1885 meeting of minds new

1885

A meeting of minds

King & Spalding was born on January 1, 1885, as a partnership between Alexander King, an erudite “lawyer’s lawyer” with a love of case law and precedent, and Jack Spalding, a keen and charismatic negotiator. Both were largely self-taught, owing to the dislocations of the American Civil War. Messrs. King and Spalding built their early business in the transportation sector, leaving their imprimatur on railroad consolidations, receiverships and steamship line development.

1914 1929 statesmanship new

1914–1929

Statesmanship

True to the founders’ early affinity with lawmakers, Alexander King answered the call in 1919 to become Woodrow Wilson’s U.S. Solicitor General. He later served on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The firm’s industry client base evolved throughout the early 1900s to include textiles, food and beverage, and banking. Mergers and acquisitions, contract law and corporate transitions became new areas of focus as new companies formed – and were transformed.

1930 1940 deeper roots new

1930–1940

Deeper roots

During the 1930s and ‘40s, the firm deepened its relationship with longstanding clients such as Coca-Cola, whose involvement with King & Spalding dates to the landmark 1921 settlement with bottlers over syrup price contracts. Following partner Sumter Kelley’s municipal bond work in the 1930s, King & Spalding would become the first firm in the Southeast to be accepted as bond counsel by the Wall Street banking and investment firms.

1940 1950 partnership expands new

1940–1950

Partnership expands

During the World War II era, a third generation of lawyers entered the firm, many combining legal work with active military duty. In 1949, the firm began hiring graduates other than the sons or other relatives of present partners. Higher education became a signature cause. Hughes Spalding was named chairman of the Georgia State Board of Regents, starting a lengthy involvement with Morehouse College, Atlanta University and the University of Georgia.

1950 1960 shaping the times new

1950–1960

Shaping the times

Many lawyers lent their expertise to the defining policy issues of the time. They included John Sibley, chair of the Sibley Commission on public school desegregation. Robert Troutman worked toward the integration of Atlanta businesses. Partner Griffin Bell co-chaired John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in Georgia and was later urged by Robert Kennedy to serve as a judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals — the same bench once served by founder Alexander King.

1960 1970 blueprint for growth new

1960–1970

Blueprint for growth

By the mid-1960s, King & Spalding’s client base expanded beyond the Southeast and anchor industries. The automobile industry was an area of sustained growth, as the firm forged a reputation in liability cases.

1970 1980 capital presence new

1970–1980

Capital presence

King & Spalding partners ascended to key political positions during the Carter Administration. Longtime Carter confidant Charles Kirbo was a close White House adviser, and Griffin Bell served as U.S. Attorney General. In 1979, the firm opened a Washington, D.C. office, its first outside of Atlanta, to better serve clients on FDA matters. Today, the office is renowned as a leader across a host of government advocacy, regulatory and enforcement areas.

1980 2000 milestones new

1980–2000

Milestones

The 1980s saw the firm elect its first women and African American partners, furthering an ongoing commitment to bring a diversity of experience, backgrounds and points of view to the counsel we provide our clients. Pursuing new opportunities related to the rapid corporate expansion of the 80s, King & Spalding established its New York office in 1990. In 1995, the firm opened in Houston to better serve the needs of energy companies.

2000 2010 global footprint new

2000–2010

Global footprint

Trends in secular globalization demanded strategic expansion into emerging global hubs. The opening of the London office in 2003 was followed closely by offices opened in the Middle East, Geneva, Frankfurt and Paris. In the U.S., King & Spalding pushed deeper into high-innovation industries such as life sciences and technology, establishing a West Coast presence with offices in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The firm opened offices in Austin and Charlotte to further expand services for clients in the energy and corporate finance sectors.

2010 present a new millennium new

2000-2017

A new millennium

We continue to expand our global platform with offices in Los Angeles, Moscow, Tokyo and Singapore, where client-focused work in energy, life sciences, international arbitration, commercial disputes and transactional law point the way forward. Today, with more than 1,000 lawyers across our closely integrated platform of 19 offices worldwide, King & Spalding is recognized as a Global 50 law firm serving half the Fortune 100.

Looking ahead new

2017+

Looking ahead

We will continue to align with our clients’ needs and market dynamics, shaping our offerings to serve clients in pursuit of complex business objectives.

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1885
1914–1929
1930–1940
1940–1950
1950–1960
1960–1970
1970–1980
1980–2000
2000–2010
2000-2017
2017+
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