Congratulations to Kilpatrick Stockton for making it on to Serco’s rejigged panel. It’s a great coup for the US firm’s revitalised London office, which was effectively reborn in 2003 with the hire of 14 partners and 25 lawyers from the defunct Altheimer & Gray.
In case you didn’t know, Kilpatrick is an IP-heavy US firm, with some 100 lawyers in the States doing solely IP. It’s also strong in international arbitration and global infrastructure, hence its inclusion on Serco’s projects and corporate panel.
The projects practice is actually doing rather well. It won a place on the Partnership for Schools panel, the public body supporting the Building Schools for the Future programme, in March, and has been recruiting ferociously, with Pinsent Masons partner Andrew Walsh among the recent hires.
The IP team has also seen lift-off since January, when former Simmons & Simmons London IP head Helen Newman and New York IP head Christopher Woods arrived. Four Simmons assistants have also come on board since then, along with IP work from a decent number of former Simmons clients. And for pop fans, it also acts for REM.
The problem is not the work, it’s the name. Now, The Lawyer takes pride in the fact that it has never before uttered these words, but it would suggest Kilpatrick goes in for a spot of rebranding. Frankly, it’s just far too confusing to have Kilpatrick Stockton and Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham (let’s leave Kirkland & Ellis out of it) all kicking around the same market. A word of advice: nobody knows who you are. As one City partner remarked when asked about Kilpatrick: “What are they, some Scottish firm?”
Even Serco general counsel Mark Duckworth must be confused. Guess which firm used to handle Serco’s projects work? Altheimer. After the split partners not only went to Kilpatrick, they also landed at Kirkpatrick. Which is the same firm that also hired former Addleshaw Goddard IT partner John Entstone in March this year, who is the same partner that advised Serco when it was part of a consortium on two, subsequently failed, bids for regional IT contracts. Confused?
The question is: does Duckworth know who he’s hired? In its usual spirit of generosity, The Lawyer has a suggestion: shorten the names and get shot of the confusing ‘K’ monickers.
Call one ‘Lock’ and the other ‘Stock’. Merge with Virginia-based Davies Barrell Will Lewellyn & Edwards and, with some judicious editing, the problem will be solved.