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Summer Associate Program

Kirkland’s tradition of giving junior associates a high level of responsibility early in their careers begins with the summer program. Kirkland summer associates work on sophisticated matters alongside the Firm’s associates and partners, who are eager to support and guide them along the way.

In addition to substantive work, summer associates participate in various training and development programs led by Kirkland partners and industry experts, and engage in pro bono and volunteer opportunities to introduce them to the firm’s emphasis on social commitment. No summer at Kirkland is complete without a chance to bond through our social events and networking opportunities.

Legal Education & Professional Development

We have an exceptional commitment to training our lawyers. But don’t just take our word for it — for more than 10 years, Vault has ranked Kirkland among the top five firms in the country for training, and associates frequently cite training opportunities as one of their top reasons for choosing Kirkland.

Kirkland is dedicated to providing our attorneys with unparalleled legal education. Through our comprehensive curriculum, we foster excellence, empower teams, and cultivate smart collaboration. We provide extensive global learning opportunities in a variety of formats, from hands-on workshops to digital modules, to prepare attorneys at every level for client matters. In-house courses are developed by partners, associates, and industry experts in alignment with practice group benchmarks. Kirkland’s innovative and holistic approach to learning includes a Firmwide commitment to mentoring, career advice, and on-the-job teaching.

We combine these programs with real responsibilities and client work from your first days at Kirkland. Young lawyers take and defend depositions, draft transaction documents and negotiate deal terms, and argue motions in court. Through it all, you’ll have plenty of resources behind you, from the partners and senior associates supervising your work to an assigned mentor offering advice and guidance.

Mentorship Program

We believe mentorship is integral to any associate’s integration and continued development. At Kirkland, our mentorship program is driven at the office level to allow for both formal and informal access to mentorship across a variety of associate growth needs. Kirkland’s approach consists of pairing a junior associate with a tenured attorney, either one-on-one or in a pod construct, to meet regularly. Associates also meet with a share partner in their practice group during the year, and feedback from these meetings helps to fuel future legal education and development learning opportunities.

Open Assignment System

Kirkland is entrepreneurial and provides associates with responsibility and autonomy from the very start of their career. Integral to Kirkland’s culture is a belief that lawyers are most successful when they do the work they want to do. The Firm’s unique open assignment system enables you to take ownership of your career by choosing the matters on which you work while simultaneously providing you with an integrated support network to help ensure that all associates obtain robust work and development opportunities.

  • At Kirkland, there is no minimum billable hour requirement. You have the flexibility to manage your work and time, and are given the resources to help maximize your potential.
  • Associates who are confident, ambitious, and eager to direct their own career development tend to be very successful at Kirkland. We have found the open assignment system yields higher levels of commitment, satisfaction and success in all of our practice areas.

Compensation & Benefits

Kirkland is a true meritocracy that rewards excellence. The quality of your work, rather than your class year, determines the responsibilities you receive, and the Firm awards merit-based associate bonuses for your individual performance.

Our progressive benefits, services and programs help our attorneys balance the way they manage their careers and personal lives to achieve success. They include:

  • Flexible Work Schedules: Attorneys may request a work schedule to accommodate personal circumstances that call for flexibility. While on this schedule, attorneys do not sacrifice merit-based compensation or opportunities for professional growth.

  • Domestic Partner Coverage: Domestic partners of Kirkland employees qualify for full medical, dental and vision insurance.

  • Parental and Adoption Leave: All primary caregivers are provided at least 18 weeks of paid parental leave — whether the child is newly born or adopted. Non-primary caregivers are provided 10 weeks of paid leave. Attorneys can take leave continuously or intermittently and may request additional unpaid leave.

  • Parenting Link: This program provides Kirkland attorneys, their spouses, partners and clients practical information from parenting experts. The presentations are held in Kirkland’s offices and provide a forum for parents to connect in an informal setting.

  • Kirkland Concierge: Offers our attorneys a personal assistance service that saves time and money, and brings balance to your life. Kirkland Concierge helps tackle your personal “to do” list including dining reservations, travel planning, gift buying, product comparison research and more!

  • Alumni Engagement Program: At Kirkland, we owe our success to our people – present and past – and are dedicated to remaining colleagues for life. Whether you retire from the Firm or leave as an associate, Kirkland appreciates your contribution and will continue to invest in your career. Through our program, attorneys have access to our alumni directory, events, news and career support.
  • CareerLink: The Firm’s award-winning program that offers confidential career assistance to our alumni and attorneys, including job search resources and individualized career coaching. Kirkland appreciates the contributions you have made to the Firm and will continue to invest in your career.

  • Wellness: Kirkland is committed to supporting the wellbeing of our attorneys. We understand that the pressure and demands of practicing law at the highest levels can be significant. Through the Kirkland Wellbeing Program, we are initiating an ongoing dialogue about holistic wellbeing, developing a culture that encourages our lawyers to seek support when needed, and identifying pathways to support.