Pittsburgh-based K&L Gates has entered the Delaware market with the opening of its newest office in Wilmington, tapping four former Potter Anderson & Corroon attorneys to establish the office, which will focus on alternative entities and transactions.
Scott E. Waxman, a former partner at Potter Anderson, will lead K&L Gates’ Wilmington office. He will be joined by Eric N. Feldman, Nicholas I. Froio and Christina M. Houston, who were all with Waxman at his previous firm.
The new office will focus on alternative business entities including limited liability companies, limited partnerships, statutory trusts and special purpose corporations. During their time at Potter Anderson, Waxman’s group regularly advised financial institutions in a wide variety of capacities such as indenture trustee collateral agent, servicer, intermediary paying agent, and independent manager and director actions.
In the past, Waxman has offered advice and opinions to a slew of Delaware limited liability companies, including an LLC formed to purchase a Major League Baseball team, an LLC seeking to provide $500 million in financing to Kingdom Films, which was an investor in 32 films distributed by the Walt Disney Co., and an LLC that sought a $2 billion securitization of U.S. and foreign motion picture receivables for Twentieth Century Fox and Universal Studios. He also provided advice to a Delaware partnership in connection with a proposed $5.6 billion merger between a real estate conglomerate listed on the New York Stock Exchange and a large private equity fund.
Potter Anderson declined to comment on Waxman’s departure.
Peter J. Kalis, K&L Gates’ chairman and global managing partner, said in a press release that establishing a Wilmington office and hiring Waxman’s group was important because alternative business entities are becoming increasingly popular, especially under Delaware corporate law.
"Delaware continues as the national center for formation of business enterprises, and these days newly-formed alternative business entities outnumber traditional corporations by three to one," Kalis said. "Our new team is unsurpassed in experience in this field, as their imprint is felt throughout Delaware law on the subject of alternative business entities."
Waxman agreed in a released statement on the value of K&L Gates having an alternative business entity practice in Delaware.
"Delaware’s business entity laws are among the most progressive and flexible in the nation, and we are excited to be expanding K&L Gates’ ability to advise and assist clients in many aspects of Delaware law," he said.
Waxman and Kalis did not comment beyond the press release.
K&L Gates is the second firm to launch a Wilmington office this year. Last month, Washington, D.C.-based Venable LLP opened a Delaware office, hiring former Bayard P.A. director and bankruptcy attorney Jamie L. Edmonson to manage it. In 2012, no outside firms entered the Delaware market.
The Wilmington office is the 48th office for K&L Gates and the 26th in the United States. Its opening comes less than two months after the firm opened a Houston office in February. The Houston office is led by Charles L. Strauss, formerly of Fulbright & Jaworski, and focuses on mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, public and private securities, corporate restructuring, joint ventures and international law, among other areas.
K&L Gates has opened seven new offices in 2013 including Wilmington and Houston. Earlier this year, the firm opened offices in Seoul, South Korea, and four locations in Australia.
The firm’s revenue remained stagnant between 2011 and 2012 as the result of revenue gains in Europe and Asia, which was offset by revenue decreases in the United States, as The Legal previously reported.
K&L Gates’ gross revenue in 2012 was $1.06 billion, just a dip below the $1.061 billion it earned in 2011. The largest bulk of that revenue, $924.9 million, came from U.S. operations in 2012. That was down 2.5 percent from the year before and K&L Gates attributed that to a 7 percent decrease in headcount in the Americas between 2011 and 2012.
Meanwhile, the firm had a strong year in Europe and the Middle East, increasing revenues in those markets by more than 17 percent from about $80 million to $93.8 million. The firm’s headcount in that region rose 13.4 percent year over year, including the opening of an office in Milan, K&L Gates said.
The firm’s Asia Pacific operations, which saw the addition of the new Seoul office in 2012, saw revenues grow 24.7 percent between 2011 and 2012 from $33.3 million to $41.5 million. Average headcount in those markets decreased 3.3 percent year over year, K&L Gates said.