King & Spalding bolsters Middle East practice with Simmons hire

King & Spalding is set to add to its Middle East capability with the hire of Simmons & Simmons regional disputes and construction head Adrian Cole.

Cole, a contentious and non-contentious construction and engineering specialist, is set to leave Simmons to join the US firm, with a starting date unclear.

He is currently a partner in Simmons’ Abu Dhabi office, but King & Spalding could not confirm whether he will remain in the city or join the firm elsewhere in the region.

The firm said in a statement: “King & Spalding is continually on the lookout for talented lawyers whose careers and experience make them a good fit at the firm. Naturally, from time to time, we engage in direct discussions with these lawyers. However, as a matter of policy any such discussion is private, and we comment only when there is an official announcement.”

Cole will become King & Spalding’s eighth partner based in the Middle East, where the US outfit has outposts in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Riyadh.

Joining Simmons’ Abu Dhabi office in 2006, he was made partner in the construction practice in 2007 (2 May 2007). He is qualified in England and Wales and the Republic of Ireland and a trained mediator and arbitrator.

Simmons wished Adrian well in the new role and said the firm aims to expand its disputes practice in the Middle East.

The exit comes after the UK firm carried out a redundancy round in Abu Dhabi and Dubai earlier this year that affected lawyers and support staff (29 January 2012).

King & Spalding, meanwhile, made a string of hires across the region late last year, mostly in corporate and restructuring (4 October 2011). It has recruited a number of partners in London this year, including a disputes duo from Bird & Bird (12 March 2012).