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.



Blah blah blah Lambo blah blah model girlfriend. Smashing deals etc



Sorry to say but this article is rubbish. It uses a sensational headline without any insider knowledge of the several stealth layoffs driven by the drop in business in a number of practice groups. Stay away from this firm’s London Office. It isn’t for no reason that this firm has had the highest number of departures globally.


Jim 2

Stealth layoffs – nice way of trying to cover up what’s gone on at K&E



Support staff. Read the article.



Top dollah



Such an alpha firm. Sigma is more my style.



Kirkland litigation in London or commercial bar?


Smashing It

Well, 12 or more weeks holiday a year, work from home if you want, £300k a year or more from year 2 or 3 onwards, and you sound classy at parties. Or you could join K&E a be some nouveaux money chaser with people asking “who” when you tell them where you work, assuming you ever are seen outside the office. The Bar, where Sunday is the second day of the weekend or K&E where it is known as the second of those days when my friends do not seem to be in the office like me. Tough choice.


MC drone

I agree.

If you can get into the commercial bar, definitely go for it. You’ll actually use your brain, you won’t have to do a load of transactional seats that you aren’t interested in and it’s probably what you always actually wanted to do, before you were enticed by the prospect of £140,000 as an NQ and having the misguided respect of wannabes on Legal Cheek, or put off by the eye watering number of applicants to the commercial bar and having to pay for the GDL and BPTC yourself.

Plus, I’ve heard a rumour that in litigation at K&E you actually end up doing a load of due diligence on litigation risks in deals. (Equally, feel free to ignore this point, as I don’t know where I heard it and you shouldn’t trust everything you read on the internet.)



This is correct – lots of deal DD and very little actual straight litigation as a junior lawyer



Though you might get kicked out of chambers if you happen to send a tweet expressing legitimate legal viewpoints that are inconsistent with the leftist diversity brainwashing programme.


Biggly SAD

The rightist non-diversity brainwashing programme has been around for far longer. Sounds like you are an unfortunate victim? Thoughts and prayers etc


Depends if you are in something interesting: arbitration, tax or funds, or something churny



Something churny? Butter law? That is only for the cream of the crop.



I still think mayor brown and K&L Gates are better us firms as they have a wider range of work. It’s only a small difference in pay which I think is worth the wider exposure .



“Mayer Brown” … “better” …

Nice try.



“Mayor Brown” eh?

You’re a clever boy, Mark, you’ll go far.



I don’t even think that, and I work for one of those firms. They’re both good firms, the money is attractive without feeling as close to the territory of golden handcuffs as Kirkland et al., the people are good to work with, and their London presences are big enough to have full-service offerings.

That last point is particularly good if you’re a trainee and not sure what you want yet, but once you’re qualified and specialising there’s a real appeal to Kirkland’s approach of hiring star players and incentivising them properly. Their size in London doesn’t even have that much to do with it any more – Kirkland has more lawyers here than either of the two firms you name, and isn’t far off having as many as the two of them combined.

Anyway, they each have their place in the market for fee earners and for clients, but there’s a difference.



Small difference in pay?? £85-90k for an NQ versus £150k. That’s a bit more than a small difference



Where are all the gimps talking about brand power



In my basement.


SM "Brand"

Indeed brand power is BS… slaving away on my frozen pay like a gimp


Shane McMahon

Here comes the moneyyyyyyyyy



The University of York’s 2nd year LLB cohort will be loving this


K&E topboi

I can hear them cooming all the way back to our ivory Gherkin tower.


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