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Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Work +1 312 862 2000
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Richard Godfrey

Work +1 312-862-2391
Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Work Department



Rick is a senior litigation partner who acts as trial and appellate counsel in individual and class action suits involving complex claims in a variety of practice areas, including antitrust and trade regulation, contracts, consumer fraud, fraud and false advertising, discrimination and employment discrimination, ERISA, environmental, franchise and distribution, insurance, mass torts, products liability, trade secrets, tax, and others. He represented BP in the Deepwater Horizon matter, and represents GM in the Ignition Switch Recall Litigation.


Trustee, member and fellow of numerous institutions and organizations.


Boston University School of Law, J.D.; Augustana College, B.A.

United States: Dispute resolution

General commercial disputes

Within: Leading lawyers

Richard Godfrey - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Within: General commercial disputes

Among the best for highly complex and potentially "bet the company" legal issues’, Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s litigation team is ‘client-oriented, creative and smart’. With 500 attorneys in the litigation practice firmwide, it is one of the largest groups in the market. Of particular note is the team’s broad experience in state and federal courts - including at appellate level - and in arbitration proceedings. A team that includes Mark Filip, Donna Welch, Leslie Smith and Jennifer Levy is representing Allergan in the closely watched opioids investigations, which span state and federal governmental investigations, congressional inquiries and civil lawsuits. Elsewhere, James Hurst and Andrew Kassof secured a victory for Abbott Laboratories in a False Claims Act (FCA) jury trial in the Northern District of Texas, which was affirmed by the Fifth Circuit in May 2017. Richard Godfrey is a ‘brilliant class action lawyer’. Andrew McGaan and Washington DC-based Eugene Assaf are also recommended. Above-named partners are based in Chicago unless otherwise stated. In April 2018, star litigator Sandra Goldstein joined from Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.

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Product liability, mass tort and class action: automotive/transport

Within: Product liability, mass tort and class action: automotive/transport

Kirkland & Ellis LLP advises on product liability litigation and mass torts in the automotive and aviation industry. In one recent highlight, Craig Primis obtained a favorable settlement of consolidated lawsuits brought against Boeing relating to the 2013 crash of a Boeing 747-400, and which alleged negligence and strict liability. In other work, Robert Brock and Chicago-based Richard Godfrey continue to act for General Motors in the General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation. Primis and Brock co-head the department in Washington DC; Andrew Bloomer in Chicago is another key figure.

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Product liability, mass tort and class action: consumer products (including tobacco)

Within: Product liability, mass tort and class action: consumer products (including tobacco)

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s product liability and mass tort practice handles MDLs and class actions for manufacturers and distributors. In recent work, Chicago-based Richard Godfrey obtained class settlement for L3Technologies in a class action suit involving allegedly defective military and consumer rifle accessories. In Washington DC, Eugene Assaf and Edwin U continue to represent Henkel in an MDL, involving unfair and deceptive trade practices claims in relation to the effectiveness of the Dial Complete line of antibacterial soaps. Chicago-based Andrew McGaan is another key figure in the department. In July 2017, Matthew Papez departed to Jones Day.

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United States: Industry focus

Energy litigation: oil and gas

Within: Leading lawyers

Richard Godfrey - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Within: Energy litigation: oil and gas

Contentious work for oil and gas companies is a cornerstone of Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s practice: for its key client BP, the team continues to handle multidistrict and related civil litigation as well as governmental investigations arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and, most recently, acted in a breach of contract and recovery action against Cashman Equipment regarding overcharges for barge rental and skimming services during the response to the Deepwater Horizon incident. In other notable work, Gabor Balassa successfully represented Sabine Oil & Gas in a fraudulent conveyance trial arising from a merger that the company undertook six months prior to its bankruptcy filing. Names to note are the renowned Richard Godfrey and Washington D.C.-based Daniel Donovan.

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Environment: litigation

Within: Environment: litigation

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s highly rated environmental litigation group acts for clients in a variety of civil, criminal and administrative environmental proceedings. These include mass torts and class actions; challenges to federal and state rule makings; government enforcement actions; and white-collar criminal and civil matters. Other areas of note include appellate matters; potentially responsible party litigation; the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) - also known as Superfund - and insurance coverage matters; and restructuring, contract and indemnity claims. The team is assisting BP with various matters arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. The practice also defended the City of Chicago against a putative class action, alleging that the replacement of water and sewer lines and installation of water meters causes dangerous levels of lead exposure to hundreds of thousands of residents. In addition, the team acted for Chesapeake Appalachia in a lawsuit against Cameron International, which related to a well-control incident in Pennsylvania. The practice was also lead counsel for Dow Chemical and Rockwell International, in a complex environmental contamination class action. Chicago’s Kevin Van Wart, Andrew Langan and Andrew Running, along with Chicago-based Richard Godfrey, are all recommended.

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