King & Spalding launches London real estate practice with Fried Frank partner

King & Spalding is set to launch a London real estate practice on the back of the collapse of Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson’s City team.

Fried Frank’s London practice head Nigel Heilpern is set to join King & Spalding as a partner to launch its real estate practice in the City. No date has been given for real esate finance specialist Heilpern’s arrival.

The Lawyer reported in June (21 June 2012) that Fried Frank was quitting real estate in the UK after Heilpern and the firm’s New York management fell out over strategy and that King & Spalding had hired one of Heilpern’s associates at Fried Frank, Leo Wilson. The rest of Heilpern’s team left for Katten Muchin Rosenman.

“Nigel’s someone I haven’t worked with but who I’ve known of for years as one of the top real estate finance lawyers in the City,” said King & Spalding’s London co-managing partner Garry Pegg. “It’s a fantastic hire for us – we’re on a roll and it’s great to be part of it.”

According to Pegg, real estate is the last of the “building block” practices that the firm intended to launch in London to reflects its strengths Stateside.

“In the past year we’ve set up three practice groups in London: one was dispute resolution, another was competition, and now we have real estate. Those are the building blocks we need. We’re not going to be all things to all people in London, but the plan is to build in the areas that the firm is known for in the States.”

King & Spalding made another high-profile hire last week when it took on Mayer Brown corporate partner William Charnley (5 July 2012). In March the firm announced that it had hired two partners – Jane Player and Sarah Walker – from Bird & Bird’s disputes team in London (12 March 2012).