The Legal Cheek View

From humble beginnings in 1885 as a US transportation specialist, King & Spalding have done little else other than expand and grow. Now totalling 23 offices across the US, Europe, Japan, Singapore, and the Middle East, the emerging giant shows no signs of slowing down soon, and has the financials to back it up. Breaking over the $2 billion mark in the previous financial year and posting an impressive $4.7 million (£3.7 million) profits per equity partner (PEP), the firm have doubled their revenue over the last seven years.

Not to be outdone by the 22 other hubs, the London office have been pulling their weight over recent years. Striving forward in the growth department, they have recruited the likes of Ben Emmerson KC, a leading public international law barrister formerly of Monckton Chambers, and poached a host of partners from rivals Morrison Foerster, Jones Day, Paul Hastings, Dickson Minto, and Reed Smith in the past year alone.

As for the work itself, in line with their expansive approach King & Spalding now offer global support for a range of matters. The firm’s work is broadly divided into four categories: corporate, finance and investments, government matters, trial and global disputes, and industries/issues. Within these fields the London office is recognised for its banking and finance, and corporate/M&A work, along with its focus on energy and natural resources and both public international law and international arbitration.

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During their training rookies are exposed to the whole range of the firm’s business. This includes, but is certainly not limited to; banking, disputes, energy and projects, finance, international arbitration, international trade, Islamic finance, M&A, real estate, and tax. In order to cover all of this work with such a streamlined crew, new associates are expected to hit 1,800 hours over the calendar year — not an easy task, but by no means the highest standard set by a US firm in the City. The reward just might, however, make the hours worth it. For the lucky rookies who secure a training contract, the starting salary is £50,000, rising to £55,000 in year two, before jumping to a whopping £156,000 upon qualification. When you throw in the £17,000 SQE support, and an additional £17,000 to fund the conversion course, things are looking pretty good – financially, anyway! All of that is without even mentioning the swanky office situated at 125 Old Broad Street, the former home of the London Stock Exchange.

And then there’s the impressive clientele list. Appearing are the likes of Mitsubishi, Western Union, Deutsche bank, the governments of Mongolia and Turkey, Shell, EDF, Total, MasterCard, and Air Canada. But the firm also likes to give back with 53,000 pro bono hours to its name in 2021. One of the most high-profile cases of that year involved the firm taking the case of the murder of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko to the European Court of Human Rights, successfully reaching a judgment that the Russian state was responsible for the killing. This is alongside numerous cases in the US concerning the death penalty, human trafficking, asylees, and, more recently, transgender law and practices.

This pro bono and community focussed approach is bolstered by the firms over 100 non-profit partner organisations. Much alike the client list, here you can find all of the big names in the charitable sphere. The Red Cross, UNICEF, and various UN entities make the list, as do Human Rights Watch, Feeding America, and an eccentric number of legal aid, justice, innocence, and civil rights and liberties organisations. For those looking for a big pay packet, hard but interesting work, and the chance to give back to the community nationally and internationally, this is certainly not a firm to be missed!


First year trainee salary £50,000
Second year trainee salary £55,000
Newly qualified salary £156,000
Profit per equity partner £3,700,000
PGDL grant £17,000
SQE grant £17,000


Annual target hours 1,800
Annual leave 25 days


Chances of secondment abroad Undisclosed
Chances of client secondment Undisclosed

General Info

Training contracts 4
Latest trainee retention rate 100%
Offices 23
Countries 9
Minimum A-level requirement No minimum
Minimum degree requirement No minimum


UK female associates Undisclosed
UK female partners Undisclosed
UK BME associates Undisclosed
UK BME partners Undisclosed