Private equity giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) has handed a Simpson Thacher & Bartlett corporate partner the role of its first ever general counsel.

New York-based partner David Sorkin will spearhead the group’s legal team after working at the US firm for 20 years.

It has been reported that KKR has considered appointing a general counsel for several years. The private equity house has employed in-house lawyers in the past, but Sorkin will be the first senior lawyer to be formally employed. As a mark of his seniority, Sorkin will become a partner in the firm.

Sorkin has a strong relationship with KKR having advised on a number of the group’s acquisitions including the high-profile RJR Nabisco takeover in the 1980s, Borden Inc and Duracell International.

Earlier this year the firm was appointed to advise on the private equity house’s proposed flotation on the New York Stock Exchange. As reported on (4 July) corporate partner Joseph Kaufman is leading the team advising on the IPO, which is expected to go ahead at the beginning of next year.