Thomas Keim Jr.

Continuing its aggressive expansion into Chicago, King & Spalding has landed its first corporate partner in the Windy City, bringing on former Latham & Watkins Chicago corporate department chair Thomas “Ted” Keim.

Keim comes to King & Spalding after 19 years at Latham, where he also was a member of the firm’s finance committee and a former member of its strategic client committee.

He is the sixth partner to join King & Spalding’s Chicago office since it was launched in September by former U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon of the Northern District of Illinois, who earlier in his career was a colleague of Keim’s at Latham. But the goal is to keep adding more.

“We’re being very opportunist about that,” Keim said. “I think we absolutely have a desire and focus to grow all practices here in Chicago.”

A Chicago native, Keim went to law school on the South Side at the University of Chicago. He also started out his legal career as an associate at the Chicago firm Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg.

Keim focuses his practice on private M&A, and also handles company representation—“everything between the deals.” He called Chicago a “phenomenally compelling” market for deals at the moment, saying that opportunities extend from the upper middle-market and beyond. Highlights include pharmaceuticals, industrials, and the transportation and hospitality industries.

“There’s a ton of work right here and a lot of excitement in the market,” he said.  

Keim acknowledged exploring opportunities with other firms, but he flagged his relationship with Fardon as a selling point.

“Having worked with Ted, I have seen him lead complex, high-value transactions and build cross-discipline teams that have a strong client-service focus,” Fardon said in a statement. “He is a perfect cultural fit for King & Spalding, with the right balance of legal experience and the leadership skills needed for building out a practice here in Chicago.”

Keim also touted the “energy and vision” of King & Spalding chairman Robert Hays.

“They’re really focused on the future and where this firm wants to be in the next five, 10, 15 years,” he said. “They’re implementing plans, and the teamwork is palpable as an interviewee.”

“Ted is a wonderful friend and talented lawyer, and we wish him all the best,” a Latham spokesperson said.

Keim’s arrival at King & Spalding follows a flurry of Chicago partner hires in January, most of which came in the white-collar and government investigations realm. Patrick Otlewski joined directly from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago, while Patrick Collins—who’d earlier prosecuted Illinois Gov. George Ryan with Fardon when both were AUSAs— came aboard from Perkins Coie. Collins’ Perkins Coie colleague Jade Lambert also made the move at the same time.

Another Chicago partner, Brad Giordano, joined the firm’s financial restructuring practice from Kirkland & Ellis that same month.

The firm has recently been growing on the West Coast as well, adding former U.S. Rep. Daniel Lungren, R-California, in April as senior counsel in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., along with Los Angeles health care partner Torrey McClary from Hogan Lovells in March.