IN-DEPTH RESEARCH REPORT
on Kirkland & Ellis LLP
- - Financial Information
- - Compensation
- - Billing Rates
- - Lateral Partner Moves
- - Pro bono
- - Key Contacts
Kirkland & Ellis
- Designation: National
- Head Count: 1,517
- Gross Revenues: $1,937,500,000
- Revenue Per Lawyer: $1,275,000
- Profits Per Partner: $3,250,000
- Year Over Year Change: no change
Its only fitting, perhaps, that a firm with a knack for getting in the newspapers representing clients like BP p.l.c. in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill litigation, and counting well-known figures like Robert Bork and Kenneth Starr among its alumni made its name defending the press. While Kirkland & Elliss modern namesakes, Weymouth Kirkland and Howard Ellis, didnt join the firm until six years after its founding in 1909, they burnished the firms reputation representing the Chicago Tribune (published by firm cofounder Robert McCormick) and other newspapers in landmark free speech cases, and pioneering the concept of fair comment. While Kirkland & Ellis may not be known for its international footprint in early 2011 it counted just four overseas locations among its ten offices it is recognized for its take-no-prisoners litigation style and success. It was recognized in three consecutive Litigation Department of the Year competitions by The American Lawyer, winning the title once (2008) and taking an honorable mention twice (2010 and 2012).
Kirkland can also be a very profitable place to work for its partners. In 2011 the firm ranked sixth in profits per partner, just crossing the $3 million mark a marked jump from its 2010 figure of nearly $2.5 million.
Overall, Kirkland ranked sixth in gross revenues in 2011, seeing a 14 percent spike in revenues from the previous year. Arguably, one of the factors that has helped Kirkland adapt to and ultimately thrive in a changed economic climate is its longtime embrace of alternative fees. For more than two decades, while many other firms resisted any move away from the billable hour, Kirkland has taken cases under contingency, fixed-fee, holdback/success fee, and other non-traditional arrangements.
Yet weathering the recession did not come without costs. Like many of its brethren, Kirkland laid off attorneys at the height of the downturn (its lawyer count of 1,379 on the 2011 Am Law 100 list was a drop from 1,411 the year before). Morale, too, suffered, at least among the more junior lawyers.
Kirkland ranked 117th on The American Lawyer-s 2010 Midlevel Associates Survey, which was conducted when firms were feeling the full impact of the recession. That improved markedly, however, on the 2011 survey, with Kirkland coming in at eighty-first a sign that a firm known for remaking itself in the face of change is adapting once again.
Updated as of 1/1/12
|Survey||Rank||Year Over Year Change||Description|
|Am Law 100||5||no change||Gross revenue|
|Am Law 200||5||no change||Gross revenue|
|NLJ 250||13||no change||Lawyer head count|
|The A-List||25||2||Overall excellence|
|Pro Bono Scorecard||55||15||Pro-bono commitment|
|Diversity Scorecard||40||10||Minority head count|
|Midlevel Associates Survey||81||36||Job satisfaction|
|Summer Associates Survey||58||8||Summer programs|
In the News
: The American Lawyer : April 29, 2013
In fiscal 2012, The Am Law 100—which has a new leader in gross revenue this year—posted modest gains on all the key metrics.
John Caher : New York Law Journal : April 29, 2013
The panel said the inmate's ongoing allegations that the requisite 60-day review of his status was a charade was not within the scope of his 2005 complaint. That complaint was dismissed in 2008, a decision Northern District Judge Gary Sharpe had said barred the current challenge.
Steven J. Harper : The Am Law Daily : April 26, 2013
The billable hour regime thrives because some clients think it serves them well. In theory, they may be correct; in practice, those clients are kidding themselves.
Mark Hamblett : New York Law Journal : April 26, 2013
A secondary use of a copyrighted work does not require comment on the original artist or work or popular culture in order to be transformative and qualify for the fair use defense to infringement under the Copyright Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled yesterday.
Tom Coster, Julie Triedman : The American Lawyer : April 25, 2013
Starr International Company v. The United States; Cablevision Systems v. Viacom International; Dahl v. Bain Capital Partners et al.
Susan Beck : The American Lawyer : April 25, 2013
How Kirkland's huge nonequity class helps its bottom line.
: The American Lawyer : April 25, 2013
In fiscal 2012, The Am Law 100—which has a new leader in gross revenue this year—posted modest gains on all our key metrics. Read the complete package.
Sara Randazzo : The Am Law Daily : April 25, 2013
Former Dewey & LeBoeuf chairman Steven Davis has agreed to pay the bankrupt firm's estate more than $500,000 as part of a broader settlement that is expected to insulate him from most future claims related to his alleged mismanagement of Dewey.
Sara Randazzo : The Am Law Daily : April 25, 2013
A former Dewey & LeBoeuf partner suing Barclays Bank over what he claims is a fraudulent $540,000 loan agreement is now trying to blame its creation on several onetime firm leaders, including former chairman Steven Davis.
Amy Kolz : The American Lawyer : April 25, 2013
Cull the partnership to boost profits: That's the conventional wisdom. But is it truth—or illusion?
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