DLA Piper has brought on former KPMG international tax group head Kevin Glenn as a partner in New York, following a one-year stint at King & Spalding.
King & Spalding touted the 22-year partner at the Big Four firm as a significant addition to its transactional practice when he came aboard in February 2018. But after an external recruiter pointed Glenn toward DLA Piper, he concluded that the global firm would be able to cater more directly to his expertise on international taxation.
“The platform at DLA Piper, because of its global footprint, where they have resources in dozens of jurisdictions outside the U.S., as well as a substantial U.S.-based international tax group, makes it an exciting opportunity for me,” he said. “Not to take anything away from King & Spalding, which is an excellent firm, but tax is more of a focus here than it is there.”
Glenn cited his new firm’s capabilities in cross-border acquisitions, dispositions and other transactions. His practice involves offering tax advice on these deals to clients in industries such as consumer products, financial institutions, automotive, retail and pharmaceutical companies.
He said he was encouraged by the success of several other Big Four veterans at DLA Piper, including former KPMG colleagues Sang Kim, co-chairman of the firm’s global tax practice, Gerald Rokoff, co-chairman of its transactional tax practice, as well as Philip Rogers, once a competitor of his at Ernst & Young.
“It shows me that tax is an area of emphasis and has an influence on the firm’s direction and where they make investments,” Glenn said.
A spokeswoman for King & Spalding did not respond to a request for comment.
Kim called Glenn one of the few attorneys in the tax arena who is able to ”combine exceptional technical skills with creativity and insight.”
“There are people who are very technical: they tell you where all the speed bumps and problems are, but also he can take you to next level and tell you what the solutions are,” he continued.
Kim noted that Glenn was one of several significant recent additions for the firm’s tax practice, which grew revenues at nearly 15 percent in 2018, buoyed by post-tax reform-related engagements from both existing and new clients. That’s close to double the firm’s overall revenue growth over the last year.
Earlier in 2019, the firm hired partners Joseph A. Myszka and Daniel Robyn from Baker McKenzie and principal economist Barbara Mace, a transfer pricing specialist, from EY. Kim said he considers Baker McKenzie and the Big Four firms DLA Piper’s closest competitors in the international tax arena.
“As they enter into the legal realm more substantially, they will enhance their capabilities and that will allow them to compete more effectively,” Kim said of the Big Four.
“At the end of the day you have to deliver what you say you will. That earns you the next opportunity and the next client,” he continued. “We’re playing the long game with folks being incredibly client-aware and client-focused. That’s why our market share is growing in spite of the dynamics that are playing out.”