Wragge & Co has scored its first instruction from US law firm King & Spalding. The Atlanta-based firm, which launched an office in London last summer, has instructed Wragges' real estate group to advise on the lease of its new City headquarters.
Wragges partner David Birch is a close contact of John Cogan, who joined King & Spalding as a partner more than three years ago. Once he joined, Cogan instigated an informal referral system between Wragges and the US firm.
It seems that King & Spalding has decided that what is good enough for clients is good enough for the firm and has appointed Wragges to do its own property work.
King & Spalding has taken 884 square meters of space in City Place House, Basinghall Street from fellow US firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. The premises are currently being refurbished and the eight-strong team, which is headed by partner George Branch, will move there from its temporary accommodation in the spring.
Birch said: “We don't want to tie their [King & Spalding's] hands. However, my hope and expectation is that we will do further work for them in the future.”
The deal was officially run by London-based head of real estate Gerald Bland, but most of the work was sent to Birmingham to associate Samantha Todd. Bland said that the deal demonstrated how the two offices worked together.
Bland said that although the deal was not complicated, it was very sensitive because King & Spalding had to finalise terms on the property deal with Cleary Gottlieb before the firm could formally announce its entry into the London legal market.
According to Bland, since Wragges extended its real estate group into London it has been instructed on more than £150m worth of transactions. Meanwhile, the group has grown from two to nine lawyers in three months.
King & Spalding is not the only US firm that uses Wragges. It also has a relationship with Kirkland & Ellis. The Chicago-based firm, which uses Wragges for immigration and employment law advice, was also introduced to the firm through Birch.