King & Spalding Welcomes Lateral Hires, Elects New Partners

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 12:52

King & Spalding has recruited Merrick White, one of the most well-regarded oil and gas lawyers in Asia, as a partner in its energy practice, resident in the firm’s Singapore office.

Mr. White has spent the last 16 years in Singapore and Indonesia handling a wide range of legal, commercial, business development and engineering matters in the oil, gas and petrochemical industries. He is ranked by Chambers and Legal 500 for his projects and energy work in Singapore and Indonesia.

Mr. White has extensive in-house commercial experience, having served as a gas marketing manager for Clyde Petroleum, Gulf Indonesia and ConocoPhillips, and as a commercial manager and lead process engineer at British Gas Exploration and Production. Before becoming a lawyer, Mr. White was a chartered chemical engineer. He is a member of the Institute of Chemical Engineers.

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Judy O’Brien, a prominent corporate lawyer and one of Silicon Valley’s top dealmakers, joined King & Spalding as a partner in its Redwood Shores office on November 1.

Ms. O’Brien has played a leading role at many of Silicon Valley’s most innovative and influential companies over the last 30 years. She was named Dealmaker of the Year by The American Lawyer and appeared on Forbes magazine’s prestigious Midas Touch list for five straight years as one of venture capital’s most powerful dealmakers.

A partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati for over 20 years, Ms. O’Brien built a sizable corporate practice representing hundreds of businesses, including Sun Microsystems, Juniper Networks, KLA Tencor and LSI Logic. Ms. O’Brien left Wilson Sonsini in 2001 to co-found a venture capital fund, Incubic, and subsequently served as executive vice president of international strategy and general counsel of Obopay, an early-stage mobile payments company. Most recently, Ms. O’Brien has consulted on business and financing strategies for early-stage enterprises through her consulting firm, Laurel Advisors.

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Chilton Davis Varner, a senior litigation partner with King & Spalding, in Atlanta, has become president of the 5,700-member American College of Trial Lawyers, widely considered to be the premier professional organization of the most-respected courtroom lawyers in the United States and Canada. She served as the organization’s president-elect for the past year.

Ms. Varner is the second female president of the college. She was the first female partner in King & Spalding’s litigation practice and the first female to serve on the firm’s management committee. She has 30 years of courtroom experience as a trial lawyer defending corporations in product liability, business torts, contract and other commercial disputes. She has been identified by the National Law Journal as one of the top 10 women litigators in the United States, and Chambers USA continually has named her as one of the best U.S. product liability lawyers. Varner has served as trial and appellate counsel for a number of the largest U.S. manufacturers.

Currently, she represents several major pharmaceutical companies as national coordinating counsel or lead trial counsel in product liability litigation. Ms. Varner was appointed by Chief Justice of the United States William Rehnquist in 2004 and re-appointed by Chief Justice John Roberts in 2007 to the Federal Civil Rules Advisory Committee, where she has participated in the committee’s drafting of amendments governing electronic discovery and changes to the rules governing summary judgment and expert discovery. She also was a member of the 12-person American delegation to the 2004-2005 Anglo-American Legal Exchange, headed by U.S. Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer, Antonin Scalia and Sandra Day O’Connor.

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King & Spalding has announced that the following lawyers have been made partners in areas of strategic focus for the firm, effective January 1, 2013: Jonathan R. Chally, Atlanta (consumer class action and securities litigation); Paul R. Johnson, San Francisco (appellate litigation); C. Spencer Johnson, III, Atlanta (real estate funds formation/capital raising and investment; Brandt Leibe, Houston (government investigations and related litigation); Lauren Reeder McClurg, Washington, DC (pharmaceutical products liability and toxic tort litigation); Kevin D. Mohr, Houston (global disputes and related complex litigation); Robert T. Neufeld, Atlanta (patent portfolio counseling and prosecution); Adam Robison, Houston (health care transactional and regulatory); Cheryl A. Sabnis, San Francisco (complex litigation, including in the employment and products liability areas); Steven T. Snyder, Charlotte (patent litigation); Brad Thompson, Austin (complex commercial litigation and regulatory matters).

In addition, the firm promoted the following lawyers to counsel: Tom C. Childs, London (international arbitration); Jane Y. Cohen, Washington, DC (international trade compliance and investigations); Jennifer C. Kane, Atlanta (tobacco products liability litigation); Jennifer M. Miller, Atlanta (financial institutions transactions).