King & Spalding Hires Jennifer Recine-Led Kasowitz Team to Business Litigation Group

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International law firm King & Spalding has hired Kasowitz Benson TorresJennifer Recine, Sarmad Khojasteh and David Kupfer as partners in the firm’s business litigation practice, Commercial Observer has learned. 

The three will be based in King & Spalding’s New York office, starting this week. 

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“Jennifer, Sarmad and David are formidable litigators who have grown impressive practices in real estate litigation and a wide variety of other complex commercial litigation,” Damien Marshall, co-chair of the firm’s business litigation practice group, said in prepared remarks. “There are strong synergies between their practices and ours that will enable us to together deepen many client relationships across our platform and continue to expand our litigation practice.”

The trio joins the firm at a time of growth — King & Spalding increased its revenue by 5.8 percent to $2.1 billion in 2023 — and also at a time in the market when their depth of experience and expertise in tackling complex commercial real estate transactions and disputes is key. 

“There’s no question that we’re still in a period of change and transition in the commercial real estate sector,” Recine told CO. “In New York, what we’re seeing, and I believe will continue to see, is changes in capital stacks, and changes in who owns and who operates real estate. With change comes a certain amount of distress, workouts, and other types of disputes. Our client base in private equity and private credit are ready to take on those challenges, and King & Spalding is here to help them.”

In terms of the draw to King & Spalding, Recine said the strength of the firm’s real estate transactional group, which includes Jennifer Morgan, Erik Andersen, Joshua Kamin and Mark Thigpen, was a draw. 

“Their capability and amazing reputation among their clients was very persuasive to me,” she said. “When I got to know the firm a little bit better, I also got to know a whole series of incredibly talented business litigators including David Balser, Jessica Corley, Rich Marooney, Damien Marshall and Randy Mastro, to name only a few, and I’m very much looking forward to working with them.” 

“We consider this to be such a fortuitous opportunity, and we’re absolutely delighted to join King & Spalding,” Recine added. 

Recine most recently served as co-chair of Kasowitz’s real estate litigation practice, where she handled various complex disputes on behalf of a client roster that included  private corporations, partnerships, publicly traded companies, municipal governments and high-net-worth individuals. Her experience also includes civil actions under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, better known as RICO. 

A regular speaker at Commercial Observer events, Recine was a winner of ConnectCRE’s lawyers in real estate awards in December and also named a Woman of Influence by GlobeSt. Real Estate Forum last year. 

Khojasteh spent almost 15 years at Kasowitz and was most recently a partner at the firm, where he also focused on complex business disputes. His clients also ran the gamut across both entity type and sectors, with Khojasteh representing those in industries such as pharmaceuticals, media and technology as well as real estate.  

Kupfer is a trial lawyer who has represented both sides in both civil and criminal disputes. In addition to real estate firms, his client list spans venture capital firms, private equity funds, financial institutions, and life sciences and technology firms. 

At King & Spalding, the trio now has a global infrastructure at its back, with 24 offices worldwide. In December, it announced 28 new partners and 14 new counsel across 14 cities in the U.S.

“The platform at King & Spalding gives us the opportunity to significantly scale what we can do for our clients,” Khojasteh said in a prepared statement.

In January, King & Spalding revealed it would be relocating its office to Vornado Realty Trust’s 1290 Avenue of the Americas from 1185 Avenue of the Americas, as reported by CO. 

“We have enjoyed working with Jen and Sarmad, and we wish them well,” a spokesperson for Kasowitz said.

Cathy Cunningham can be reached at ccunningham@commercialobserver.com