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  • Chicago office to focus on government investigations, litigation, and work across the financial services and life sciences sectors

King & Spalding today announced that Zachary Fardon, recent U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, has joined the firm as a partner and will open the firm’s office in Chicago. The new office, King & Spalding’s 20th globally and 10th in the U.S., expands the firm’s international platform into the Midwest with a particular focus on government investigations, related commercial litigation, and work across the financial services and life sciences sectors.

Fardon is an accomplished trial lawyer who has gained national recognition both as a commercial litigator in private practice and as a government prosecutor handling dozens of high profile cases, including the successful prosecution of former Gov. George Ryan.

“Zach is a marquee hire who continues the long tradition at King & Spalding of returning from public practice to build successful litigation and investigations practices at the firm,” said Robert D. Hays, Jr., chairman of King & Spalding. “Chicago has been a target for our disputes and transactional practices for some time. We are thrilled to have a decorated lawyer like Zach— with a team-first mentality and entrepreneurial spirit — leading our efforts to build a permanent presence in the region.”

“I had the good fortune to work with Judge Griffin Bell, our senior statesman at K&S when I was an associate, and always admired his extraordinary path from government service to private practice,” said Fardon. “That model, combined with the firm’s momentum and its culture of civility and collaboration, made returning to the firm the logical choice for me. K&S has a remarkable track record of extending its platform around the world, and I am excited to have the opportunity to do so in Chicago. The city, as the home of current K&S clients and headquarters to many other public companies — all with significant litigation and transactional needs — is a natural next step for the firm.”

Fardon began his career at King & Spalding in Washington, D.C. (1992-1996).  He left to serve as state public defender in Nashville (1996-1997), then Assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago (1997-2003), and First Assistant U.S. Attorney in Nashville (2003-2006). He joined Latham & Watkins in 2007, eventually chairing its litigation department in Chicago for three years before he left to serve as U.S. Attorney in Chicago (2013-2017). In that role, Fardon led and managed more than 300 employees. In 2016, he was inducted as a Fellow into the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers. Fardon received his B.A. and J.D. from Vanderbilt University, where he was an Editor of the Law Review. (See Appendix for additional biographical information.)

Fardon, who will serve as the managing partner and head of litigation of the new office, has a history of building dynamic teams both in the public sector and private practice. The Chicago office expects to add additional lawyers in the near term and open a permanent location in the West Loop in September.

Fardon’s arrival adds to an award-winning Special Matters & Government Investigations practice, comprised of over 100 lawyers in 14 offices throughout the world, dedicated to white collar criminal defense and related civil fraud litigation, making it one of the largest and most respected such practices in the world. The team has been nationally acclaimed as White Collar Practice Group of the Year in 2017 by Law360, among other recognitions. The team has handled investigations before more than 70 of the 93 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in the United States and every litigating division of the Justice Department. It also has appeared before the Securities Exchange Commission and all 12 of its Regional Offices, and handled multinational investigations involving approximately 80 countries. It proudly counts among its distinguished alumni Chris Wray, the most recently confirmed and current Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“Zach is the perfect lawyer and person to lead our Chicago office,” said Wick Sollers, practice group leader of the Special Matters & Government Investigations practice and Managing Partner of the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. “Zach’s exceptional judgment and experience as Co-Head of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of the U.S. Attorneys White Collar Crime Subcommittee and as chair of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Working Group, will make him an invaluable counselor for our clients with concerns across enforcement and regulatory agencies, both in Chicago and nationwide.”

Andy Bayman, co-head of the firm’s Healthcare and Life Sciences practice commented, “Chicago has been an important strategic focus of our FDA, Medical Device and Life Sciences lawyers for many years, as the home base to so many leading players in the sector, including a number of our existing clients. Zach is a special and unique talent, who will be an immediate resource for our life sciences clients, and we are delighted to help him grow the Chicago office.”

Carolyn Alford, leader of the firm’s Finance practice, added, “Financial Institutions and the associated finance and restructuring work have been a focal point of the firm and an area of strength. Chicago is a world-class financial hub, with existing firm clients headquartered there and new potential clients in the sweet spot of our practice. With Zach’s arrival, we look forward to leveraging our award-winning Finance and Restructuring team to help build our Chicago office.”

Fardon joins other high-profile King & Spalding hires this year, including tort litigator John Hooper and corporate M&A partner Jim Woolery in New York, and over 20 other partners in Austin, Houston, London, Los Angeles and New York who are also recognized leaders in their practices. Investments in talent and the new office reflect the firm’s strong financial performance over the past decade. As result of substantial growth and profitability, King & Spalding most recently reported over $1 billion in revenue, more than 1,000 lawyers worldwide and $2.5 million profits per partner.