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 as well as those of Borden and Duracell International.