2021 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
“Sophisticated clients and work.”
“Smart, kind team members.”
“Lack of transparency.”
“Associate compensation in the Atlanta office.”
“Annual bonus hour requirements.”
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 was appointed 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 22 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 expanded its Asia Energy practice with two new partners in Singapore and Tokyo whose practice focuses principally on corporate, project development, and finance matters in the international oil and gas industry, across the entire upstream, midstream, and downstream sectors, with a particular emphasis on LNG-related work.
K&S opened a Northern Virginia office, the firm’s 22nd office globally, to focus on M&A, Emerging Companies & Venture Capital, Technology Transactions and Outsourcing, and Government Contracts practices. The Tysons Corner office—together with the 250-lawyer Washington, DC, office—will continue to provide full-service offerings to technology and aerospace, defense, and government services clients.
K&S significantly expanded its Trial and Global Disputes team in Los Angeles and San Francisco with the addition of 13 partners, bolstering the firm’s trial bench across a spectrum of commercial litigation, white collar, and international arbitration matters.
K&S announced the opening of its Brussels office with the arrival of a new Life Sciences partner.
- K&S with co-counsel Georgia Innocence Project secured a new trial for pro bono client Dennis Perry after matching DNA recovered from the crime scene in 1985 to an alternate suspect during re-investigation of the case. (July 2020)
- King & Spalding advised Rockstar, Inc. which was acquired by PepsiCo for $3.85 billion. (Jan. 2020)
- Johnson & Johnson won complete summary judgment in Talc Litigation. (Jan. 2020)
- K&S headed an independent investigation for an NCAA Division I school from one of the “Power 5” Conferences, in connection with ethics and efficacy of a major sports program. (May 2018)
- Among Top Financial & Corporate Law Firms in Jurisdictions Worldwide, Oct. 2020—IFLR1000
- 2020 Government Investigations Firm of the Year, Sept. 2020— LMG Life Sciences
- Top Spot on Global Arbitration Review’s GAR 30 Ranking, July 2020
- 100 percent in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2020 Corporate Equality Index (eighth consecutive year) and designation of “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality,” January 2020
- Law360 has named six King & Spalding lawyers to its 2020 Rising Stars list, July 2020
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); Charles Katz (Northern Virginia); Donald F. Zimmer, Jr. (San Francisco); Timothy T. Scott (Silicon Valley); John H. Fontham (DC)
Total No. Attorneys 2020:
1K - 1.5K
Starting salary for first-year associates: $165,000–$190,000 (depending on location)
Summer Associate: $3,173–$3,654 (depending on location)
Recruiting contacts for all locations can be found on the firm website.
No. of U.S. Offices: 11
No. of International Offices: 11
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
Palo Alto, CA
San Francisco, CA
Washington, DC | Abu Dhabi
Corporate, Finance, and Investment
Life Sciences & Healthcare
Trial & Global Disputes
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.