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Kirkland & Ellis London partner drops £31 million on Malibu mansion

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Bargain 🥴

Credit: Burdge Architects/YouTube

A partner in the London office of Kirkland & Ellis has reportedly purchased a mansion in California for an eye-watering $38 million (£31 million).

Private equity lawyer Michael Steele is said to have snapped up the 12,000 square foot property nestled high above Malibu’s Carbon Beach along with his fashion designer wife Giovanna.

The glass-clad mansion sits on a 22 acre plot and boasts five bedrooms, nine bathrooms and a “bespoke floating glass staircase illuminated with LED lights”, US real estate website Dirt reports. Other eye-catching amenities include a poker room, spa, gym, beauty salon and elevator.

The 2023 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

The report states the sizeable property was first listed for $47.5 million (£39 million) before dropping to just under $40 million (£35.5 million) and eventually snapped up by the couple for $38 million (£31 million).

Steele’s legal work “focuses on private equity sponsors and financial investors across a broad range of complex corporate and financing transactions”, according to his profile on Kirkland’s website. He joined the firm in 2015 following a seven-year spell at Magic Circle firm Freshfields.

Steele’s sizeable purchase reportedly comes ahead of his planned move to Los Angeles-based private equity firm GLP Capital Partners.

The Legal Cheek Firms Most List 2023 shows Kirkland’s partners are among the flushest in the City with a profit per equity partner figure in excess of £6 million.

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29 Comments

Recession proof

Christ. Wait till the commenter who pretends to be a Kirkland associate sees this…

Lambo Enjoyer

POV: Kirkland NQ’s wet dream just before he wakes up to realise he has his first-year tort exam next week.

Back to revision chap!

Kirkland NQ

And if you’re wondering, yes it does have sufficient parking for his lambo collection.

Wow

Must have got a whacking mortgage to buy this. Hope he enjoys paying that off for the rest of time

Anon

Curious to know how the mortgaging for this likely worked? Assume he earns 6m a year (Kirkland PEP average), does he put down 10% and then pay the rest off monthly (with hefty interest I am sure) or does it work differently for purchases of this level?

Just curious, no hate pls!

Anon

Usually at least 25% at this level, much harder for the bank to shift a property like this if it has to repossess.

Got to suspect this is at least in part family money though. 5x earnings on a holiday home is mental even for an ultra high earner.

Nice home

Not a holiday home. He’s actually moving from Kirkland to a private equity firm in California. He’s been on secondment with them the last couple years.

Ozzy O.

If the mortgage was in the USD then he’d need to have circa 40% deposit in cash…

Ozzy O.

He’d need at least 40% deposit in cash for it

Star Bucks

I’m curious about the bedroom to bathroom ratio… I suppose you have to work 24/7 to be able to afford a place like this and his necessary coffee intake to sustain that work rate must have some house search specification related consequences?

Seamu

For the record Steele’s in-laws are minted. He wouldn’t have that much cash from his K&E draw to make this property acquisition.

John

If he can afford this, imagine how much a real Kirkland heavyweight like Adrian Maguire, David Higgins or Neel Sachdev could afford…

To Boldly Go

Aren’t they all the names of crew members in the original Star Trek?

Anon

How much do partners like this actually earn to be able to afford a pad like this? It must be significantly higher than the PEP average cos jeez

Knowledge Load

PEP is an average divided by total number of partners but for top partners like this at Kirkland earn in excess of 20million.

Future Trainee Associate

A touch gauche, in my view, but GLP Capital Partners clearly don’t mess around.

Someone got a outrageous signing bonus and hefty relocation fee…

Hats off.

Law School

31m and it’s not even on the water…

Lol

I’m sorry, how can a partner be this rich?? Your neighbours will be p diddy, Jay z and Tom cruise 😅🤣

B

F that work life balance, I’m going K&E.

Gh

To be fair you’re forgetting we don’t know what investments he’s had on the side or if he grew up rich. This all could’ve contributed to such an acquisition

Anonymous

And he’s also young, relatively speaking for a partner… this guy is killing it.

Anonymous

The only lawyers who have lifestyles like this are those who (a) have family money; (b) have married well; (c) are mortgaged to the hilt; or (d) are Sumption-level QCs. I used to work at a US law firm and most of the partners (except the ones who fell into one of the above categories) lived in semi-detached houses in places like Muswell Hill or Brockley. A surprising number still lived in flats (albeit in fashionable areas). And bear in mind those were partners at a top (and highly remunerated) firm – the vast majority of City lawyers will never reach those levels of income.

Law is a great way to make a large amount of money, but a terrible way to become rich in a way that will give you any of the trappings of obvious wealth. Want the holiday home in Malibu? The Audemars Piguet? Sending two kids to private school? Again, unless you plan on being part of the above four categories, this isn’t the career for you.

Anonymous

Somewhat true but there is a middle ground. I work with a corporate equity partner at a top 50 regional firm. He sends both of his children to private school. It costs him around £60,000.00 a year (so I’m told). Granted, he takes home shy of £300,000.00 so it is a fair chunk of his income gone.

Anonymous

I’d caveat my original comment by agreeing that life as a senior-ish regional partner is pretty sweet. But even then, after school fees and mortgage payments there really isn’t enough in the bank at the end of every month for the glamorous lifestyle a lot of juniors aspire to (and realistically life in most of the regions is less glamorous per se than life in/around London, even if nobody should care)

Of course, it’s a whole different ball game if you marry another corporate lawyer or banker etc. Suddenly you’re talking a gross household income of £400k in your late-20s, and a gross income of £1m+ if both of you make partner in your 30s (it’s not very common but it certainly happens). Throw in at least one set of wealthy in-laws to help out with deposits, weddings and holidays, and it actually becomes quite easy to live like royals. Of course, the flipside is that you see your husband/wife for about five hours a week, and your kids probably don’t remember what either of you look like.

Anonymous US Future NQ

As much as legal cheek/FN News want to grab the attention of the online legal audience, if you go through to the source article on dirt.com it becomes clear that the property was name in the name of both the K&E Partner and his wife, Giovanna Steele (née Eastwood).

According to dirt.com: “As for Giovanna Steele (née Eastwood), she is the daughter of a Brazilian socialite and the late British composer Tom Eastwood. In 2015, she founded the sustainable fashion label Ethical Collection London.” A quick google gives some more indications on family history on Giovanna’s mother’s side: http://www.cristinaeastwood.com/family/family-history.php.

The fact that the property was bought in both names make it very likely that Giovanna also contributed financially. It wouldn’t surprise me if her contribution was a decisive factor in the sort of property purchased.

Original article here for those interested: https://www.dirt.com/gallery/more-dirt/lawyers/michael-steele-house-malibu-1203609086/

Mr Five Per Cent

Things are clearly going well at Bendini, Lambert and Locke.

Real Estate DD

A flat roofed, modern monster situated on a parched, scrubby hillside. No thanks.

Real Estate DD

A flat roof, modern monster situated on a parched, scrubby hillside. No thanks.

Confused

If you’re a Kirkland partner or working in PE, are you really spending enough time at home to make the purchase worth it?

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