Charleston’s business-friendly climate and the interest of many companies to operate here or expand into the region are among the reasons K&L Gates LLP opened its first South Carolina office in the Holy City. In December 2011, K&L Gates became, and still remains, the only global law firm in the state.
Since then, the office has grown to more than 30 lawyers to accommodate the increasing demand of the business community and firm clients. The firm operates at the critical crossroads of the 21st century, providing experienced legal counsel at the intersection of globalization, regulation and innovation.
“Our growth has been fueled by our unique ability to service clients with multinational operations and our ability to bring services in areas of specialized need to our South Carolina based clients, as well as to recruit lawyers with cross-border transactional and multi-district litigation experience.” said Walker Coleman, Charleston office administrative partner.
Some of the areas in which the Charleston office focuses are economic development, corporate, energy, environmental, labor & employment, immigration, real estate, transportation, insurance coverage, customs, international trade and maritime law – all of which tie to the Lowcountry’s strong economic sectors and reflect the state’s growth in areas like automotive and aerospace.
“South Carolina has seen record foreign and domestic investment in the region, and significant location and expansion announcements have taken place in the past few years,” Coleman said, adding that the state is ranked third in the nation for foreign direct investment, according to the 2014 State New Economy Index.
With approximately 2,000 lawyers in 45 offices across the globe, K&L Gates is uniquely poised to play a role in the state’s success, particularly for South Carolina-based businesses that operate globally and foreign businesses that operate – or hope to operate – in the state. The firm can handle virtually any legal need these businesses have or could have, and its governmental and business contacts throughout the world make K&L Gates an ideal economic partner.
K&L Gates has been able to support the South Carolina economic developers on trade missions in London, Frankfurt, Paris, Italy and Tokyo by accompanying them on the trade missions, facilitating client introductions, and making its international offices available for meetings, dinners and receptions.
“Having contacts and offices on the ground in the countries in which economic development efforts are focused, as well as the ability to handle virtually any legal or policy issue that could arise, has been immensely helpful to the state’s recruiting effort,” Coleman said.
K&L Gates has worked with Sullivan’s Island-based Zubie Inc., a connected car service that is expanding into multiple foreign markets. Blackbaud Inc., a leading provider of nonprofit software and services for fundraising, has called on K&L Gates for global legal matters. Connecticut-based Kaman Corp, an aerospace and industrial distribution company, used K&L Gates to establish its operations in South Carolina. The firm is also currently assisting several European and Asian clients establish operations in South Carolina.
“Our state is an attractive place to live and to work, and K&L Gates is committed to continuing to partner with the state’s economic developers to show that South Carolina is just right for business,” Coleman said. “We’re also eager to provide the legal assistance necessary for foreign companies to operate effectively and productively in South Carolina.”