Former Director of Public Prosecutions Sir Max Hill KC joins King & Spalding in London

Atlanta-based firm cites ‘ever-increasing convergence of the civil, criminal and regulatory strands of the law’

Sir Max Hill KC, the former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) of England and Wales, has joined top 20 US law firm King & Spalding’s London office as a counsel.

Hill’s arrival is a genuine coup for the US firm, signifying its commitment to strengthening its disputes capabilities in London. It sees Hill become the latest lawyer to join an elite law firm after senior positions in public office, including his predeccesor as DPP, Dame Alison Saunders, who joined Linklaters. 

His arrival brings the number of King’s Counsel at King & Spalding to four, alongside London office managing partner Tom Sprange KC, Ruth Byrne KC, appointed in 2022, and John Savage KC.

“Max is one of the country’s most respected legal minds and accomplished advocates,” Sprange said. “His high-level experience in private practice and within the CPS will give our disputes and regulatory clients a new level of insight when navigating complex international investigations and litigation.” 

Mark Jensen, head of special matters and investigations and managing partner of King & Spalding’s Washington DC office, added: “The ever-increasing convergence of the civil, criminal and regulatory strands of the law demands sophisticated and holistic solutions, and Max can address all three angles. Having served as the UK’s chief prosecutor, Max has unparalleled insight into British and multi-jurisdictional investigations that are the core of the special matters and government investigations practice at King & Spalding.”

Hill, who was head of criminal law set Red Lion Chambers from 2012 until 2018 and chaired the Criminal Bar Association from 2011 to 2012, has been at the forefront of some of the most high-profile criminal trials in British history. 

Notably, his roles have included both defending and prosecuting in landmark cases such as the Damilola Taylor murder trial and the 7/7 London bombings.

His experience in corporate and business crime, which will be more relevant to his new firm, spans both prosecution and defence.

He acted for Norton Healthcare in Operation Holbein, the Serious Fraud Office’s (SFO’s) cartel investigation and prosecution of the pharmaceutical industry. At the same time, he represented the lead Citibank defendant in the SFO/Department of Justice FOREX investigation.

He also served as lead counsel for the SFO probe into the Kazakh mining group Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation, one of its longest-running and most complex investigations, which it dropped last August due to “insufficient admissible evidence to prosecute”. 

Hill’s expertise is not confined to the courtroom; he also served as the UK’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation between 2017 and 2018, a role that further solidified his standing as a leading legal mind in national security. 

Hill was succeeded in the role of DPP by Stephen Parkinson, former senior partner at Kingsley Napley, last year. Other barristers to join US law firms include former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith KC, a counsel at Debevoise & Plimpton, and Stuart Alford KC, who spent seven years as a partner at Latham & Watkins. 

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