Legal Business

King & Spalding’s London revenues up 16% as legal headcount lifted by 40%

King & Spalding’s London revenues up 16% as legal headcount lifted by 40%

Revenue at the London branch of US firm King & Spalding (K&S) surged 16% to £27.2m in 2014 as the firm rapidly expanded its legal team.

The rise in revenue in London, up to £27.23m from £23.43m in 2013, helped the firm increase profits across its UK and France partnerships by 10% according to recent filings at Companies House. Profit increased to £13.06m in the 12 months to 31 December 2014 from £11.8m in 2013.

London outpaced its Paris counterpart as the firm’s French office experienced a 6% drop in revenue to £10.15m in 2014.

Revenue growth in the City was spurred by a sharp increase in the number of lawyers. Lawyer headcount across Paris and London rose by 40% from 35 in 2013 to 49 in 2014. A big contributor to this was the arrival of several high profile partners, which included Linklaters capital markets partner Tom O’Neill. The number of partners across the two offices from 23 to 29, while the total number of staff employed by K&S rose by 34% to 87.

K&S has continued its rapid expansion into 2015 with the addition of Berwin Leighton Paisner’s head of advocacy Stuart Isaacs QC in January, Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson’s London head of disputes Nick Cherryman in April and Allen & Overy’s former European head of US law, Thomas Jones earlier this month.

The firm’s managing partner Garry Pegg said ‘The firm is committed to its growth strategy in London and last year’s performance shows that we are progressing, which is encouraging in one of the most competitive legal markets in the world.’

tom.moore@legalease.co.uk


Legal Business

King & Spalding steps up aggressive City push with A&O partner hire

King & Spalding steps up aggressive City push with A&O partner hire

King & Spalding has recruited Allen & Overy’s former European head of US law, Thomas Jones, as its raid on Global 100 firms in London this year continues.

The US firm, which in the last year has hired capital markets partner Tom O’Neill from Linklaters as well as the head of BLP’s advocacy group, Stuart Isaacs QC, has added Jones as a partner to its City office. His arrival brings the firm’s City partner count up to 22, after making seven senior hires in 12 months.

A&O confirmed the departure of derivatives and structured finance partner Jones today (9 October) after 20 years at the Magic Circle firm, having joined as an associate from Cravath, Swaine & Moore’s London office in 1995.

Jones made partner at A&O in 2000, and subsequently spent five years in Hong Kong during the mid-2000s as US financing infiltrated the Asia markets. He returned to London in 2008 and served a stint as European head of the firm’s US law practice.

Jones’ hire continues a recent lateral hiring spree by King & Spalding’s City office, with Latham & Watkins’ former European vice chair of tax, Daniel Friel, and disputes partner Nick Cherryman from Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson, also joining the firm this year.

International expansion has not been restricted to London, with the firm taking a four-partner team from Ashurst in June to launch its second Asia office in Tokyo, led by the Ashurst Tokyo managing partner, John McClenahan.

tom.moore@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

King & Spalding lands $12bn arbitration case against Russia for Pugachev

King & Spalding lands $12bn arbitration case against Russia for Pugachev

King & Spalding’s London office has been instructed on a $12bn arbitration brought against the Russian government by Sergei Pugachev, a tycoon once dubbed ‘Putin’s banker.’

The founder of Mezhprombank, Pugachev is taking Russia to arbitration after his business empire was carved up after falling out of favour with the country’s president Vladimir Putin. He alleges that government investigations against the bank were constructed because of ‘political motivations’.

Pugachev, who struck up a close friendship with Putin during his early years as president, was accused of embezzlement and fraud by Russian authorities and later fled to London. An English court has since ordered Pugachev to give up his Russian and French passports and remain in the UK while the Russian government’s Deposit Insurance Agency case against him continues. Pugachev, who lives in Battersea with his socialite partner Alexandra Tolstoy, a descendent of the novelist Leo Tolstoy, has had his assets frozen.

Arbitration partner Nick Cherryman, who joined King & Spalding’s London office from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson in April, is leading Pugachev’s $12bn claim. Fried Frank were acting for Pugachev in litigation brought in the English courts by the Deposit Insurance Agency but stopped after Pugachev could no longer pay for the work.

The case has been filed the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands, where Shearman & Sterling won Yukos shareholders a $50bn arbitration award in July 2014 after the Russian government systematically destroyed the energy company after its chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky became a political rival. Cherryman is being supported by Tom Sprange QC, who is also based in London. It is likely that the case will be filed for arbitration through Russia’s bilateral investment treaty with France, given Pugachev has a French passport.

tom.moore@legalbusiness.co.uk

Legal Business

King & Spalding secures four-partner Ashurst team for Tokyo launch

King & Spalding secures four-partner Ashurst team for Tokyo launch

Withers makes further Asia push with Japanese opening

King & Spalding chose Tokyo last month as its second base in Asia, hiring a team of Ashurst partners led by Tokyo managing partner John McClenahan to spearhead its launch, while private client specialist Withers also made moves in the region by establishing a Japanese tax practice.

Legal Business

Ashurst blow as King & Spalding secures four-partner team for Tokyo launch

Ashurst blow as King & Spalding secures four-partner team for Tokyo launch

King & Spalding has chosen Tokyo as its second base in Asia, hiring a team of Ashurst partners led by Tokyo managing partner John McClenahan to spearhead its launch.

The US firm has hired Ashurst partners John McClenahan, Mark Davies and Chris Bailey in Tokyo, and Rupert Lewi from Perth, to form the core team and launch the firm’s Tokyo office.

Project finance specialist McClenahan will continue his management position into King & Spalding, serving as managing partner of the firm’s 18th office, and has 20 years’ of experience in the Japanese market. Energy partner Lewi, meanwhile, returns to the Japanese capital five years after co-founding what was then Blake Dawson’s Tokyo office. The Australian firm then merged with Ashurst in 2012. He previously spent 12 years in Tokyo as a foreign lawyer and has a book of utility company contacts in the country.

Project finance and M&A specialist Davies and arbitration partner Bailey have a decade of experience each in Japan. Bailey arrives with experience of major African and Middle Eastern corruption investigations before regulators including the US Department of Justice and the UK’s Serious Fraud Office.

Well-known in the Tokyo market, the group represent major Japanese and Korean energy firms and advise on related work with export credit agencies, trading houses and financial institutions. With King & Spalding eager to spread its energy advisory network, the four-partner team have experience financing and acquiring companies and settling disputes arising out of major energy projects.

‘We are excited to build a new office around a top-tier team with deep roots in the Japanese legal marketplace and expertise in energy, projects, finance, construction and international arbitration,’ said King & Spalding chairman Robert Hays. ‘Given our momentum globally, strategic focus on energy, the growth of energy and related activity in Asia-Pacific, and the opportunity to launch with an internationally recognized group, Tokyo presents a real opportunity for us.’

McClenahan added: ‘The King & Spalding name is a calling card in the energy and international arbitration space in Asia,” said. “As a platform for growth, we see this as a great opportunity for each of us and we are excited about collaborating with our new colleagues across the firm.’

King & Spalding has rapidly grown its Singapore offering since opening in 2010, expanding to 10 partners focused on power, oil and gas and international arbitration. Richard Nelson, the former head of the Southeast Asia energy practice at Herbert Smith Freehills and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom projects partner Simon Cowled have both arrived in the past year.

Ashurst announced yesterday that Robert Burrows will take over as managing partner in Tokyo as it also changed leadership in Hong Kong.

tom.moore@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Listing in London – King & Spalding carries US biotech to AIM listing

Listing in London – King & Spalding carries US biotech to AIM listing

King & Spalding’s recent recruits in the City have helped handle Californian biotech company Verseon £300m stock market listing in London while Covington & Burling advised from San Francisco.

London corporate partners William Charnley and Tom O’Neill handled the listing on the Alternative Investment Market for the Californian company with support from partners in the US while Covington & Burling advised from San Francisco. K&L Gates’ London corporate chief Paul Tetlow advised Cenkos Securities, the nominated adviser and broker to Verseon. The move marked a turnaround from the stream of European drugs companies listing in the US to raise money for expansion.

US securities specialist O’Neill joined King & Spalding in November from Linklaters last year as part of the firm’s recent expansion in the City, which has continued into 2015 with the hire of Latham & Watkins’ former European vice chair of tax Daniel Friel in March and Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson’s London disputes head Nick Cherryman last month.

The listing gives Verseon a market capitalisation of £303m with it planning to use £61m to advance its current drug programmes, expand its drug pipeline into additional disease indications and develop its drug discovery platform.

The deal follows the work done by Markus Bauman, a US securities specialist who also arrived last November from Latham & Watkins, on mobile food ordering company Delivery Hero’s $589m purchase of Turkish peer Yemeksepeti which completed on Friday (8 May 2015). Bauman worked alongside Elisabeth Baltay who was brought in from Bingham McCutchen in October 2014.

tom.moore@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Global London: King & Spalding hires Latham’s Daniel Friel as it builds City office

Global London: King & Spalding hires Latham’s Daniel Friel as it builds City office

King & Spalding has hired Latham & Watkins’ former European vice chair of tax Daniel Friel, the latest in a number of strategic hires over the last 12 months as it looks to grow its London offering.

Friel has been a partner at Latham since 2006, after joining from Lovells where he had been head of the firm’s international tax practice. It took him just two years to gain a management position at Latham and was appointed European vice chair of tax and benefits in 2008.

With over 20 years of experience advising on tax planning matters on M&A and financing work, Friel becomes King & Spalding’s third tax partner in London. He is most well-known for his work advising private equity clients and sovereign wealth funds, and counts Bain Capital, Carlyle, Qatar Investment Authority and Deutsche Bank as clients, as well as having worked for brewer SAB Miller, ITV and brothers Sir David and Frederick Barclay. He also has experience in handling tax disputes and tax investigations by HMRC.

Commenting on Friel’s arrival, Abraham Shashy, leader of King & Spalding’s tax practice group said: ‘His tax expertise and extensive experience in building European tax practices at his previous firms make him a natural fit to help expand our European tax practices in London, Frankfurt and Paris.’

Friel becomes the 21st partner in King & Spalding’s London office, which pulled in £26.4m in revenue during 2014. His arrival follows that of fellow Latham partner Markus Bauman, a capital markets specialist who is New York-qualified, in November last year.

King & Spalding have secured a number of high profile hires in the past 12 months, including the founder of Berwin Leighton Paisner’s advocacy unit Stuart Isaacs QC in January this year and Linklaters partner Thomas O’Neill in November last year. The firm also launched a restructuring practice at the end of last year with the hire of Elisabeth Baltay from Bingham McCutchen’s collapsed London office.

Friel started his career as a chartered accountant with Coopers & Lybrand, which later went on to become PwC.

tom.moore@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

US financials 2014: King & Spalding breaks the $1m revenue per lawyer figure alongside 8% revenue boost

US financials 2014: King & Spalding breaks the $1m revenue per lawyer figure alongside 8% revenue boost

King & Spalding is the latest US firm to post its financials for 2014, and has unveiled a respectable 8% increase in revenue to $934m from $861.4m, while it has notably surpassed the $1m revenue per lawyer threshold with a 7% rise to $1.055m for the first time in the firm’s history.

Revenue growth over the last five years represented an overall increase of $250m or 38%. Meanwhile, profit per equity partner enjoyed a 10% increase to $2.36m from $2.14m the year before, while over the last 5 years the firm saw PEP increase 60%, while growing the partnership 15% (scale and profitability).

Net income grew 14% in 2014 and has nearly doubled over five years from $218m in 2009 to $400m in 2014. Other notable stats includes the firm’s profit margin improving by 12% over five years from 30% to 42%.

Major instructions for the firm last year included securing an arbitration award of $506m plus interest against the Republic of Kazakhstan on behalf of Moldovan investors Anatolie and Gabriel Stati and their companies, Ascom SA and Terra Raf Trans Traiding, constituting the largest award under the Energy Charter Treaty and the third-largest treaty arbitration award in history.

It further advised Kuveyt Turk Katilim Bankasi, a leading Turkish participation bank, on the issuance of $500m senior unsecured certificates due 2019, and represented the Greek government on landmark agreements for the award of the first new oil and gas exploration leases in the country for nearly 20 years, with an estimated investment value of €700m.

US firms’ financials are continuing their positive trend, with recent releases showing revenue spikes and profit boosts including for Davis Polk & Wardwell and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison which both broke the billion-dollar mark in gross revenues last year.

For more analysis of the surging US market see: The blessed – unheralded, Wall Street’s elite comes roaring back

sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Losing QCs: BLP’s plan to compete with the Bar hit by another advocacy exit

Losing QCs: BLP’s plan to compete with the Bar hit by another advocacy exit

Stuart Isaacs QC, the man brought in to lead Berwin Leighton Paisner‘s advocacy unit and compete with the Bar, has departed for King & Spalding.

Berwin Leighton Paisner launched its advocacy unit, to much fanfare, at the start of 2011. Isaacs was brought in to lead the unit, arriving from South Square barristers’ chambers, and his exit is the latest blow to an already depleted team.

Just last month, the brains behind the operation, head of arbitration Nicholas Fletcher QC, departed for 4 New Square. An influential board member, Fletcher launched the strategy to take disputes ‘from instruction to trial’.

The exit of two of the firm’s three Queen’s Counsel in just two months has hit that strategy hard with head of charities Janet Turner QC lacking experience with corporate work.

BLP said in a statement: ‘BLP will continue its focus on providing fully integrated dispute resolution services to its clients, including trial advocacy. We have nearly 30 solicitor advocates, partners who sit as arbitrators and part time as judges, and we have increasingly been conducting advocacy in International Arbitration particularly in London, Moscow, Abu Dhabi and Singapore. We intend to continue to build our team of senior trial lawyers/advocates.’

For King & Spalding, Isaacs becomes the firm’s second Queen’s Counsel this year, with head of arbitration Tom Sprange having been appointed as QC earlier this month. Isaacs has chaired the advocacy in over 200 commercial cases during a 30-year career and was the first London QC authorised by the Singapore Attorney General to practice as a foreign lawyer. He sits regularly as an arbitrator and is a deputy judge of the High Court of England and Wales.

Isaacs said that ‘King & Spalding has a superior disputes practice’ and announced that he plans to create the ‘one-stop-shop’ for disputes that BLP failed to realise. ‘I am glad to be partnering with King & Spalding’s talented, entrepreneurial team of lawyers who share my vision,’ he added.

He is the firm’s fourth partner hire in London since the start of October and the fourteenth disputes lawyer in the City office. King & Spalding hired capital markets duo Markus Bauman from Latham & Watkins and Tom O’Neill from Linklaters at the end of 2014. It also persuaded Bingham McCutchen restructuring partner Elisabeth Baltay to join King & Spalding rather than follow the exodus of that office to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer Feld.

‘Stuart enhances our disputes offering in London and Europe, as well as in Asia, where he has a fantastic reputation,’ said Reggie Smith, global head of King & Spalding’s disputes group. ‘He will contribute significantly to developing new business in London and securing opportunities that require strong advocacy at trial.’

tom.moore@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Bringing a ‘new dimension’: King & Spalding hires Linklaters securities partner

Bringing a ‘new dimension’: King & Spalding hires Linklaters securities partner

Linklaters’ partner Tom O’Neill has swapped Silk Street for Old Broad Street with King & Spalding making a double hire to anchor its capital markets practice in Europe.

A member of the New York Bar, O’Neill leaves Linklaters after 13 years as a partner. He specialises in corporate finance and securities offerings, representing issuers, sellers and underwriters in offerings of equity and debt securities.

He spent seven years in Linklaters Paris office before heading up the firm’s Turkey desk from London. He’s been involved in the £1.9bn privatisation of Royal Mail and the transactions for holiday retailer Thomas Cook Group and insurer Direct Line.

King & Spalding, which hired Bingham McCutchen’s London restructuring partner Elisabath Baltay last month, has also recruited Latham & Watkins New York-qualified counsel in capital markets Markus Bauman. The firm has brought him in as a partner in what marks a period of aggressive expansion for the firm. Bauman, who spent four years as executive director of Goldman Sachs’ investment banking legal department, joins after a recent spell in the debt capital markets legal department at JP Morgan.

‘Tom and Markus are strong additions to our corporate practice and bring us a new dimension,’ said Ray Baltz, head of corporate at King & Spalding. ‘Tom’s broad capital markets experience is a natural complement to the complex M&A, private equity and finance work we provide our clients, while Markus’s capital markets experience and his perspective as both in-house and outside counsel lend insight and depth to the firm’s growing European capital markets work.’

O’Neill added: ‘King & Spalding has a dynamic London office. We could not pass up the opportunity to work with the entire corporate team in London, New York and around the world to continue to build out the firm’s capital markets practice.’