actions involving technology products, cosmetics, tobacco and household products. John Hooper and Eric Gladbach in New York represented Sony Electronics in a class action alleging that the client deceptively marketed the Xperia line of smartphones and tablets as waterproof. In addition, Charlotte-based Jeffrey Furr defended RJ Reynolds Tobacco in a punitive damages trial regarding a smoker’s cancer. In other work, the team acted as California coordinating counsel and trial counsel for Johnson & Johnson in connection with claims alleging plaintiffs developed mesothelioma after using talc powder products. Charlotte-based Cory Hohnbaum and Richard Schneider in Atlanta are other names to note. In March 2018, Frank Bayuk left for Jones Day, while Livia Kiser and Michael Shortnacy joined from Sidley Austin LLP in July 2018, and Melvin Bailey joined from Crowe Arnold & Majors LLP in September 2018.
Trademarks: litigation Tier 4
King & Spalding LLP represents a number of high-profile clients in a broad range of industries, including personal care and consumer products, food and beverage and retail. New York-based Kathleen McCarthy recently represented Google in a case brought by Baldino’s Lock & Ke, which claimed that the appearance of unlicensed locksmiths on the client’s various platforms have harmed its business. In Houston, Bruce Baber is notably acting for The Coca-Cola Company in its efforts to register its ‘ZERO’ trademarks; the matter is currently being considered by the Federal Circuit. In another highlight, both McCarthy and Baber acted for Chevron in two separate pieces of trademark infringement litigation in which the defendant used the client’s name and marks without permission.
King & Spalding LLP is active across business aircraft acquisitions, disposals and financing transactions. Christopher Buchanan and Todd Holleman, who is based in New York, advised SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, as joint lead arranger, and SunTrust Bank, as administrative agent, on the close of a $125m senior secured syndicated revolving credit facility for helicopter operator Era Group. Transportation finance group head Jason Huff is ‘excellent’. Associates Mickey Jett, who handles equipment finance and leasing matters, and Derek Marks, are also key figures in the largely Charlotte-based team.
New York-based Kenneth Raskin heads the ‘highly responsive and capable’ practice at King & Spalding LLP, which regularly advises on ERISA and fiduciary compliance matters arising from mergers, company restructurings and other significant transactions. Newly made partner Laura Westfall assisted with the ERISA aspects of Carroll Organization’s $1bn portfolio acquisition from Lone Star Funds. Additionally, Raskin and Atlanta-based counsel Mark Kelly handled the benefits-related issues arising from HD Supply’s £380m acquisition of construction supplies company AH Harris. Also in Atlanta, ‘excellent adviser’ Samuel Choy is recommended for advising plan sponsors and fiduciary committees on plan investment and de-risking transactions for qualified retirement plans.
Private equity buyouts Tier 5
King & Spalding LLP has increased its emphasis on private equity in recent years, with considerable success in energy, infrastructure, healthcare and life sciences deals. Bringing a team with him, Jonathan Melmed joined the New York office in 2018 from Morrison & Foerster LLP, becoming co-chair of the private equity practice alongside Rahul Patel in Atlanta. The expanded group now advises clients including Arcapita Group, Brookfield Infrastructure Group, DE Shaw, HIG Capital, OMERS Private Equity and Starwood Energy Group. It is 'extremely practical and provides solution-oriented legal advice from partners to associates', is 'extremely well-coordinated', has a 'very broad skill set with all required specializations' and is 'user-friendly'. Melmed led a team that advised Starwood Energy on its $1.2bn agreement to acquire two combined-cycle gas turbine plants with a combined output of 1.7GW from Dominion Energy. In another headline deal, the firm advised Brookfield Infrastructure Group on its $1.1bn acquisition of 32 internet data centers in twelve countries across five continents from AT&T. Atlanta partner Raymond Baltz 'appreciates the environment that clients operate in', is 'adept at providing technical legal analysis to in-house lawyers as he is giving business-oriented legal advice to non-lawyers' and 'appreciates the business relationship between client and counterparty'.
Private equity buyouts Tier 5
King & Spalding LLP's practice operates from the firm’s offices in California, Atlanta, New York and Houston, and is very well known for its expertise in the life sciences and technology arenas. The 'very responsive' team, led by Laura Bushnell, recently advised HeartFlow on its Series E financing round, valued at $240m. The client roster also includes Microvi Biosciences, Apama Medical, YesVideo and Strobe. Judy O’Brien and Geoff Leonard, who is based in San Francisco, share leadership of the practice. Counsel Nathan Mihalik, based in Atlanta, is also a key contact. Unless otherwise stated, named attorneys are based in Silicon Valley.
King & Spalding LLP stands out for its sponsor-side expertise and advises on a range of high-value oil, gas and LNG project finance transactions. Vera De Brito de Gyarfas, who focuses on mandates involving energy projects in Latin America and Africa, and Scott Greer, who heads the construction transactional practice, are advising Anadarko on its $50bn Mozambique LNG export project. Highlights for projects and infrastructure head Ken Culotta included advising Magnum Energy on the $100m development and private equity financing for a barrel-refined products (aviation fuel, diesel, and motor gasoline) storage facility in Delta, Utah, while James Bowe in Washington DC is instructed by Mountaineer NGLs in the project development and financing matters relating to a natural gas storage project near Clarington, Ohio. In New York, the team has been bolstered by a number of recent additions, including counsel Frank Schoen, who joined from White & Case LLP, as well as several individuals from Morrison & Foerster LLP, including Jonathan Melmed, who co-chairs the firm’s global private equity practice and heads the US power and infrastructure practice. Named attorneys are based in Houston unless otherwise stated. Archie Fallon joined Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP in 2018.
King & Spalding LLP > Firm Profile
King & Spalding helps leading companies advance complex business interests in more than 160 countries. Working across a highly integrated platform of more than 1,100 lawyers in 21 offices globally, King & Spalding delivers tailored commercial solutions through world-class offerings and an uncompromising approach to quality and service.
Main areas of practice: Antitrust: tries cases to verdict and defends clients against criminal investigations, opt-out group actions, class actions, appellate matters and other antitrust litigation.
Business litigation: experienced in issues of antitrust, product liability, mass tort, patents and trade marks, class action certification, securities law, franchise law, white-collar defense, and consumer fraud.
Finance: located in offices across the US, Europe, Asia and Middle East represent lenders, investors, funds and borrowers in finance and other commercial transactions.
Employee benefits and executive compensation: advises on employee benefit plans and executive compensation programs and the related funding vehicles.
E-discovery: serves as lead national discovery counsel for Fortune 50 companies in the banking, energy, pharmaceutical, medical device, telecommunications, chemical, manufacturing and tobacco industries.
Energy: informs clients on a spectrum of transactional, regulatory, litigation and arbitration matters in the oil and gas, power and mining industries.
Environmental: assists clients with virtually every type of environmental issue – including regulatory and compliance advice, permit appeals, enforcement actions, and property damage claims.
FDA and life sciences: represents pharmaceutical, medical device, biotechnology, healthcare technology companies and food manufacturers in a range of regulatory, compliance, policy and litigation matters.
Financial restructuring: directs on reorganizations, including in-court and out-of-court debt restructurings, bankruptcy and insolvency litigation, and distressed asset mergers and acquisitions.
Global transactions: counsels clients through the entire project development process, from concept to ribbon-cutting, with particular emphasis on the energy and transportation sectors.
Government advocacy and public policy: supports clients in managing their interactions with the federal government including congressional investigations, international, and ethics and election law.
Healthcare: as one of the largest practices in the country, the firm is praised for its excellence in transactional, litigation and regulatory representation of clients across the spectrum of healthcare.
Intellectual property: aids clients with the development and strategic planning needed to handle patent and trade mark prosecution and intellectual property litigation matters that stretch across borders.
International arbitration: highly experienced in handling cases before major arbitral institutions such as the ICSID, ICC, LCIA and AAA, as well as under UNCITRAL and other ad hoc rules.
International trade and WTO: the team handles a wide range of international trade and customs matters for US and non-US clients.
Labor and employment: provides labor and employment services to employers ranging from preventive advice and training to litigation and representation under federal and state labor and employment laws.
Mergers and acquisitions: covers acquisitions of public and private companies, tender offers, joint ventures and partnering arrangements, purchases and sales of divisions, and takeover preparation and defense.
Pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical devices: a large team of the firm’s lawyers and professionals devote all or a substantial portion of their practices to clients in these industries, with specialized experience at every stage of the product life cycle.
Private equity and investment funds: draws on the lawyers’ extensive experience in fund formation, mergers and acquisitions, leveraged finance, Islamic finance, securities offerings, tax and restructuring.
Real estate: provides advice on a complete range of commercial real estate transactions. The real estate capital markets practice is known for creative structuring of mergers and acquisitions and complex equity and debt financing transactions.
White-collar: represents corporations and individuals in complex federal and state criminal investigations, internal investigations and congressional investigations.
Tax: covers range of federal income tax issues, with particularly extensive experience in the corporate, partnership and international practice areas.
Tort litigation: offers large-firm litigation resources and lawyers who have tried high-exposure tort cases, including in some of the most plaintiff-friendly jurisdictions in the US.
International practice: The firm’s international practices advise clients in cross-border mergers and acquisitions, trade and customs, e-commerce, energy, Islamic finance and investment, intellectual property, international trade marks, structured finance, and international arbitration and mediation. The firm has undertaken extensive work in Latin America, East Asia and in the Middle East, as well as for foreign companies investing in the United States.
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OtherChairman : Robert D Hays Other Offices : Abu Dhabi Other Offices : Dubai Other Offices : Frankfurt Other Offices : Geneva Other Offices : London Other Offices : Moscow Other Offices : Paris Other Offices : Riyadh Other Offices : Singapore Other Offices : Tokyo
Top Tier Firm Rankings
- Energy litigation: oil and gas
- Energy litigation: conventional power
- Healthcare: service providers
- International arbitration
- Product liability, mass tort and class actions: toxic tort - defense
- Transport: rail and road - finance
- Transport: rail and road - regulation
- Construction (including construction litigation)
- Corporate investigations and white-collar criminal defense
- Energy regulation: conventional power
- Energy: transactions: oil and gas
- Environment: litigation
- Healthcare: life sciences
- International trade
- M&A: middle-market ($500m-999m)
- Product liability, mass tort and class actions: automotive/transport - defense
- Product liability, mass tort and class actions: pharmaceuticals and medical devices - defense
- Structured finance: securitization
- Transport: rail and road - litigation
- Corporate governance
- Energy regulation: oil and gas
- Environment: regulatory
- General commercial disputes
- Government relations
- Insurance: advice to policyholders
- International litigation
- Real estate
- Real estate investment trusts (REITs)
- Securities litigation - defense
- Trademarks: non-contentious (including prosecution, portfolio management and licensing)
- Transport: shipping - litigation
- Capital markets: debt
- Capital markets: equity offerings
- Commercial lending
- Energy: renewable/alternative power
- ERISA litigation
- M&A litigation: defense
- M&A litigation: defense
- Product liability, mass tort and class actions: consumer products (including tobacco) - defense
- Trademarks: litigation
- Transport: aviation and air travel - finance
- Employee benefits, executive compensation and retirement plans: transactional
- Private equity buyouts
- Private equity buyouts
- Venture capital and emerging companies
- Project finance