King & Spalding snags Quinn litigator as firms compete for Chicago turf

  • Lazar Raynal previously led McDermott Will & Emery’s litigation practice
  • Raynal has represented companies accused of violating Illinois’ biometric privacy law

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(Reuters) – As it continues to grow its Chicago office, King & Spalding has tapped a Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partner whose recent clients have included major defendants in Illinois’ biometric privacy law litigation.

Lazar Raynal joined King & Spalding as a partner in its trial and global disputes practice group, the firm said Monday, touting his experience handling a wide range of complex commercial cases.

Prior to joining Quinn Emanuel in 2017, Raynal spent nearly 30 years at Chicago-founded McDermott Will & Emery, rising to become the global chair of its litigation group and co-chair of its trust & estate controversy practice.

Raynal credited his friendship with Zach Fardon, a former Chicago U.S. attorney who helped launch King & Spalding’s office in the Windy City in 2017, with luring him away from Quinn Emanuel.

“That was what got me interested to talk to the firm,” Raynal said.

What sealed the deal, he said, was King & Spalding’s range of transactional and regulatory practices, and especially its work in corporate transactions, data privacy and life sciences.

At Quinn Emanuel, Raynal represented technology company International Business Machines Corp and pizza chain Little Caesar Enterprises Inc in disputes over whether they violated Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, which has driven a raft of privacy cases since it was adopted in 2008.

Raynal declined to say whether any specific clients were coming over with him to Atlanta-founded King & Spalding. “I expect to maintain the relationships I have with clients,” he said.

Raynal’s career trajectory, taking an established practice from a homegrown Chicago firm to out-of-town rivals, reflects the growing legal market competition within the Windy City. Since last year alone, Chicago has seen Cooley, Dickinson Wright, Greenspoon Marder, Venable and Willkie Farr & Gallagher set up shop in the city. (Los Angeles-founded Quinn Emanuel is a relative mainstay, having arrived in Chicago in 2009).

“I think the Chicago market looks like revolving chairs at some of the firms because the competition has very much heated up in the city,” Raynal said.

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David Thomas

David Thomas reports on the business of law, including law firm strategy, hiring, mergers and litigation. He is based out of Chicago. He can be reached at and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.

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