Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler has hired Sally F. King, who last worked at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, as its newest chief operating officer.
In her new role, King will be responsible for leading and directing operations at Patterson Belknap, including overseeing finance, information services, and business development.
King served as Akin Gump’s COO starting in 2013 and stepped down at the beginning of the summer in order to travel and spend time with her two daughters.
She said she was attracted to Patterson Belknap because the firm maintains a “high caliber” of lawyers but operates out of just one office in New York, significantly reducing the amount that she will have to travel for the job.
“In Big Law it’s unusual to find a firm like this,” she said. “This provides an opportunity to get to know the partners very well and to really have an impact on everybody at the firm.”
Before joining Akin Gump, King served as COO of Dentons, Clifford Chance, and Cooley.
In 2006, King helped lead Cooley Godwarkin’s merger with Kronish Lieb Weiner and Hellman, then serving as COO of Cooley Godward Kronish, now known simply as Cooley.
She later managed the three-way multi-continent merger of SNR Denton, Fraser Miller Casgrain, and Salans, which combined in 2013 to form Dentons.
But King said it’s unlikely she’ll be putting her merger expertise to work at Patterson Belknap.
“That’s one of the things I didn’t particularly want to do again, and was delighted to hear that the firm is fiercely independent,” she said, adding, “I think there’s a desire to grow and maintain their position in the legal community.”
King also has extensive in-house experience in the corporate world. She served as General Electric’s senior manager of legal operations, the first non-lawyer to manage the legal department, and as vice president of operations and administration for Verizon, where she was a member of the merger integration team.