WilmerHale raid increases King & Spalding NY woes

Washington DC-based WilmerHale has hired the head of Atlanta-headquartered King & Spalding’s New York office Michael O’Brien.

O’Brien’s departure is the latest in a damaging string of lawyer losses for King & Spalding’s New York base, including four in as many weeks in October last year when M&A co-head John Graham left for Clifford Chance, finance partner Dominick DeChiara and senior associate Brad Vaiana quit for Nixon Peabody, and private funds head Stephen Culhane joined Linklaters (The Lawyer, 30 October 2007).

However, patent litigator Robert Perry, who has replaced O’Brien as managing partner of King & Spalding’s Manhattan office, was upbeat, saying: “We will continue to develop our practices and explore opportunities in further service areas. We’re enthusiastic about the many opportunities before the firm as a whole and I expect the New York office to continue to be at the centre of many of them.”

O’Brien is the second partner to join WilmerHale’s corporate group in New York this year after Brian Margolis joined the firm from Proskauer Rose in May.