King & Spalding extends East Coast reach with Miami office launch

Atlanta giant appoints tobacco and consumer products trial practice head Randy Bassett as office head

Miami is a growing hub for crypto activity Shutterstock

King & Spalding is set to open an office in Miami as it looks to expand its trial, transactional and governmental capabilities and deepen its existing ties to the Sunshine State's bustling legal market. 

The office, which will be the firm’s 13th in the US and 23rd globally, will open its doors next month. A 12-partner team is set to relocate from King & Spalding’s other US sites to spearhead the launch, led by tobacco and consumer products trial practice head Randy Bassett, who will serve as office managing partner after relocating from the firm’s Atlanta headquarters.

Bassett, who has been with the firm since he began his legal career in 1992, specialises in the trial of high exposure product liability cases and has tried more than 30 cases to juries in the US. 

The twelve partners — all of whom have experience advising clients in Florida — will either be relocating full time or ‘will spend the majority of their time’ in Miami starting in February, while some 50 King & Spalding lawyers who are licensed to practice in Florida and regularly work on matters in the state will also use the office as a ‘base of operation’, the firm said on Wednesday. 

The partner team joining Bassett in Miami includes Val Leppert, Ray Persons, Harry Burnett, Jonathan Arkins, Erica Franzetti, Chris Kenny, Tom Spulak, Jeff Furr, Ursula Henninger and Cory Hohnbaum. 

Senior adviser Kendrick Meek, who represented the 17th Congressional District of Florida in the US House of Representatives between 2002 and 2010, will also be making the move. 

“The Miami office officially plants roots in a state where King & Spalding already has substantial capabilities, experience and connections,” said firm chairman Robert Hays. 

“Given Florida’s rapidly expanding economy and strategic importance more broadly in the US and Latin America, as well as the firm’s many clients with business and legal interests in the state, the Miami office will be an important hub for the firm and our clients,” he added. 

The firm’s past work in the state has included representing Florida clients in ‘hundreds’ of cases over the past two decades, including more than 100 jury trials in the past ten years. King & Spalding’s Floridian clientele includes several of the state’s largest hospital systems and healthcare providers. 

By opening a physical office in Florida, the firm said it hopes to strengthen its existing practices in the state, including its healthcare, international arbitration and mass tort and consumer class action practices. 

The office will also allow it to extend its government advocacy and public policy practice as well as its private equity, fintech and healthcare technology practices further into the Floridian market, the firm added. 

Last year, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan signed up Miami’s mayor, Francis Suarez, along with partners from Hogan Lovells and Greenspoon Marder to open an office in the city to tap into its expanding legal market. 

And in June US rival K&L Gates hired crypto duo Andrew Hinkes and Justin Wales from Calrton Fields in a move that boosted both its Miami and Los Angeles fintech practices. 

UK insurance giant Kennedys, meanwhile, also made some lateral moves in Miami last year when it added corporate insurance lawyer Eric Hiller as a partner alongside three associates from Clyde & Co in a bid to expand its reach into the US Virgin Islands. 


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