Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP Company Profile

Chicagoans are (famously and resolutely) loyal to their own, so within its hometown, Kirkland & Ellis ranks tops for prestige-but the firm's reputation in litigation, restructuring, intellectual property and corporate work stretches far beyond Chitown.

Extra, Extra!

In 1909, fresh-faced attorneys Stuart Shepard and Robert McCormick struck up a partnership, laying the foundation for the growth of a behemoth firm that has never forgotten its roots. McCormick descended from money and influence (his grandfather founded the Chicago Tribune), and he used this sway to funnel business to the nascent firm. He eventually became so involved as outside counsel with the Trib's business endeavors that he left the firm in 1920 to become the paper's publisher-a move that he used to send more business the firm's way, tapping Kirkland trial lawyer Weymouth Kirkland to defend the Trib in defamation suits.

Kirkland soon eclipsed the firm founders as the face of the outfit, carving a legacy defined by his defense of newspapers in significant free speech and libel cases (the University of Chicago actually named its moot courtroom after him). As for the other half of the current firm's nameplate, Howard Ellis came on board in 1915. Ellis was a champion of the "fair comment" defense, a privilege that protects published or spoken opinions directed at public officials and figures. Today, the firm remains active in defending media outlets.

Spruced Up

Kirkland's next act began in 1938, when the firm lured a young DOJ trial lawyer into the private sector: Hammond Chaffetz. According to the firm's website, Chaffetz "ushered in the modern era of the firm," placing a newfound emphasis on recruiting and grooming of promising candidates at top law schools. The firm boasts an impressive roster of partners and alumni, including Thomas Yannucci, a defamation soldier who was once named one of Washington's most-feared lawyers; Jay Lefkowitz, the former special envoy for human rights in North Korea; failed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork; and Kenneth Starr-former Solicitor General and Independent Counsel during the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky scandals of the Clinton administration.

But Kirkland isn't just about recruiting the best-the firm focuses on development too. Through its "free-market" assignment system, associates have the freedom to develop their careers by selecting their areas of interest and assignments. This independence is supported by hands-on, practice-specific training-known as the Kirkland Institute-including extensive litigation training with the Kirkland Institute for Trial Advocacy, which features a mock jury trial that spans two days.

Blooming Bankruptcy

Kirkland has continued to make a name for its premier bankruptcy and restructuring practice by guiding major clients through Chapter 11 proceedings, out-of-court restructurings, debtor mass torts and distressed asset sales. The firm represents Energy Future Holdings in the sixth largest bankruptcy by debt and eighth largest by assets in U.S. history. Additionally, Kirkland represented Sbarro, Inc. and 27 of its direct and indirect subsidiaries in their Chapter 11 cases. The firm has also taken its bankruptcy prowess across borders, handling international restructuring deals in Europe, Canada and Latin America.

Patron of the Smarts

In the mid-2000s, the firm and some of its partners pledged over $7 million to the University of Chicago Law School. In recognition of the donation, the top five percent of Chicago law school students are known as "Kirkland & Ellis Scholars." In 2011 and 2012, Kirkland partners also made large-scale financial contributions to Stanford Law School, the University of Michigan Law School, Northwestern University School of Law and Columbia Law School. In addition, the firm sponsors a Diversity Fellowship Program which every year provides approximately 10 law student recipients with a $25,000 stipend and a salaried summer associate position at one or more of the firm's domestic offices.

IN THE NEWS

April 2014

Kirkland & Ellis Opens Houston Office and Expands Corporate Practice with Hire of M&A Attorney Andrew T. Calder
Kirkland announced the opening of its seventh U.S. office and 12th office globally, in Houston, Texas. The Firm also hired leading M&A attorney Andrew Calder, formerly a partner in Simpson Thacher & Bartlett's Houston office. Andrew is joined in Houston by Kirkland partner Benjamin Clinger, who relocated from the Firm's Chicago office, and Rhett Van Syoc, who previously worked with Mr. Calder at Simpson Thacher.

Kirkland & Ellis Represents Energy Future Holdings in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Kirkland represents Energy Future Holdings, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on April 29, 2014. The company listed $36.45 billion in assets and $49.7 billion in liabilities as of December 31 in its petition, making it the sixth largest bankruptcy by debt and eighth largest by assets in U.S. history. Private equity firms KKR & Co. LP, TPG Capital LP and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners acquired EFH, then known as TXU Corporation, in 2007 through a $45 billion leveraged buyout, the largest LBO in history.

Kirkland & Ellis Represents Exelon in Pepco Acquisition
Kirkland represents Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), in its acquisition of Pepco Holdings Inc. (NYSE: PHI), in an all-cash transaction consideration of $27.25 per share. The agreement brings together Exelon's three top-performing electric and gas utilities-BGE, ComEd and PECO-and Pepco Holdings' electric and gas utilities-Pepco, Atlantic City Electric and Delmarva Power-to create the leading Mid-Atlantic electric and gas utility. 

December 2013

Kirkland & Ellis Achieves Landmark Trial Victory for Tronox Litigation Trust
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York issued a historic decision in favor of Kirkland client, Tronox Litigation Trust, when the court concluded that Kerr-McGee's spin-off of Tronox in 2005 was done with the actual intent to delay, hinder or defraud creditors, and awarded damages of $14.1 billion subject to a potential offset of up to $9 billion for claims that Anadarko (which now owns Kerr-McGee) asserted in Tronox's Chapter 11 cases. This represents the largest bankruptcy award in history related to governmental environmental claims and liabilities. 

October 2013

Kirkland & Ellis Partners with Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Achieving Landmark Civil Rights Ruling
Kirkland achieved a landmark victory in a pro bono civil rights case on behalf of The Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education in its lawsuit against the state of Maryland for its failure to completely dismantle its formerly segregated system of higher education. In a historic decision, a federal court ruled that Maryland violated the constitutional rights of students at the states' four Historically Black Colleges and Universities by unnecessarily duplicating their programs at nearby white institutions, a practice that began during the era of de jure segregation. The case was tried over six weeks in 2012.

Kirkland & Ellis Partners with Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Achieving Landmark Civil Rights Ruling
Kirkland achieved a landmark victory in a pro bono civil rights case on behalf of The Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education in its lawsuit against the state of Maryland for its failure to completely dismantle its formerly segregated system of higher education. In a historic decision, a federal court ruled that Maryland violated the constitutional rights of students at the states' four Historically Black Colleges and Universities by unnecessarily duplicating their programs at nearby white institutions, a practice that began during the era of de jure segregation. The case was tried over six weeks in 2012.

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Kirkland & Ellis LLP


300 North LaSalle
Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: (312) 862-2000
www.kirkland.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Management Committee Chair: Jeffrey C. Hammes
  • Total No. Attorneys 2014: 1,571

  • Employment Contact

    Please visit www.kirkland.com/careers for office-specific email addresses.


  • Base Salary

    All US offices:
    1st year: $160,000*

    * Kirkland’s compensation is non-lockstep after the first year. The firm does not disclose summer associate salaries.


  • Summer Associate Offers

    128 out of 130 (2013)


  • Major Departments & Practices

    Antitrust & Competition
    Corporate
    Intellectual Property
    Litigation
    Real Estate
    Regulatory
    Restructuring
    Tax, Benefits & Estate Planning
    White Collar Criminal Defense & Securities Enforcement

Major Office Locations

  • Chicago, IL
  • Houston, TX
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • New York, NY
  • Palo Alto, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Washington, DC
  • Beijing
  • Hong Kong
  • London
  • Munich
  • Shanghai
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