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Pandemic-driven private equity boom helps Kirkland’s revenues soar to record $5 billion

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Moneyed partners wary not to trumpet financial success in light of global crisis, according to insiders

Kirkland & Ellis is reportedly on track to post record revenues thanks to a surge in demand for its legal expertise during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chicago-founded juggernaut, which already boasts the title of ‘world’s highest-grossing law firm’, is set to hit revenues of “around” $5 billion for the 12 month to January — up from an already very impressive $4.15 billion.

The revenue growth is due to an uptick in work within several of the firm’s core practice areas — private equity, restructuring and litigation — in response to the pandemic, the FT (£) reports.

But the firm’s already minted partners, who top Legal Cheek’s Firms Most List with average earnings of around £4 million a year, are said be keeping celebrations to a minimum.

The 2021 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

“We’ve certainly had a really good year, but we can’t say that too loudly when so many people are suffering,” one unnamed partner told the newspaper. Another added: “This crisis is a humanitarian issue so it doesn’t feel right to be talking about how well you’ve done.”

Muted celebrations aside, there’s no getting away from the impressive financials, particularly given that some of its City rivals have been forced to cut salaries, furlough staff and even make redundancies in the wake of the crisis.

The performance appears to have even caught some its partners by surprise, with one describing the $5 billion sum as “eye-watering” but a complete “shock”. Kirkland declined to comment.

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