2020 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
“The people are simply the best.”
“Opportunities for substantive experience as a junior or mid-level associate.”
“Unequal policies across the U.S. offices regarding pay and bonuses.”
“Lack of transparency.”
“The long hours.”
About King & Spalding LLP
Over its 130-year history, King & Spalding has branched far from its Southern roots to open offices across the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, giving Left Coast and Yankee firms a run for their money. With stellar corporate and litigation practices, the firm counts among its longtime clients Atlanta-based Coca-Cola—a history of partnership evidenced by the old-fashioned soda fountains found in some K&S offices.
A King Rises
In 1885, Alex C. King and Jack J. Spalding founded what eventually became Atlanta’s largest law firm. Among the firm’s early matters was extensive service for the railroad industry—a crucial factor in Atlanta’s post-Civil War rebuilding. And like true royalty, the firm was rich in connections—in 1918, King’s former colleague Woodrow Wilson appointed him U.S. Solicitor General, and in the 1940s, Spalding’s son Hughes forged many of the firm’s key alliances, including those with Coca-Cola and Trust Company Bank.
In the late 20th century and into the early 21st century, the firm began a series of expansions that made it into the global firm it is today, first opening shop in DC, followed by New York and Houston. The expansion bug bit, and the firm continued its growth both in the U.S. and on an international scale, now boasting 20 offices worldwide.
With an eye toward the increasing multi-disciplinary nature of today’s legal practice, King & Spalding has taken a new approach to its practice areas. The firm is now organized into three large practice groups: Trial & Global Disputes (Litigation); Corporate, Finance & Investments (Transactional), and Government matters (Regulatory/Investigations). The firm counsels clients across myriad industries, including automotive, transportation, and mobility; energy; financial services; food and beverage; franchise & hospitality; government investigations; and life sciences and health care.
The firm is particularly well known for its work in health care, boasting one of the largest health care practices in the U.S. The practice is cross disciplinary, with litigators, transactional lawyers, and regulatory lawyers joining forces to address client needs. The firm is among the top five in Vault’s Health Care Practice Area Ranking.
Another notable area at the firm is its energy practice, which features a deep bench of 250 lawyers. The firm serves a range of clients in the oil and gas industry and also counsels on matters relating to conventional power; district energy, cogeneration, and trigeneration; energy storage; hydropower; nuclear power; and renewables.
Lawyers at King & Spalding are encouraged to network with each other. One way the firm fosters these relationships is through Connect K&S, which is an office visit program through which associates can travel to other offices on the firm’s dime. Since matters are assigned across offices, this program allows associates to strengthen relationships with those they are working with in other locations.
News & Awards
K&S announced that international trade specialist Marie-Sophie Dibling joined the firm as a partner in its International Trade Group. She will be resident in Brussels and will collaborate closely with the firm’s offices in Geneva; Paris; Frankfurt; London; and Washington, DC.
K&S elected 30 new partners and promoted 11 counsel across 10 offices. The partner elections span seven offices (Atlanta, Chicago, Frankfurt, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, DC.
K&S in London assisted human rights organization JUSTICE to update its guidance on the criminal appeal system.
K&S celebrates Founders Day with global community service effort. K&S volunteers donated their time to support children’s hospitals and health organizations in our communities in honor of our firm’s Founders Day. Founders Day is a firmwide community service initiative that celebrates the legacy of service and community engagement that was established by our founding partners more than 130 years ago.
- K&S advised TSYS, a leading global payments provider, in its all-stock merger of equals with Global Payments in a transaction creating a $54 billion company.
- K&S assisted Xerox’s third-largest shareholder, Darwin Deason, to block a proposed $6.1 billion transaction in which Xerox agreed to sell a controlling stake in the company to FujiFilm Holdings Corp.
- K&S successfully represented Chevron and its indirect subsidiary, Texaco Petroleum Company, in a $9.5 billion international arbitration judgement against the Republic of Ecuador.
- A multi-practice, cross-office K&S team defended SCANA Corporation’s electric utility subsidiary, South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. against lawsuits and in criminal and SEC investigations.
- Chambers USA has recognized King & Spalding as one of the top law firms in the United States. The firm earned 132 individual lawyer rankings and 50 practice rankings. (2019)
- Corporate Board Member magazine has named King & Spalding one of America’s Best Corporate Law Firms. (2018)
- Law360 Names King & Spalding a 2018 Law Firm of the Year, Recognizes Seven of its Practices as Practice Groups of the Year.
- Acritas Research Ranks King & Spalding Among Top 20 U.S. Law Firm Brands. (2019)
- K&S Again Named Among Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality by the Human Rights Campaign (2019)
1180 Peachtree Street, NE Suite 1600
Atlanta, GA 30309
Phone: (404) 572-4600
Chairman: Robert D. Hays Jr.
Recruiting Chairs: Michael E. Paulhus (Atlanta); Adam Gray (Austin); Mark V. Thigpen (Charlotte); Zachary Fardon (Chicago); Brandt Leibe (Houston); Peter A. Strotz (LA); Ellen M. Snare (NY); Donald F. Zimmer, Jr. (SF); Timothy T. Scott (Silicon Valley); John H. Fontham (DC)
Total No. Attorneys 2019:
1K - 1.5K
Starting salary for first-year associates: $165,000–$190,000 (depending on location)
No. of Summer Associates:
87 total (76 2Ls; 11 1Ls) (2019)
See firm website for more information.
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
San Francisco, CA
Palo Alto, CA
Corporate, Finance and Investment
Trial & Global Disputes
Life Sciences & Healthcare
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.