K&L Gates LLP at a Glance


  • “My colleagues”
  • “Importance of product over hours”
  • “Work/life balance”


  • “Lack of transparency for associate compensation and bonuses”
  • “Too frugal”
  • “Difficult to have steady work”

The Buzz

  • “Work-life balance”
  • “Strong in secondary legal markets”
  • “Can feel impersonal”
  • “Ungainly big”

About K&L Gates LLP

What a difference a couple of years make: the firm now branded K&L Gates has undergone a series of identity-shifting mergers in modern times. On the strength of several such deals, the firm has grown into one of BigLaw's more massive operations while working on everything from corporate transactions and complex litigation to environmental law and policy work.

Gathering Momentum

The new Millennium saw a flurry of mergers, which formed what we now know as K&L Gates. In January 2007, Seattle's Preston Gates & Ellis got hitched to Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham (itself the product of one of the largest U.S.-U.K. mergers in legal history: the 2005 pairing of Pittsburgh-based Kirkpatrick & Lockhart and London's Nicholson Graham & Jones). A year later, the reshaped firm merged with Texas-based Hughes & Luce, increasing K&L Gates' presence in the Lone Star State. In July 2008, the firm combined with Kennedy Covington Lobdell & Hickman, a household name in Carolina legal circles; the merger gave K&L Gates a significant presence throughout the Carolinas. The addition of Chicago firm Bell, Boyd & Lloyd's 250 lawyers and lobbyists eight months thereafter (in March 2009) bolstered K&L Gates' ranks in Chicago and DC.

With all of these parts comes a lot of history. Kirkpatrick & Lockhart dates back to 1946, when a team of seven Reed Smith attorneys hung out a shingle together. After flourishing in Pennsylvania, the firm reached the Washington, DC area through a 1981 tie-up with Hill Christopher & Phillips, a boutique focused on securities law. From there, the firm spread to Boston, Miami, New York, Texas, and California. The merger with Nicholson Graham-a firm that dated back to mid-19th-century England-cemented K&L Gates' status as an international firm.

As for Preston Gates-as in William H. Gates Sr., father of Microsoft honcho Bill-the West Coast firm was well-known for its work in the IP, technology, and public policy sectors, as well as its lobbying clout.

Still Going…

International expansion has been on K&L Gates' agenda in recent years. The firm has broadened its presence in Europe and Asia with the opening of offices in Seoul, Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Frankfurt, Milan, and Warsaw; has debuted in the growing Middle East markets with Dubai and Doha offices; and entered the South American market with an office in São Paulo. In January 2013, K&L Gates combined with Australian national law firm Middletons, adding four offices in Australia and extending the firm's presence in the Asia Pacific region. 2013 also saw a few strategic moves in the United States, with office openings in Wilmington and Houston, along with the consolidation of the four-lawyer San Diego office and the firm's growing Orange County office to allow the firm to take advantage of the synergies in practice between the two.

At the same time, the firm has expanded the scope of its practice, taking a full-service approach to its work with clients across many industries (don't be fooled by the short list of core practice areas; each contains a slew of specialist and industry sub-groups). Unlike some big firms that rely on a few key clients for the bulk of their billings, K&L Gates' policy of diversification means that its revenues are spread widely across many clients. 


April 2016
Iron Man

K&L Gates was among the firms that advised on the restructure of Atlas Iron, an Australian iron ore mining and exploration company. The restructuring involved a collaboration agreement with key contractors; a negotiated concession from mining royalties from the Western Australia government; a debt-for-equity swap with key contractors; and related capital raising. The matter, which was recognized as the 2016 "Insolvency & Restructuring Deal of the Year" by the Australasian Law Awards, was described as the first time an Australian mining company has managed to restructure itself with the support of lenders, suppliers, and shareholders in such an innovative and consensual way in order to avoid insolvency.  

February 2016
Back to School

K&L Gates represented Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in a closely watched, high-stakes patent infringement case resulting in a $750 million settlement on behalf of CMU. The settlement brought to a close a nearly seven-year-old lawsuit in which Marvell Technology Group was accused of infringing on two hard disk drive patents held by the university.

January 2016
Blowing in the Wind

A cross-office team of lawyers from K&L Gates' New York and Paris offices advised Boralex Inc. on its acquisition of a portfolio of wind power projects in Northern France totaling approximately 350 MW. Boralex develops, builds, and operates renewable energy power facilities in Canada, France, and the United States, and is France's largest independent producer of onshore wind power. The acquisition gives Boralex access to a pipeline of projects, of which over 150 MW may be commissioned in 2017 and 2018, partly consisting of 79 MW of ready-to-build projects and 159 MW of projects at advanced stages of development.

December 2015
Spare Parts

K&L Gates advised longstanding client LKQ Corporation, a leading supplier of alternative automotive parts, on its acquisition of Rhiag-Inter Auto Parts Italia S.p.a. for a purchase price of €1.04bn. Rhiag is a pan-European distributor of aftermarket spare parts for passenger cars and commercial vehicles serving more than 100,000 professional clients.

November 2015
Big Pharma, Big Deal

K&L Gates advised PharMEDium, the leading national provider of outsourced compounded sterile preparations to acute care hospitals in the United States, on its dual-track initial public offering and sales process, culminating in the company's $2.6 billion sale to AmerisourceBergen Corp.

September 2015
Developing China

K&L Gates LLP advised Shanghai Sun Kwan Real Estate Group on a RMB3.2 billion (approximately US$500 million) real estate transaction. Sun Kwan Group acquired a group of companies that owned approximately 400,000 square meters of low-density residential and commercial development land in the Shanghai Sheshan District.

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K&L Gates LLP

K&L Gates Center
210 Sixth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-2613
Phone: (412) 355-6500


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chairman and Global Managing Partner: Peter J. Kalis
  • U.S. Regional Managing Partner: R. Charles Miller
  • Total No. Attorneys 2016: 2,000

  • Base Salary

    Starting salaries fall between $115,000 and $180,000, based on dynamics of the local market.


  • Summer Associate Offers
    78 out of 88 (2Ls) (2015)

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Corporate & Transactional
    Energy, Infrastructure & Resources
    Financial Services
    Intellectual Property
    Labor, Employment & Workplace Safety
    Litigation & Dispute Resolution
    Policy & Regulatory
    Real Estate

Major Office Locations

  • Anchorage, AK • Austin, TX • Boston, MA • Charlotte, NC • Charleston, SC • Chicago, IL • Dallas, TX • Fort Worth, TX • Harrisburg, PA • Houston, TX • Los Angeles, CA • Miami, FL • New York, NY • Newark, NJ • Orange County, CA • Palo Alto, CA • Pittsburgh, PA • Portland, OR • Raleigh, NC • Research Triangle Park, NC • San Francisco, CA • Seattle, WA • Washington, DC • Wilmington, DE • Beijing • Berlin • Brisbane • Brussels • Doha • Dubai • Frankfurt • Hong Kong • London • Melbourne • Milan • Paris • Perth • São Paulo • Seoul • Shanghai • Singapore • Sydney • Taipei • Tokyo • Warsaw