King & Spalding hires 13-partner West Coast team from Boies Schiller

Arrivals include Quyen Ta and David Willingham, who had co-led Boies Schiller's San Francisco and LA offices

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King & Spalding has hired 13 partners from Boies Schiller Flexner to help grow its trial and investigations practices in California.

The team includes Quyen Ta, who was previously co-head of Boies Schiller’s San Francisco office, and David Willingham, who was co-head of the firm’s Los Angeles office. Both will remain in those cities at King & Spalding.

The departures are the latest of a series from top New York-based litigation firm Boies Schiller, which recently installed a new management team after a run of bad publicity for the firm’s co-founder David Boies over his former representation of now convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein and his association with discredited blood-testing company Theranos, where he was a board member.

The other Boies Schiller recruits to King & Spalding are Albert Giang, Luan Tran, Michael Leslie, Michael Roth, Eric Pettit, Jeanne Fugate, Arwen Johnson, Craig Bessenger, Kelly Perigoe, Julia Bredrup and Lennette Lee. All 11 will join Willingham in Los Angeles.

Robert Hays, chairman of King & Spalding, said: “This is an outstanding team of highly accomplished trial lawyers, many of whom also have deep experience in the white collar and investigations space."

In a joint statement Ta and Willingham said: “We have worked with many of the firm’s [King & Spalding’s] California partners, and we value the firm’s commitment to its offices there. We’re excited to be part of the firm’s growth in this major market for business disputes.”

Willingham, a first-chair trial lawyer, had worked at Boies for three years, having joined from Caldwell Leslie & Proctor, where he was co-chair of its white collar crime and corporate compliance practice group.

Ta, who like Willingham is a first-chair trial lawyer, had worked at Boies Schiller for just over two years, having previously spent more than 11 years at Keker, Van Nest & Peters, eight of which as partner. 

Ta’s old co-head at Boies Schiller in San Francisco, Kathleen Hartnett, left the firm last month to join Cooley while in New York Fried Frank hired securities and shareholder litigators Robin Henry and Motty Shulman

Jenner & Block has also hired three partners from the firm in recent months.

In an interview with The Financial Times published yesterday (23 April), Boies Schiller co-managing partners Nicholas Gravante and Natasha Harrison said they were leading a restructuring of the firm that included an overhaul of its compensation system for younger lawyers as part of a plan to make it smaller, better organised and focused more heavily on big ticket litigation.

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