Working at Kirkland & Ellis | Glassdoor

Kirkland & Ellis Overview

Chicago, IL
1001 to 5000 employees
1909
Company - Private
Legal
$2 to $5 billion (USD) per year
Kirkland & Ellis is a 2,500-attorney law firm representing global clients in private equity, M&A and other complex corporate transactions, litigation and dispute resolution/arbitration, restructuring, and intellectual property matters. With ... Read more

Mission: Kirkland's principal goals are to provide the highest quality legal services available anywhere; to be an instrumental part of each client's success; and to recruit, retain and advance the brightest legal talent. Our Firm seeks long-term ... Read more

Kirkland & Ellis – Why Work For Us?


For more than 100 years, Kirkland has provided exceptional service to clients around the world in complex litigation, corporate and tax, intellectual property, restructuring and counseling matters. The groundwork has been established for another century of superior legal work and client service.

Philosophy

Kirkland's principal goals are to provide the highest quality legal services available anywhere; to be an instrumental part of each client's success; and to recruit, retain and advance the brightest legal talent. Our Firm seeks long-term, partnering relationships with clients, to the end of providing the best total solution to the client's legal needs.

Practice Areas

We manage our Firm as an integrated whole. Approximately 2,000 lawyers in varying practice areas work together as multidisciplinary teams to provide the full-service capabilities our clients need for the legal matters they retain Kirkland to handle.

Kirkland's open assignment system allows each attorney to choose the practice areas and matters on which they work. This entrepreneurial approach yields higher levels of commitment, morale and results in all of our core practices:

  • Corporate and Tax: Kirkland lawyers negotiate and close highly sophisticated transactions, representing public and private companies and private equity investors in a broad range of transactions. Our tax lawyers have handled matters in the courtroom and boardroom, with proven results in the transactional and litigation arenas. Our Trusts & Estates lawyers represent individuals and families with respect to worldwide estate and business succession planning and are adept at planning for the management or disposition of unique and illiquid assets, such as private equity interests, closely held businesses and real estate. Kirkland's real estate lawyers apply real estate, corporate, securities, partnership and tax law to complex business transactions involving the acquisition, ownership, financing and operation of commercial real estate.
  • Litigation: Kirkland has been recognized for its reputation as a Firm of trial lawyers (not just litigators) by successfully representing companies involved in business-critical lawsuits and class actions. Because of our trial-ready philosophy, we are able to offer a deep bench of lawyers who have been taking cases to verdict since the early stages of their careers.
  • Intellectual Property: Kirkland's intellectual property practice is one of the oldest such practices in a full-service firm. Clients benefit from our critical mass of lawyers who are trained in a variety of technical disciplines with experience in litigation, transactions and counseling matters involving all areas of intellectual property.
  • Restructuring: By combining sophisticated business advisory and crisis management skills with extensive experience in U.S., UK and international insolvency matters, Kirkland's restructuring lawyers navigate clients through the turmoil of situations involving financially troubled companies.

Diversity

At Kirkland, we believe that our ability to function at the very highest level of our profession is significantly enhanced by building a team of lawyers who bring us the benefits of a broad range of socioeconomic, racial, ethnic and personal backgrounds. Our commitment to diversity is reflected not only in the Firm's policies, programs and committees, but also through our efforts to build and maintain a culture that values and gathers strength from difference.

The Kirkland Institute

Effective training is critical to the professional development of our lawyers. For this reason, Kirkland emphasizes attorney training that combines a legal practice with a year-round series of development programs including mock exercises, lectures and presentations. From their first days at our Firm, Kirkland lawyers have front-line opportunities to take and defend depositions, draft transaction documents, argue motions in court and draft securities filings. By performing such work under the guidance of senior colleagues, Kirkland lawyers learn through hands-on experience.

Kirkland Institute programs include: Trial Advocacy (KITA); Corporate Practice (Kirkland University); Technology (KTECH); Tax Practice (KITP); Restructuring Training (KIRT); Patent Infringement Litigation (KIPIL); Insolvency Training (KIIT); and the LBO/Private Equity Seminar.

Geographic Reach

Kirkland is a strong and dynamic institution with a strategic network of offices located in major business centers around the globe. In line with our strategy of sensible, organic growth, the Firm has expanded geographically to meet the needs of our clients while maintaining a strong focus on quality control.

Results-Oriented

Kirkland stresses — and clients rightfully expect — good results. To that end, our Firm employs innovative, pragmatic strategies and hard work to ensure that our clients' legal needs are met. We recognize that our success depends on close coordination with our clients, therefore, our lawyers work collaboratively to set objectives, develop budgets and conduct periodic review sessions to measure our progress against those objectives.

Community Service

Our Firm is committed to serving the communities in which we practice and live. Through pro bono work, our lawyers make their skills and talents available to those who cannot afford legal representation. They provide pro bono clients with the same commitment and diligence they show for our traditional clients. The Kirkland & Ellis Foundation provides financial support to charitable and law-related organizations that enhance communities through emergency relief, legal assistance, community services, sustainability/conservation efforts, cultural awareness, youth programs, health care initiatives, education opportunities and diversity sensitivity.

Technology & Support Services

The Firm makes extensive use of legal and administrative personnel to provide the appropriate skill level for the legal services required by our clients. Kirkland keeps pace with today's technology by providing our lawyers, staff and clients with the most advanced technology tools available to facilitate the practice of law.

Kirkland is a thriving and energetic place to work.


Why Kirkland?

Kirkland is a thriving and energetic place to work. A key success factor has been the recruitment of talented and diverse individuals whose ideas drive the Firm forward. If you want to work at a firm that promotes achievement and growth, we invite you to learn more about Kirkland.

Quality and Caliber of Work

From your first day, you will work on interesting cases and transactions involving challenging legal issues. Working directly with partners, you will get stimulating and substantive client experience early in your career. As a result, as a Kirkland associate, you can develop more quickly than your peers at other firms.

Reputation and Prestige

Kirkland is well-known and well-regarded in the legal and business community. We are very proud of our reputation because it is built by and is a reflection of everyone who works here.

Our People

Kirkland attorneys have different backgrounds, knowledge, skills, work styles, aspirations and experiences. But what they all share is motivation, intelligence and a passion for what they do. At Kirkland, you will work with diverse colleagues and partners you can learn from and respect. 

Compensation

We understand that talent must be rewarded. That is why total compensation is top of the market at Kirkland.

Open Assignment System

Through the Firm's open assignment system, attorneys have the ability to shape their career and work experiences. The system emphasizes entrepreneurial initiative and allows associates to customize their practice for growth and success.

Self-Management Model

Attorneys are free to manage their work and time as they see fit and do not have to meet a minimum billable hour requirement.

Quality Resources

Kirkland has a great base of top-tier practitioners, and our support staff is always ready to help. No matter what the question is — a small administrative issue or a complex legal problem — there is always someone willing and able to assist.

Technology

Kirkland utilizes state-of-the-art technology and continuously improves its technology infrastructure by offering new applications, training and proficiency tools. Kirkland support services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Diversity 

Our ability to function at the very highest level of our profession is significantly enhanced by building a team of lawyers who bring us the benefits of a broad range of socioeconomic, racial, ethnic and personal backgrounds. This is reflected not only in our policies, programs and committees, but also through Kirkland's efforts to build and maintain a culture that values and gathers strength from difference. Additionally, we are proud to sponsor the 1L Diversity Scholars Program, which allows selected 1Ls to participate in a one-day program where they will gain early exposure to one of the world’s leading law firms, as well as the 2L Diversity Fellowship Program, which provides stipends to several second-year students at ABA accredited law schools around the country each year.

Kirkland's reputation for excellence is recognized worldwide.


Kirkland's reputation for excellence is recognized worldwide. As a preeminent law firm serving global clients in an array of industries, we are proud of the talented teams who drive forward our success.

We employ outstanding professionals from diverse backgrounds who are dedicated to supporting our attorneys and the Firm. Through collaboration, creativity and innovation, our administrative and support staff work to advance the Firm's goals. Whether you're a recent graduate or a professional from legal services, consulting, technology, finance or creative services, we value your proficiencies and potential.

We offer challenging and fulfilling careers in a variety of focus areas and levels of experience.

We are committed to investing in all of our employees' careers. Here are just some of the ways we're here to support you.

Training & Career Development

At Kirkland, we offer training and career development resources to help you grow and thrive at the Firm. From your very first day, we ensure you have the knowledge, skills and abilities to perform your role successfully and understand your development path through continued learning opportunities.

Community Engagement

Kirkland is dedicated to making a difference within the communities in which we live and work. In addition to our Firmwide corporate social responsibility initiatives, we engage in local community service projects that align with our values and support meaningful causes.

Diversity

We are proud of our employees' rich and varied backgrounds, knowledge and skills, and we believe diversity makes us stronger as a Firm. Diversity at Kirkland transcends race, gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, country of origin and political affiliation. We provide an inclusive, supportive culture in each of our offices.

Kirkland is dedicated to supporting the overall health and well-being of our attorneys and staff, and their families. We offer comprehensive medical, dental, and vision plans that provide participants access to nation-wide networks of providers. Kirkland's retirement plan offering helps participants prepare for their financial security in retirement. Our parental support programs and paid leave of absence policies, designed to help support attorneys and staff who are balancing the demands of family and work, have been recognized for their comprehensiveness. Further, throughout the year Kirkland offers a variety of wellness activities including Firm-sponsored runs/walks, financial wellness programming, and community engagement opportunities. 

Kirkland & Ellis is committed to providing legal services without charge to those who cannot afford counsel with the goals of improving clients’ lives, bettering communities, and deepening our professional experience. Kirkland encourages its attorneys at all levels to contribute their professional services to pro bono causes they are passionate about. Kirkland lawyers pursue pro bono matters dealing with a variety of issues such as immigration, disability rights, civil rights, prisoner rights, death penalty cases and criminal appeals, guardianship, veterans’ benefits, and the representation of nonprofit organizations, among other areas. 

The opportunity to share legal skills and talents is available to senior partners and the newest associates, including summer associates. As part of our commitment to provide these services, time worked on pro bono matters is valued and evaluated the same as billable work. Kirkland continues to adhere to the tenets set forth by the Pro Bono Institute Challenge, including our pledge to contribute annually 3 percent of total billable hours to pro bono work.

"Across the globe, Kirkland attorneys have a passion for pro bono. Our many relationships with legal aid and social justice organizations across the world empower us to identify and aid individuals and organizations that we can help with free legal services." - Marjorie Lindblom & Tom Yannucci, Firmwide Pro Bono Committee Co-chairs

"In just one year, Kirkland & Ellis' 49 Ladder Up volunteers helped 468 families and returned $776,850 to the community. But, more importantly, they made life a little better for our clients and their families. The firm did what they do best. They advocated for those who do not always have a voice, and they spoke volumes with their actions." - Robert Burke, Chairman and Founder, Ladder Up

Kirkland & Ellis Reviews

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Kirkland & Ellis Chairman Jeffrey C. Hammes
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  • Featured Review

    Helpful (21)

    "Love it - 10 Years and counting"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Human Resources in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Human Resources in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Kirkland & Ellis full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    There is a lot of room for growth in this company. Great coworkers who have turned into family and management is flexible. Salary and bonuses are great. Free breakfast in the morning and also receive dinner allowance plus free cabs when we work late. Also a free gym in the building. New Perk: the building now has manicures/massages in the building for a small fee.

    Cons

    More consistent policies across all offices/departments such as casual Fridays and working from home a day or two out of the week.

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Kirkland & Ellis Photos

Kirkland & Ellis photo of: Conference Room
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Kirkland & Ellis Interviews

Experience

Experience
69%
16%
15%

Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview
40%
19%
18%
6
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5

Difficulty

3.0
Average

Difficulty

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  1. Helpful (1)  

    Conflicts Analyst Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Chicago, IL
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 3+ months. I interviewed at Kirkland & Ellis (Chicago, IL) in March 2013.

    Interview

    I applied online and was referred by an employee. A month later I received at email from a recruiter for a possible phone interview. I had the phone interview the next day. She asked basic questions about my work experience and why I was interested in law. At the end, she scheduled me for an in-person interview the next week.

    I arrived for the interview and took a basic proofreading test. It was a little tricky in that you don't know what writing format they're using (Chicago, MLA, APA, all have different rules), but if you use common sense and know how to write you should pass it easily, although apparently most people don't the first time. I passed the test and sat down for an interview with HR again. She went over the same questions again and told me everyone I would be meeting with that afternoon. I then met with the director of the department. He was very friendly, and it was much more conversational than I anticipated. I met with two supervisors after him who answered my questions about the position. I might have been too probing (I was worried that the position wasn't challenging enough and with that many hours I wanted to be interested in the work), but they were very friendly and answered everything with good humor. Lastly I met with another analyst who was also very friendly and reassuring. Overall, the interview was much more of a conversation and getting to meet everyone than an interview, which probably didn't work in my favor.

    I followed up with the recruiter afterwards twice, and I never received a reply. A little over a month later I received a letter in the mail (regular mail) saying that they had other candidates who were better fit.

    Interview Questions

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Kirkland & Ellis Awards & Accolades

  • Top 5: Innovative Law Firms, Financial Times, 2017
  • Top 10 Most Prestigious Firms, Vault, 2018
  • Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality, Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index, 2018
  • Top Illinois Law Firm for LGBT Inclusiveness and Equality, Equality Illinois, 2017
  • The American Lawyer A-List, The American Lawyer, 2017
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