Firm Profile > Kirkland & Ellis LLP > New York, United States
Kirkland & Ellis LLP Offices
601 LEXINGTON AVENUE
NEW YORK, NY 10022
Kirkland & Ellis LLP > The Legal 500 Rankings
Appellate Tier 1
The ‘fantastic’ and ‘incredibly persuasive’ appellate lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis LLP ‘do a fantastic job in handling even the most esoteric and complex legal issues in an understandable manner’. Split 5-4 in the case of Jesner v Arab Bank Plc, the US Supreme Court decided in favor of the group’s client Arab Bank Plc, thereby finding that liability for alleged overseas wrongdoings under the Alien Tort Statute does not extend to foreign corporations sued before US courts. With an impressive track record of over 90 cases argued before the US Supreme Court, the ‘incredible’ Paul Clement represented petitioner WesternGeco in a case reviewing the focus of the 'general damages' provision under the Patent Act, and convinced the court to reverse the Federal Circuit’s prior decision favoring the position of ION Geophysical. Partnering up with George Hicks at the US Supreme Court, Clement secured a victory for petitioner Encino Motorcars in proceedings concerning service advisers at car dealerships and their respective rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act. After achieving successful outcomes for the Chicago Cubs and owner Tom Ricketts during the trial stage and in the Seventh Circuit, Clement and Erin Murphy (who ‘demonstrates unbelievable effectiveness in presenting oral arguments’) jointly led the team in defeating a petition, filed by the owners of rooftop businesses adjacent to Wrigley Field, requesting US Supreme Court review. At the Ninth Circuit, the team is representing TransUnion LLC in appealing a $60m jury verdict concerning alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. At the Fourth Circuit, New York-based Jay Lefkowitz and Washington DC-based Jonathan Janow successfully argued for the Association for Accessible Medicines, which challenged Maryland generic drug pricing statute HB 631. In March 2018, Christopher Landau departed to Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP. In February 2018, Susan Engel left to join Latham & Watkins LLP. Viet Dinh took an executive position in house.
‘A go-to firm for high-yield debt offerings’, Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s issuer-focused practice is widely recognized as ‘top-notch for private equity-related deals’ and the consensus is that ‘few firms can match its institutional private equity relationships’. The team is also noted for its ability to leverage the firm’s market-leading bankruptcy and restructuring practice, which ‘advantageously provides access to a significant volume of restructuring-related debt issuances’. Joshua Korff is ‘a heavyweight issuer-side lawyer’, but also handles manager mandates, and recently advised Teva Pharmaceuticals North America on its $2.5bn notes offering. Christian Nagler was at the helm for several of the group’s highlights during 2018, which included advising Charter Communications on its $2.5bn offering and also advising Frontier Communications on its $1.6bn offering. In Chicago, Dennis Myers assisted Navistar International with its $1.1bn offering of senior notes. Other key contacts include Richard Aftanas and Chicago’s Gerald Nowak. Sophia Hudson joined from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in 2018, and Philippa Bond joined the Los Angeles office from Proskauer Rose LLP in 2019. Named lawyers are based in New York, unless otherwise stated.
A stellar array of clients regularly appoints Kirkland & Ellis LLP's 'dedicated and invested team' to advise on a broad range of antitrust litigation; clients 'trust fully in its advice and appreciate its intelligence and diligence'. Edwin U is currently defending the ABB Optical Group in a series of over 50 putative class actions alleging the client and its co-defendants conspired to maintain minimum resale pricing in the optical lens sector, while a Chicago team including practice co-head Daniel Laytin is defending Blue Cross Blue Shield in a number of class actions challenging its health insurance structure. Also based in Chicago, team co-head James Mutchnik is acting for a major hedge fund as a third party in a multi-district class action brought against global banks on the grounds of alleged collusion in the interest rate swap market. The group's client base also includes names such as Deutsche Bank, DirecTV and also the Chicago Cubs, which Laytin and Paul Clement - among others - have been assisting with longstanding claims filed by the 'Wrigley Rooftops'.
Copyright Tier 1
Kirkland & Ellis LLP has 'a breadth of experience in copyright matters from literature to entertainment to software' which 'provides a firm foundation for them to tackle any dispute'. Working at the helm is Dale Cendali, who has 'exceptional skill' and 'has done a great job mentoring the next generation'. She recently represented Fox News Network in litigation against media monitoring company TVEyes, which had been providing programming belonging to the client to its subscribers. Claudia Ray is also a key figure and focuses on the technology, consumer and financial services sectors. Also recommended is Diana Torres; she acted for Cadence Design Systems with respect to the alleged infringement of its software copyright by Hong-Kong based Skyworth.
The 15-partner team at Kirkland & Ellis LLP is regularly involved in high-profile corporate transactions, which recently included acting for Caesars Entertainment in relation to its $18bn Chapter 11 restructuring proceeding; New York-based Scott Price and Chicago-based Jeffrey Quinn led that matter. Also in Chicago, Michael Falk acted for Boeing in its $4.3bn acquisition of KLX, advised Tenneco on its $5.4bn acquisition of Federal-Mogul, and also acted for private equity firms GTCR and Sycamore Partners in relation to a £1.1bn stake acquisition in CommerceHub. In addition, Alexandra Mihalas acted for Ainsworth Pet Nutrition in its $1.9bn sale to The JM Smucker Company. Boston’s Katherine Coverdale was recently made partner, and Matthew Antinossi in Chicago is also recommended.
Primarily based in the firm's Houston office, Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s 'highly skilled' energy team is 'knowledgeable and very commercial'. The practice group had a very successful 2018, with over 15 lawyers joining from competitor firms and Christopher Heasley and Kyle Watson being internally promoted to partners. Among the new joiners are New York-based Kristin Mendoza and Houston-based Sean T. Wheeler, who joined from Latham & Watkins LLP, Thomas Laughlin and Lanchi Huynh, who joined the Dallas office from Vinson & Elkins LLP, and Houston-based Brooks Antweil, who focuses on capital markets work and joined the team from Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. Practice head Andrew Calder, who focuses on M&A and securities law, advised Energy Future Holdings on its $18.8bn sale to Sempra Energy, an operator of regulated utilities and developer of smart energy infrastructure. Other recommended lawyers include John Pitts and Rhett Van Syoc. Credit Suisse, Energy Future Holdings and Goldman Sachs are also among the team's clients.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP is instructed by public and private companies, investment banks, private equity firms and hedge funds in transactions in the power, renewables and infrastructure sectors, and has experience across the spectrum of upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas matters. Andrew Calder and Anthony Speier jointly head the practice from the Houston office, which also includes David Castro, William Benitez and John Pitts, who specialize in energy-sector corporate transactions. Douglas Bacon and Sean Wheeler, the latter of whom joined the team from Latham & Watkins LLP, advised Rowan Companies on its $12bn all-stock merger with Ensco. The team was considerably strengthened by a number of additional new arrivals in 2018: Kevin Crews, Ryan Gorsche and Benjamin Adelson joined from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP; Michael Considine and Alex Rose joined from Jones Day; Dilen Kumar was hired from Winston & Strawn LLP; David Wheat joined from KPMG; Thomas Laughlin, Lanchi Huynh and Houston-based Julian Seiguer were brought on from Vinson & Elkins LLP; also in Houston, Chad Smith joined from Latham & Watkins LLP and Brooks Antweil joined from Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. All new arrivals are based in Dallas unless stated otherwise.
Environment: litigation Tier 1
‘Difficult to better’, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is renowned for representing BP in matters arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. It continues to act as counsel to the client, including in a host of putative nationwide class actions brought by domestic well owners against BP and other major oil refineries relating to the use of Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) as a gasoline additive. Other of the firm’s key clients include Dow Chemical, DuPont, and General Motors, with its expertise extending to - among other things - mass torts, challenges to federal and state rules, government enforcement actions, criminal and civil matters, Superfund and insurance coverage, and restructuring and bankruptcy matters. In a recurring highlight case, the team defended the City of Chicago in a putative class action alleging dangerous levels of lead exposure in the city’s water and sewer lines. In Chicago, the names to note are Kevin Van Wart, Andrew Langan, Andrew Running, Douglas Smith, and Richard Godfrey, while Jeanne Cohn-Connor is the key contact in Washington DC.
Environment: transactional Tier 1
Kirkland & Ellis LLP is valued by clients for its deep bench and combination of technical and commercial skills. It is routinely involved in environmental due diligence, pre-deal counselling, environmental risk allocation and mitigation, analysis of the environmental regulatory landscape, negotiation of environmental insurance policies, and enforcement and defence of indemnity claims. The outfit has a strong presence advising clients in the energy sector, where recent highlights have included acting on behalf of Rowan Companies in its $12bn combination with Ensue, and advising Energy Future Holdings on its agreement with Sempra Energy for the acquisition via merger of 100% percent of the client’s equity by a subsidiary of Sempra. The ‘outstanding’ Brian Land co-leads the environmental transactional practice group from Washington DC, where he is also the East Coast practice leader. Other ‘A-players’ in the team include practice co-lead Paul Tanaka, who divides his time between San Francisco and Houston, and Washington DC-based Alexandra Farmer and associate Jennie Morawetz. Also in the Washington DC, Jonathan Kidwell is ‘among the most commercial environmental attorneys in the market’. Other key practitioners include Stefanie Gitler in San Francisco, and Sara Michaelchuck Webber, Jeanne Cohn-Connor and Toby Chun in Washington DC.
General commercial disputes Tier 1
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s 'bright and practical' litigation partners are noted for their 'unparalleled responsiveness and creativity'. The firm is sought out by Fortune 100 companies and major private equity houses and stands out for its significant trial capabilities. In high-profile work, Andrew Kassof and Mark Filip defended the Los Angeles Rams in a $1bn breach of contract case relating to the NFL team's relocation, while a team that included Richard Godfrey, Andrew Bloomer and Hariklia Karis represented General Motors in sprawling class action and personal injury disputes arising out of the company's ignition switch recalls; of the roughly 4,000 claims brought, around 70% have been resolved by settlement, dismissal, withdrawal or trial. Elsewhere, James Hurst and Jordan Heinz, working pro bono with Lambda Legal, represent transgender individuals serving or wishing to serve in the military in a discrimination, First Amendment and Fifth Amendment lawsuit against the Trump administration's ban on military service by transgender individuals. Also recommended are Paul Clement and Eugene Assaf in Washington DC, and Anna Rotman in Houston. Named lawyers are based in Chicago unless otherwise stated.
International tax Tier 1
New York-based Dean Shulman and Chicago’s Mike Carew are key names in Kirkland & Ellis LLP's practice. Shulman recently advised Spectrum Brands Holdings, a global consumer products company, on the sale of its Global Consumer Battery Business to Energizer Holdings for $2bn. Carew has been advising Apax Partners on its acquisition of a controlling stake in Healthium MedTech Private Limited, a leading India-based medical devices company. Todd Maynes continues to advise Tronox Limited on the tax aspects of the acquisition of the titanium dioxide business of Cristal, a privately held global chemical and mining company, valued at $2.2bn. Lee Morlock is recommended. Maynes and Morlock are both based in Chicago.
M&A litigation: defense Tier 1
Kirkland & Ellis LLP represents purchasers and sellers, and their boards of directors and financial advisers, in cases arising from challenged mergers, tender offers and leveraged buyout transactions. It has extensive experience in state and federal courts throughout the US, as well as in Delaware Chancery Court. The firm's key partners - Sandra Goldstein, Yosef Riemer and Matthew Solum - are based in New York and are widely regarded as leading players in the market. Goldstein and up-and-coming partner Stefan Atkinson handled derivative litigation in federal court in Delaware on behalf of Qualcomm Inc. Solum and Jay Lefkowitz are acting for buyers of Kindred Healthcare in a breach of fiduciary case. In Chicago, the key partners are Joshua Rabinovitz and Devon Largio, who are representing AbbVie in a case brought by five large hedge funds alleging fraud connected to the failed $55bn merger between AbbVie and Shire plc. In Los Angeles, Mark Holscher , who handled Computer Sciences Corporation v Eric Pulier, et al. in Delaware for Eric Pulier, is the standout partner.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP is praised by clients for its 'exceptional combination of legal, business and technical understanding'. 'Indisputably one of the nation's largest and most qualified teams', the 'very well-coordinated' group 'tends to dig deeper than most firms'; it has a broad sectorial spread and proven expertise in all the major US patent litigation venues, including the PTAB. Marcus Sernel in Chicago and New-York based practice head Gregory Arovas successfully defended Apex Tool Group against a patent infringement suit brought by LoggerHead Tools regarding a patent covering a wrench. New York's Jeanne Heffernan defeated Sycamore IP Holdings in infringement litigation it had brought forward against AT&T Services over a coding scheme patent, sparing the client $200m in damages. In Chicago, Kenneth Adamo is 'one of the nation's top legal minds' and Russell Levine is 'an exceptional litigator'. San Francisco's Sarah Piepmeier is 'a great lead counsel'. Adam Alper, also in San Francisco, and Los Angeles colleague Michael De Vries 'are thorough and focused on ensuring decisions are made that support the long-term view of a case'. IP practice head Gregg LoCascio in Washington DC, Amanda Hollis in Chicago and Leora Ben-Ami in New York are also recommended. Abbott Laboratories, Cisco and Samsung Electronics also feature on the client roster.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP has one of the most successful ITC practices in the market. Joint practice heads Gregory Arovas in New York and Paul Brinkman in Washington DC are regularly involved in the biggest ITC investigations, which recently included two separate ITC investigations instituted against Arista after the firm's client, Cisco Systems, had filed two complaints regarding several of its patents, requesting to exclude every Arista product from entering into the US. Heineken International instructed the team to defend it against a complaint filed by Anheuser-Busch alleging the infringement of four patents related to bag-in-bottles or bottle-in-bottles technology. Michael De Vries in Los Angeles, San Francisco's Adam Alper and Sarah Piepmeier, and Joseph Loy are other main contacts. Clients also include BASF, IBM and Nike.
Private equity buyouts Tier 1
Kirkland & Ellis LLP is widely praised for its ability to build strong teams across the US and, despite its willingness to bring in lateral hires, it 'has done a phenomenal job of moving people through the ranks and institutionalizing its client base'. It advises more than 450 private equity firms worldwide and a high proportion of the world’s largest private equity houses, with clients include Bain Capital, Blackstone, The Carlyle Group, KKR, Madison Dearborn, Thoma Bravo, TPG and Warburg Pincus. It consistently ranks at the top of the various buyout league tables by value and by volume. The team delivers 'excellent commercial and business judgment', 'a depth and breadth of team', 'strength across disciplines' and 'loyalty and accessibility'. 'Knowledge of market terms provides a significant competitive advantage', the team is 'very strong in structuring creative solutions to complex transactions', is able to 'synthesize complex issues into quick efficient conversations' and has 'an ability to focus efforts on issues that drive monetary value'. It advised Bain Capital on the $1.2bn sale of BMC Software to KKR and represented Apax Partners on the $2bn sale of its ownership stake in GlobalLogic to Partners Group. Jon Ballis is chairman-elect of the firm, in private equity he 'understands all the issues, but also has a bed-side manner': 'he can read the situation very well and is willing to push back on his clients and focus them on what they should focus on'. New York's Eunu Chun 'is always a pleasure to work with' and fellow New York partner Peter Martelli is another impressive figure who advises the likes of Blackstone, Pamplona Capital Management and Centerbridge Partners. Stephen Ritchie is 'a really good lawyer' and Los Angeles partner Rick Madden is 'incredibly competent', 'very efficient with his time' and clients 'trust his judgement implicitly'. Matthew Steinmetz, Walter Holzer, Sanford Perl, Richard Campbell and New York's Sean Rodgers, Michael Weisser and Leo Greenberg are also highly rated. It has also brought in further lateral hires, including New York's Jennifer Perkins from Latham & Watkins LLP and Steven Napolitano and Brendan Head from DLA Piper LLP (US). Further, Los Angeles-based Michael Woronoff, Monica Shilling, and Jonathan Benloulou joined from Proskauer Rose LLP in 2019. Named partners are based in Chicago unless stated otherwise.
According to one source, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is 'hands-down, the industry leader with respect to representing the managers of private equity funds'. The team has 'a deep bench' with 'unrivaled market knowledge' which provides 'high quality client service'. In the New York office, practice head John O'Neil and Daniel Lavon-Krein advised Sycamore Partners on forming Sycamore Partners III, which held its final closing in June 2018 after raising $4.8bn. In another matter, the 'tenacious and disarming' Erica Berthou advised GSO Capital Partners, a new client for the firm, on the final closing of the multibillion-dollar credit GSO Credit Alpha Fund II. Another fundraising mandate handled in New York was Andrew Wright and Robert Blaustein's advice to Warburg Pincus on forming its first companion fund in the financial industry. Other New York-based contacts include John Budetti, Jordan Murray and Katrina Rowe. In Chicago, names to note include John Muno, who garners praise for his 'incredible market knowledge, combining practical business advice with the right mix of thoughtful strategy and perfect attention to detail'; Sarah Kirson and ‘tough negotiator’ Katie St. Peters are also recommended. Stephanie Berdik and Sean Hill are key contacts in Boston. Ken Muller joined the San Francisco office from Morrison & Foerster LLP in May 2018.
The toxic tort litigation department at Kirkland & Ellis LLP has vast experience handling toxic tort claims arising from chemicals exposure, water contamination and air pollution, among others incidents. In recent highlights, Chicago-based Kevin Van Wart and Bradley Weidenhammer successfully defended DuPont, General Electric and other government contractors in several lawsuits, in which plaintiffs alleged radioactive emissions from Washington State’s Hanford Nuclear Reservation caused cancers and other diseases. In addition, Eugene Assaf and Michael Williams in Washington continue to act as national counsel and lead trial counsel for BASF Catalysts in several asbestos-related product liability lawsuits. Other standout highlights include representing BP America in the ongoing Gulf of Mexico oil spill litigation, where it recently reached a settlement in a Louisiana case, and acting for Dow Chemical in a drinking water contamination action brought by the Suffolk County Water Authority. Jay Lefkowitz in New York and Kimberly Branscome in Los Angeles are other names to note.
Real estate Tier 1
Kirkland & Ellis LLP , which combines ‘intellectual capacity, commercialism, professionalism and technical legal expertise', handles a broad range of legal issues, including M&A, joint ventures, debt restructurings, private equity fund formations, financing and REIT matters. The firm's client roster includes sponsors, sovereign wealth funds, pensions organizations and other institutional investors. Christopher Hartmann advised Starwood Capital Group on its $835m sale of 16 multifamily assets and interests in REIT entities to CapitaLand International. Jonathan Schechter acted for GAW Capital Partners on a $225m loan as part of a $650m syndicated leasehold financing for the acquisition and redevelopment of a multi-use hotel property in New York. Scott Berger specializes in the private equity aspects of domestic and international real estate and real estate-related transactions. Another recent highlight included representing Marriott Vacations Worldwide on its $4.6bn acquisition of ILG. Chicago-based Joshua Hanna acted for First State Super on its investment in a $1bn joint venture with Lendlease to develop and operate multifamily residential rental properties in various US cities. Rachel Brown, who is also based in Chicago, advised Värde Partners on the $605m sale of its interest in the Utah ski mountains. Chicago-based Andrew Small is also recommended. Justin Elliott joined as partner from Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and John Goldman joined as partner from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. Other clients include Atrium Hotels, Oak Street Real Estate Capital, Gramercy Property Trust and The Blackstone Group. All named attorneys are based in New York unless otherwise stated.
The ‘go-to firm for complex and high-profile Chapter 11 and restructuring mandates’, Kirkland & Ellis LLP ‘provides extraordinary service at a time of maximum stress for a company’. The firm specializes in complex cross-border restructurings and insolvency matters, representing debtors and distressed creditors in Chapter 11 cases and out-of-court restructurings across various industries. The large, multi-jurisdictional practice is led by Chicago and New York-based James Sprayregen, who ‘has unparalleled experience and credibility’ and ‘ is very well connected and able to steer the deal in the right direction’. He has ‘enormous resources’ to draw on, including ‘reassuring and good strategist’ Anup Sathy in Chicago, who is ‘very calm, always available to provide wise counsel and has enormous credibility with all key stakeholders’. He led for American Tire Distributors, one of the largest independent suppliers of replacement tires, in its prearranged Chapter 11 cases. Also notable in the ‘universally exceptionally skilled’ team is Chicago-based Ross Kwasteniet, who is ‘very bright, creative and always available to provide measured advice’, and Jonathan Henes in the New York office, who represents global provider of print and related resources Cenveo and its domestic subsidiaries in their prearranged Chapter 11 restructuring in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Agreements provided $290m in debtor-in-possession financing, giving the company $100m in incremental liquidity to support it in completing its reorganization. Also notable in the New York team is experienced restructuring practitioner Joshua Sussberg. Other key clients include Avaya, Exco Resources and Nine West Holdings.
Technology transactions Tier 1
Kirkland & Ellis LLP has expertise in IT outsourcing, technology licensing agreements and patent transactions in the context of M&A deals. Jointly headed by Neil Hirshman and Chicago-based Seth Traxler, the team advised The Boeing Company on a joint venture and IP licensing agreement with Safran for the design and manufacture of aircraft auxiliary power unit systems. Further, Vladimir Khodosh assisted Accenture Digital in the licensing of satellite imagery and an internet of things development platform. The department has also seen a number of new joiners in 2018-2019: Adam Petravicius joined the team from Jenner & Block LLP, Kate Withers joined from Fenwick & West LLP, and Shellie Freedman joined the New York office from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. Additionally, Matthew Colman was promoted to partner in October 2018. Edward Sadtler joined Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP in April 2019. Named lawyers are based in Chicago unless stated otherwise.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP's sizable IP team is regularly involved in trade secret disputes. New York- based Dale Cendali leads the team and alongside Joshua Simmons represented IBM in a dispute against Teraproc, which is run by former IBM employees, alleging that the start-up used source code owned by the client for its workload management platform. Also in the New York office, Claudia Ray and Joseph Loy acted for Dollar Shave Club against Edgewell Personal Care Company, which allegedly used an unlawful non-compete agreement for a senior employee who now works for the client. Los Angeles-based Diana Torres defended EVelozcity and two of its executives in trade secret litigation brought by Faraday Future involving AI electric vehicle technology. From the DC office, Christopher Mizzo represented The Chamberlain Group in litigation against a number of competitors alleging trade secret misappropriation in relation to garage door openers. Another contact in DC is Craig Primis, who represented Boeing in a dispute against its former subcontractor, which alleged that a misappropriation of confidential information arose from the US Air Force’s award of a contract to the client. San Francisco-based Adam Alper and Michael De Vries from the Los Angeles office acted for Motorola against Hytera Communications, which allegedly stole thousands of the client's documents.
US taxes: non-contentious Tier 1
The ‘excellent and business savvy’ tax department at Kirkland & Ellis LLP demonstrate ‘impressive knowledge of the market and latest developments’ and is able to ‘communicate technical tax issues effectively to non-tax practitioners’. M&A and private equity transactions, fund formation, real estate and restructuring are key areas of activity, and recent mandates in these areas included Chicago partners Gregory Gallagher, Polina Liberman and Jeff Ekeberg handling several matters on behalf of Bain Capital Private Equity, including the sale of BMC Software to KKR for approximately $8bn and its recapitalization of TriTech Software Systems. Gallagher is also advising iHeartMedia on restructuring and bankruptcy matters. Jared Rusman and Vin Thorn in New York are advising General Motors on a $2.3bn investment by the SoftBank Vision Fund in General Motors’ autonomous vehicle business. In another highlight from the same office, Sara Zablotney and Dean Shulman, ‘both well-rounder tax experts with superb business-acumen’, advised Wyndham Worldwide on the sale of its European vacation rental business to Platinum Equity for approximately $1.3bn, the $1.9bn cash purchase of La Quinta Holdings and the spin-off of the hotel business to become two separate publicly traded companies. Shulman and Todd Maynes co-chair the practice, which has recently added Devin Heckman and Karen Lee to its Palo Alto office from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, respectively; Lane Morgan and David Wheat joined the newly opened Dallas office from KPMG in the summer of 2018. Other arrivals include Josh McLane in Los Angeles from CareTrust REIT in December 2017, Scott Cockerham in Washington DC from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in July 2018, and Alec Campbell and Marguerite Lombardo, who joined the Boston office from Proskauer Rose LLP in April 2018.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP advertising, marketing and promotions group fields a team of intellectual property litigation experts and frequently handles false advertising disputes. In the consumer class action space, it defended Colgate-Palmolive in a dispute alleging false and misleading advertising of the whitening properties of its Optic White toothpaste, and represented Sanderson Farms in allegations of false advertising from two consumer advocacy groups relating to its '100% natural' chicken. Washington DC-based Gregg LoCascio alongside Robin McCue and Megan New (both based in Chicago) successfully obtained a jury trial victory and $16m in damages for Dyson in false advertising litigation brought against its vacuum competitor SharkNinja. Ross Weisman, also in Chicago, is another key name to note. The practice also has experience advising clients before the FTC, the NAD and National Advertising Review Board (NARB).
Capital markets: debt Tier 2
Best known for its premier high-yield debt practice, Kirkland & Ellis LLP also handles a solid volume of investment grade deals. The team has seen continued success in company-side deals, having secured mandates from a string of major corporate issuers over the past year. For example, New York-based Joshua Korff advised Kraft Heinz Foods on notes offerings totaling $3bn, while Chicago-based Robert Hayward assisted Boeing with senior notes offerings worth $1.5bn. Hayward also teamed up with Chicago-based Robert Goedert and Keith Crow to advise Kellogg, as issuer, on a two-tranche debt offering worth $1bn. The firm is also well known for its close relationships with private equity funds and routinely advises private equity sponsors on debt transactions. Other senior names include Chicago-based Dennis Myers, and New York partners Richard Aftanas and Christian Nagler. In 2019, Monica Shilling and Philippa Bond joined the firm's Los Angeles office from Proskauer Rose LLP.
‘A top-notch player for issuers on private equity-related offerings’, Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s ‘incredibly smart and pro-business group’ is also a regular fixture on manager-side mandates. In addition, the team recently strengthened its Los Angeles-based offering with the hires of Philippa Bond and Monica Shilling from Proskauer Rose LLP. Among the team's highlights, Christian Nagler assisted Leo Holdings (a SPAC formed by private equity house Lion Capital) with its $200m IPO. Nagler also acted for an SPAC formed by Carlyle on its $300m IPO. The firm’s issuer-side practice is not limited to private equity-related work and in an example of its broad corporate base, Joshua Korff, noted as ‘a great lawyer’, and Michael Kim acted for Avaya Holdings on its $300m offering of convertible senior notes. On the manager front, Nagler advised Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank on the $250m IPO of SPAC, DFB Healthcare Acquisitions. Richard Aftanas and Chicago-based Dennis Myers are also key contacts. Named partners are based in New York unless otherwise stated.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP's group is led by veteran Washington DC- and Chicago-based white-collar lawyer Mark Filip, who represents corporates, financial institutions and individuals in the gamut of sensitive investigations and criminal prosecutions. Filip and Chicago-based Mark Schneider are representing Allergan in various state and federal government investigations, congressional inquiries and civil suits related to its sale and marketing of opioid painkillers. The duo are also representing Teva Pharmaceuticals together with Houston's Brigham Cannon and New York's Henry DePippo in related DOJ and SEC investigations into alleged FCPA violations; they secured a civil settlement with the latter and a deferred prosecution agreement with the former. In terms of individuals, Mark Holscher, Jeff Sinek and Michael Shipley (all in Los Angeles) successfully defended, as co-counsel with a team from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Eric Pulier against criminal proceedings initiated by the DOJ arising from fraud allegations relating to the sale of his company, ServiceMesh, to Computer Science Corporation; all charges were dropped. Other key team members include Chicago's Asheesh Goel, Kim Nemirow and Elizabeth Hess and Washington DC's Erica Williams. In 2018-2019, the team lost a number of individuals to the administration, including Robert Khuzami, Brian Benczkowski, John Lausch, and also William Barr, who was confirmed as US Attorney General in February 2019.
E-discovery Tier 2
'Operating at the top of its game', the team at Kirkland & Ellis LLP is jointly led by New York-based James Mutchnik and Michelle Six, who is 'incredible with clients' and has 'a deep understanding of sophisticated systems and the folks who manage them'. The group is often called upon to assist clients with litigation holds, data-retention policies, privilege issues, employee training, data management and privacy - in addition to e-discovery strategy and the development of data-collection procedures. The group successfully represented Juan Hernandez and James Dossett, on a pro bono basis, in a putative class action against the City of Houston alleging that the plaintiffs were detained beyond the constitutionally allowable window without neutral determination of probable cause; the firm's e-discovery process uncovered a number of abuses committed by the defendant.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP's impressive track record of work in the oil and gas space includes representation in industry-wide criminal antitrust cases, cases arising from oil spills and those concerning refinery explosions. Anna Rotman (Houston), Daniel Donovan (DC) and Matthew Regan (Chicago) are key contacts for the firm's litigation practice. The team handled significant work for BP in 2018; in an ongoing matter, Regan and others act for the client in civil litigation and appeals arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion and fire, which resulted in an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In DC, Ragan Naresh and Donovan are representing defendant Chesapeake Appalachia in a lawsuit brought by some lessors of land in Wyoming alleging violations of well-density and pooling requirements, the underpayment of royalties, and failure to operate for the mutual benefit of the parties. Chicago-based senior litigation partner Richard Godfrey is also recommended. Of counsel Nicholas Gladd (DC), who has expertise in both regulatory and contentious matters, joined from Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in March 2019.
M&A: large deals ($1bn+) Tier 2
Kirkland & Ellis LLP has cemented its formidable standing in strategic M&A, alongside its market leading position in private equity buyouts. It has built an impressive depth of experience in public M&A, cross-border transactions, contested deals, activist defense work and take-private transactions. The firm has pursued a fervent campaign to hire lateral partners in recent years, with M&A and securities specialist Sean Wheeler joining its Houston office in 2018, while private equity and M&A expert Jennifer Perkins moved to New York; both were partners at Latham & Watkins LLP. In addition, Michael Woronoff, Monica Shilling, and Jonathan Benloulou joined the Los Angeles office from Proskauer Rose LLP in 2019, while insurance M&A specialist and 'impressive technical expert' Rajab Abbassi joined the team from Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. The team is 'exceptionally dedicated', with 'a deep understanding of commercial issues' and filled with 'top-quality partners and associates' that combine to provide a 'one-stop-shop service'. It has 'broad transactional experience, with deep knowledge of market precedent' and can 'work seamlessly with numerous overseas counsel as well as the target's counsel'. The department advised Blackstone Group, as the controlling stockholder of Invitation Homes, on the company's $11bn combination with Starwood Waypoint Homes. It also advised Akzo Nobel on the $12.5bn sale of its Specialty Chemicals business to The Carlyle Group and GIC. Moreover, it represented The Scripps Family, the controlling shareholders of Scripps Networks Interactive, on the $14.6bn sale of Scripps to Discovery Communications. David Fox is a seasoned professional with enormous big-ticket M&A experience. Daniel Wolf is another big name to note, while Sarkis Jebejian and Peter Martelli are also highly respected in the market. Jonathan Davis is another increasingly prominent partner; he and Eric Schiele are praised for providing 'direct, pragmatic and useful advice'. Houston partner David Castro is 'extremely hardworking', 'very knowledgeable' and has 'deep experience in large transactions' in the oil and gas space. Houston's Chris Heasley is 'a rising star' along with Anthony Speier who has 'great M&A and energy expertise'. Partners are based in New York unless stated otherwise. Following publication of the 2019 guide, David Klein, who handles public and private M&A and private equity deals, joined the firm from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.
Merger control Tier 2
Kirkland & Ellis LLP recently advised Bain Capital and its portfolio companies on the antitrust aspects of a number of strategic transactions, and Blackstone appointed the group to handle its partnership with its portfolio company Alight and Wipro. Out of Washington DC, Mark Kovner, Jeffrey Ayer and Marin Boney advised Boeing on its acquisition of KLX and its proposed takeover of Millennium Space Systems. Also notable is Matthew Reilly, who was part of the team which guided Spectrum Brands through the sale of its battery and lighting business to Energizer. In New York, Ian John led advice to Charter Communications regarding its creation of a 50/50 operating platform partnership with Comcast. Katherine Rocco and Peter McCormack are also contacts to note in New York. Key names in Chicago include James Mutchnik and Luke Ruse, who are defending Citadel Securities as a third party in a DOJ investigation into the announced purchase of NEX by CME.
Outsourcing Tier 2
Kirkland & Ellis LLP has expertise in the negotiation of intellectual property and technology-related outsourcing deals, and is regularly instructed by clients in the healthcare, software, fintech and chemicals sectors. The firm is advising Revlon on its negotiation of IT services, software and support agreements, which includes the negotiation of a cloud services agreement for the transfer of financial information. Other significant clients include the chemical company Tronox, Kellogg and General Growth Properties. Neil S. Hirshman and Gregg Kirchhoefer, who are both based in Chicago, jointly head the practice. Chicago-based Aaron H. Lorber and associate Todd Herst, also in Chicago, are other key contacts. Adam Petravicius joined the Chicago office from Jenner & Block LLP in January 2018, and Kate H. Withers joined in San Francisco from Fenwick & West LLP in September 2018.
Patents: licensing Tier 2
At Kirkland & Ellis LLP, the arrival of Adam Petravicius from Jenner & Block LLP and of Kate Withers from Fenwick & West LLP bolstered the group's already strong technology transactions practice. The team stands out for its broad sector spread, with recent instructions ranging from the pharmaceutical and technology sectors to the electronics and insurance sectors. In addition to advising Abbott Laboratories on the licensing terms for the settlement of a patent dispute, the practice also assisted BioIVT with the licensing agreements for its acquisition of Ascendance. In addition, Boeing relied on the group for the patent license agreements necessary for its joint venture with Safran aimed at jointly designing and building auxiliary powers units. Other clients include EUSA Pharma, Open Invention Network and Tigen Pharma. Chicago trio Neil Hirshman, Seth Traxler and Russell Levine direct the practice group.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s restructuring and bankruptcy practice is led by the well-regarded James Sprayregen, who splits his time between the firm’s Chicago and New York offices. The team specializes in complex cross-border restructurings and insolvency matters, with experience in financial and operational matters. An area of particular expertise for the practice lies in representing governmental entities and holders of government debt, with a focus on municipal and public bond obligations, pensions and related restructurings.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP has a track record of success in securities class actions, shareholder derivative litigation, structured finance cases, and investigations and enforcement actions by the DOJ, SEC and other regulators. It also has one of the leading accounting liability practices. Mark Filip in Chicago leads the 50-partner securities and shareholder litigation practice. He recently acted for Caterpillar, Inc in numerous cases, which included In re Caterpillar Inc Securities Litigation, a putative class action alleging that the company made misleading statements about its compliance and business policies; the case was ultimately dismissed. Sandra Goldstein in New York is one the market's leading lights and she was part of a team that represented Mylan in a securities case relating to the company’s classification of the EpiPen under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program. Matthew Solum and Yosef Riemer, both based in New York, acted for Bristol-Myers Squibb in three derivative actions arising from a settlement with the SEC for alleged FCPA violations. Chicago-based Joshua Rabinovitz is also recommended.
Shareholder activism Tier 2
Kirkland & Ellis LLP's David Fox, Daniel Wolf and Shaun Mathew (the last of whom joined from Vinson & Elkins LLP) recently advised Avis Budget Group on a co-operation agreement with SRS Investment Management, terminating a two-month proxy contest. Mathew and Eric Schiele, who joined from Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, acted for Wynn Resorts in connection with a contest initiated by company founder Steve Wynn's ex-wife, who launched a withhold campaign against one director. Other clients include The Vitamin Shoppe, which the team advised on agreements with Shah Capital Management and Vintage Capital Management.
Primarily based in the firm's Chicago office, Kirkland & Ellis LLP handles high-value auto and equipment securitizations, where it is particularly active in the subordinated loan space. Additionally, the team is aiming to expand its capabilities in marketplace loan and whole-business securitizations. Jeffrey O’Connor acted for clients such as JP Morgan Securities and Deutsche Bank Securities in several billions of dollars of ABS transactions involving dealer floorplan loans and equipment loans. On the issuer side, the team advised John Deere Capital Corporation on a series of Delaware trust vehicles holding amortizing pools of equipment retail installment sale and loan contracts. Kenneth Morrison is another Chicago-based contact. In the New York office, Sarah Whyte advised Wyndham Destinations on two securitized offerings of timeshare loan receivables, and Janette McMahan acted for Enova International in a $125m 144A and Reg S-compliant offering of notes backed by unsecured consumer loans.
Trademarks: litigation Tier 2
Dale Cendali is a ‘world class litigator’ who heads a ‘great team of highly trained lawyers’ at Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Alongside John O'Quinn, the ‘brilliant’ Claudia Ray and Diana Torres, Cendali recently represented Nike at the Federal Circuit, which overturned a previous ITC ruling, supporting the client’s enforcement efforts against knockoffs of its Converse Chuck Taylor design. Ray, Torres and Cendali also assisted Johanna Schmitt and Joshua Simmons in defeating a motion for preliminary injunction filed by Equinox Hotel Management against client Equinox Holdings; the plaintiff sought to prevent the client from using the ‘Equinox’ trademark in connection with its forthcoming hotel line, though failed to establish a likelihood of success on the merits of irreparable harm. Industries of expertise include media and entertainment, software and technology, financial services, consumer products and fashion. Torres is based in LA while O’Quinn operates from Washington DC. All other named attorneys are part of the firm’s New York office.
Cartel Tier 3
Kirkland & Ellis LLP's antitrust team distinguishes itself through its 'broad base of experience and consistently exceptional results'; it is currently acting for an auto parts supplier as well as several of its executives in the ongoing DOJ investigation into the auto parts industry. Key figures in the team include James Mutchnik and litigation specialist Daniel Laytin, both of whom are based in the firm's Chicago office. Mutchnik is acting for Geo Specialty Chemicals in the criminal DOJ investigation pertaining to water treatment chemicals sold to municipalities in North Carolina and other states. In addition, Tenneco appointed the group to advise on its response to the European Commission's dawn raid of its European facilities as well as a subpoena filed by the DOJ. Other key clients include Deutsche Bank, Clemens Food, Hitachi and Murata. San Francisco-based Eliot Adelson joined Morrison & Foerster LLP in 2019.
Environment: regulatory Tier 3
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s environmental regulatory practice handles high-stakes litigation, regulatory issues in corporate transactions and restructuring matters, and enforcement defense work and related litigation. A recent highlight saw the team representing PES Holdings in its pre-packaged Chapter 11 restructuring, which involved negotiating with the EPA for a settlement regarding the client’s ethanol credit obligations under the Clean Air Act and related regulations. Key figures in the Washington DC-based team include Jeanne Cohn-Connor and Brian Land.
Noted for its 'impressive general commercial litigation prowess', Kirkland & Ellis LLP puts this to good effect across a range of private litigation and agency enforcement actions/investigations for a growing and varied roster of financial services clients, including banks, funds and accountants. Led out of New York by Jay Lefkowitz, Matthew Solum and Joshua Greenblatt, the firm is representing GPLS as one of the defendants in multiple state attorneys general and putative class actions accusing it of engaging in the illegal practice of partnering up with lenders authorized by Native American tribes to avoid usury laws and issue illegal loans to consumers under the concept of tribal immunity. Leveraging the firm's impressive roster of leading private equity firms, another core strength of the team is acting for some of these as global anti-corruption counsel (working alongside practitioners in London and Hong Kong), which includes risk management procedures regarding the sponsor and its portfolio companies as well as representation on any enforcement action/investigation should that arise. Splitting his time between the firm's Chicago and Washington DC offices, Mark Filip heads the firm's government enforcement defense and internal investigations group and is a pivotal member of the multi-disciplinary financial services litigation team that also includes Washington DC-based partners Erica Williams and Neil Eggleston, and New York-based securities enforcement and AML/sanctions expert Zachary Brez.
Leading trial lawyers Tier 3
Sandra Goldstein - Kirkland & Ellis LLP New partner Sandra Goldstein has over two decades of considerable litigation experience, spanning a range of commercial disputes involving M&A-related litigation and securities claims. She has represented Qualcomm in several matters including a derivative claim concerning its securities disclosures against Apple. Other corporate clients include IBM and United Airlines.
Product liability, mass tort and class actions: consumer products (including tobacco) - defense Tier 3
Kirkland & Ellis LLP regularly represents manufacturers and distributors in MDLs and class actions. In Chicago, Andrew McGaan and Richard Godfrey represented Celanese Corporation in a putative multi-state class action claiming negligence and strict liability in the design and sale of plastic plumbing pipes sold to homeowners in 24 states. Mike Brock in Washington and Kimberly Branscome in Los Angeles are representing Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary in two state actions, in which plaintiffs allege that the talc used in talc powder products is contaminated with asbestos.
Product liability, mass tort and class actions: pharmaceuticals and medical devices - defense Tier 3
Kirkland & Ellis LLP regularly acts as counsel and trial team for manufacturers in the pharmaceutical and medical devices sectors. Led by Mike Brock in Washington DC, the team is defending Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and Otsuka Pharmaceutical in a product liability MDL alleging that anti-psychotic prescription drug Abilify caused consumers to exhibit compulsive behaviors such as gambling. The group is also representing Allergan in high-profile opioid litigation. In other work, Washington-based Paul Clement continues to represent Johnson & Johnson and its affiliate DePuy Orthopedics in the consolidated appeals of an adverse jury verdict related to a hip prosthetics MDL. Dow Chemical is also among the team's clients.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP regularly advises public REITs on their largest and most significant M&A matters; the practice also routinely assists its clients and their boards of directors on governance issues, such as shareholder activism, takeover readiness and fiduciary duty and disclosure issues. Sarkis Jebejian led advice to commercial mortgage REIT Ladder Capital on an unsolicited $1.7bn acquisition proposal from Related Fund Management. Also highly rated are David Fox, Daniel Wolf, Michael Brueck, Scott Berger, Jonathan Schechter and tax specialist Michael Beinus, who divides his time between Los Angeles and New York. The partners named, unless otherwise stated, are in New York.
US taxes: contentious Tier 3
The team at Kirkland & Ellis LLP advises clients on a range of tax controversy matters, from pre-audit planning, to audit through administrative appeals and post-appeal mediation. Todd Maynes focuses on the tax litigation aspects of bankruptcies and debt restructurings. Collaborating with Natalie Keller, he secured a favorable decision for WR Grace in a bankruptcy court litigation, seeking a multimillion-dollar refund from the IRS of excess interest collected by the IRS on an income tax deficiency. Rachel Cantor and JoAnne Nagjee are other key names. All named attorneys are based in Chicago.
Commercial lending Tier 4
Kirkland & Ellis LLP has established itself as one of the 'best-in-class' borrower-led practices in the country, with 'extremely in-depth knowledge of market precedents and conditions'. The team is regularly number-one in the league tables for deal value and volume, both for leveraged buyouts and corporate M&A. The firm's lawyers also regularly act on stand-alone financings, DIP financings and complex restructurings. Notable highlights include advising Ares Management on the financing of its $750m acquisition of Texas-based oil and gas company Admiral Permian Resources, and advising Bain Capital on the $1.4bn financing for the combination of Superion, TriTech and Aptean to form CentralSquare. Also of note, the group advised Charter Communications on a $12.4bn refinancing deal. Linda Myers heads the debt finance team out of Chicago, which fields 60 partners nationally. Other key individuals include Chicago's Michelle Kilkenney and Christopher Butler, San Francisco-based Christopher Kirkham, and Jay Ptashek in New York. The firm is also increasingly active in the direct lending space, where David Nemecek in Los Angeles and Boston-based Ranesh Ramanathan (former general counsel at Bain Capital Credit) are names to note.
The 'experience, trial savvy and strategic planning provided by the team' at Kirkland & Ellis LLP is 'unmatched by any other'. James Nowacki, Elizabeth Hess and Jeffrey Willian 'stand out' at partner level. Nowacki recently advised the Shakespeare Theater on the construction aspects of the new development of a theater on Chicago's Navy Pier. The team, which includes associate trio Josh Mahoney, William O’Hara and Michael Maione, negotiated and drafted various contracts and represented the client in litigation against the project architect over alleged design deficiencies. Willian has been advising Berger Group Holdings on the legal implications of the high-profile Florida International University bridge collapse, including multimillion-dollar claims filed by decedents and injured persons. He has also been acting for CF Industries in connection with cost overrun on five separate fertilizer plants designed and constructed by the client. Named attorneys are based in the firm's Chicago office.
International trade Tier 4
Anchored from Washington DC, but with the ability to draw upon key practitioners in Europe and Asia, Kirkland & Ellis LLP's international trade and national security practice provides a 'holistic and integrated service' across a range of non-contentious trade issues. Spearheaded by the 'excellent' Mario Mancuso, the team picks up a significant amount of CFIUS work both in a freestanding capacity and by virtue of its huge volume of transactional work for its roster of private equity sponsors. Mancuso recently advised Brookfield Infrastructure on the $1.1bn acquisition of a US data center portfolio from AT&T Corporation. The team also provides strategic compliance advice across anti-corruption, sanctions and export control matters. Sanjay Mullick is also a key member of the team, which was strengthened by the recent recruitment of Anthony Rapa and of counsel Abigail Cotterill, from Steptoe & Johnson LLP and Miller & Chevalier Chartered respectively.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP is frequently involved in product liability litigation and class actions in the automotive and aviation sectors. Chicago-based Richard Godfrey and Andrew Bloomer as well as Mike Brock in Washington DC continue to represent General Motors in ongoing class actions and personal injury lawsuits arising from recalls relating to certain ignition switches. In another highlight, the team is defending Polaris Industries in a consolidated consumer class action alleging that certain Polaris ORVs have a design defect that creates an unreasonable risk of overheating and fire.
Acting primarily for corporate end-users and prominent investment funds, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is regularly involved in interest rate, currency and commodity hedging deals in connection with larger corporate transactions and bankruptcy matters. Headed by Scott Gordon, the derivatives team has acted for energy companies and asset managers including Apax Partner, Bain Capital and Blackstone in various hedging arrangements relating to M&A and energy asset transactions. Another contact is Drue Santora, who advises on US and European derivatives regulatory compliance and also has varied transactional experience from currency to equity derivatives.
Healthcare: life sciences Tier 5
Kirkland & Ellis LLP's biotechnology, pharmaceutical and life sciences practice is co-led by Chicago-based James Hurst, who acted for AbbVie in a product liability case concerning the client’s alleged fraudulent misrepresentation of the risks of its blockbuster testosterone replacement drug AndroGel. Co-head Jay Lefkowitz in the New York office assisted Akorn in litigation brought by Fera alleging a number of breaches of the parties’ contract between the client and the plaintiff. Co-heads Patricia Carson and Leora Ben-Ami, who are based in New York and specialize in IP disputes, defended Merus in patent infringement litigation filed by Regeneron and concerning genetically engineered animals used in the production of human biopharmaceutical therapeutics. Chicago-based litigator Diana Watral is ‘brilliant, creative and tenacious’.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP's copyright, trademark, internet and advertising team, based in New York, frequently handles litigation for clients in the media and entertainment sector. Intellectual property litigation expert Dale Cendali is a key contact; she and Joshua Simmons recently led the successful representation of Take-Two Interactive Software in obtaining an injunction against the defendant who created software programs allowing players to create unauthorised features in Take-Two’s online video game Grand Theft Auto. In addition to the gaming industry, the group's experience spans across the music, theatre, film and television sectors; recent matters have included defending Sun TV Network in copyright litigation brought by Freeplay Music and advising Stage Entertainment in copyright infringement relating to the hit Broadway musical Anastasia. Claudia Ray and Johanna Schmitt are noted for their expertise.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP has made a real push in the project finance market with several high-profile hires in 2018; department head Rohit Chaudhry and Brian Greene joined from Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP; Roald Nashi, who is based across the Washington DC and Houston offices, joined from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP; Robert Fleishman, who was formerly at Morrison & Foerster LLP also joined; as did Scott Cockerham, who arrived from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP; and Kelann Stirling in New York, who joined from Latham & Watkins LLP. The team is noted for its experience in handling energy and infrastructure project finance instructions. Chaudhry is acting for the lenders, led by Investec and Crédit Agricole, in a $500m financing for the acquisition of the 644MW Bayonne Energy Project in New Jersey from Macquarie Infrastructure Partners by Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners; and Nashi advised Sithe Global Power and SG Bujugali Holdings on the contemporaneous transfer of its shares and refinancing of the debt of Bujugali Energy, which owns the 250MW Bujagali hydropower project in Uganda. Working together, Chaudhry and Nashi advised Brookfield Asset Management and its affiliates, as buyers and borrowers, on the committed acquisition financing for the purchase of midstream assets from Enbridge. The duo also led advice for the lenders on a $2.4bn holding company financing for Freeport LNG. Named individuals are based in Washington DC unless otherwise indicated.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP > Firm Profile
Kirkland & Ellis is a global law firm with 2,700 attorneys representing clients in private equity, M&A and other complex corporate transactions, litigation and dispute resolution/arbitration, restructuring, and intellectual property matters. The Firm has 15 offices around the world: Beijing, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Munich, New York, Palo Alto, Paris, San Francisco, Shanghai and Washington, D.C.
Main areas of practice
Antitrust and competition: Kirkland advises on all aspects of competition law, including preeminent criminal and civil antitrust litigation defense, government investigation defense, expedited transaction clearance and real-world counseling experience. The firm provides seamless representation to clients throughout the world. Kirkland successfully defends clients in their most important government-initiated and private cases involving the full spectrum of antitrust claims, from cartels to monopolization to pricing disputes. The group also has an exceptional depth of experience in US and foreign merger and acquisition clearances, from strategic counseling to efficient filing with regulatory agencies and rapid regulatory review.
Capital markets: Kirkland covers the full spectrum of corporate financing techniques. The firm represents issuers, sponsors and underwriters in a wide variety of international securities transactions, with a particular focus on offerings of high-yield and other complex debt securities.
Debt finance: Kirkland services both borrowers and lenders in a wide variety of financing transactions across the entire capital structure. The firm is engaged in every aspect of a financing transaction: advising borrowers and lenders on senior, subordinated, mezzanine and bridge financing transactions, as well as high-yield offerings. Kirkland has unsurpassed experience in structuring and negotiating the layers of senior and unsubordinated debt and equity financing in connection with leveraged acquisitions. The group also handles DIP financings, exit financings and debt restructurings.
Intellectual property litigation: Kirkland has one of the most respected intellectual property litigation practices, with particular experience in large-scale patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret misappropriation and advertising matters. The firm has an active trial practice with one of the best success rates despite handling some of the most challenging IP litigation cases in history.
International litigation and arbitration: Kirkland is renowned for its experience in complex litigation and arbitration around the world, with a proven track record of generating successful results for clients in their most high-stakes cases. The firm has a deep bench of lawyers who have taken cases to verdict since the early stages of their careers. Lawyers in all of Kirkland’s offices have tried cases, successfully to verdict or to judgment, in virtually every substantive area and business segment. Kirkland is also recognised for its international arbitration and white-collar crime and government investigations work on a global basis.
International trade and national security: Kirkland’s International Trade and National Security Practice provides strategic and legal advice to companies, investment funds and financial institutions operating or investing across international borders. We routinely work with clients across industries and geographies on corporate transactions, strategic risk advisory and management, compliance and licensing, and investigations and enforcement matters. Our practice is widely recognized as a leading international advisory practice and is distinguished by the breadth and depth of its approach.
Investment funds: Kirkland is a global leader in providing sophisticated advice to investment fund sponsors, institutional investors and other market participants in the alternative investment fund space. The firm is uniquely positioned to serve its clients in connection with the formation, organization and operation of buyout, growth-equity, venture, real estate, infrastructure, energy, credit, mezzanine, private equity and hedge funds, as well as their respective management companies.
Private equity/mergers and acquisitions: Kirkland covers the full spectrum of corporate transactions important to businesses in today’s global marketplace. Because of the firm’s consistently high volume of complex transactional engagements, it has developed a broad vision of the issues that confront business organizations. The team has extensive experience in the formulation of innovative strategies for structuring acquisitions and financings of private and public companies, negotiated as well as unsolicited acquisitions, going-private transactions, stock-for-stock acquisitions, spin-off transactions and acquisitions of minority interests.
Real estate: Kirkland pursues an interdisciplinary approach to sophisticated transactions in the commercial real estate industry. The firm regularly represents private equity fund sponsors and investors in various industries and investment strategies. Attorneys are also frequently involved in complex transactions involving publicly traded and privately owned REITs, and have broad experience in real estate secured lending, structured finance and the hospitality property area.
Restructuring and insolvency: By combining sophisticated business advisory and crisis management skills with extensive experience in multijurisdictional insolvency matters, Kirkland’s global restructuring group navigates clients through situations involving financially troubled companies. The firm has earned a distinguished reputation by achieving positive results for a wide range of clients in complex corporate restructuring, workout and bankruptcy planning, negotiation and litigation.
Tax: Kirkland has developed a strong international reputation for providing creative and sophisticated tax counseling and effectively representing clients in tax disputes worldwide. Kirkland’s tax practice can be divided broadly into two areas: tax planning in connection with mergers, acquisitions, buyouts, fund formations, restructurings, financings, executive compensation plans and other sophisticated transactions; and contested tax matters.
Technology and intellectual property transactions: Kirkland concentrates on international business transactions that are driven by the acquisition, use or divestiture of rights in intellectual property and technology. The firm represents leading technology companies and brings its experience to all areas of IP, including patents, copyrights, trademarks, outsourcing, computer software, licensing, distribution, joint venture agreements, biotechnology, data protection and e-commerce issues, as well as competition law-related matters.
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Staff FiguresNumber of Partners : 1,137 Number of Other Fee-Earners : 1,540 Total Staff : 5,015
Kirkland is committed to providing legal services without charge to those who cannot afford counsel, with the goals of improving lives, bettering communities and deepening our attorneys’ professional experience. In 2019, Kirkland attorneys worldwide devoted a firm-record high of more than 164,000 hours of free legal service to more than 2,000 pro bono clients. Kirkland also donated more than $16 million to more than 1,400 organizations to support worthy causes in our communities and around the world.
Advancing Diversity & Inclusion
Kirkland embraces and promotes diversity and inclusion, both within our organization and throughout the legal profession and the global communities in which we live and work. To achieve this goal, a dedicated and active group of partners leads our firm-wide Diversity and Inclusion Committee. The committee includes racial and ethnic diversity, gender and LGBTQ+ subcommittees to ensure that our programs and policies address the needs of all attorneys. Additionally, Kirkland has a firm-wide Diversity Integration Task Force (DITF), which includes the firm’s chairman and ten other members of the Global Management Executive Committee, as well as senior partners who chair key firm-wide committees. The DITF, along with our firm-wide Diversity and Inclusion Committee, drives diversity into existing work streams and facilitates Kirkland’s diversity leadership in the legal industry.
Top Tier Firm Rankings
- Capital markets: high-yield debt offerings
- Civil litigation/class actions: defense
- Employee benefits, executive compensation and retirement plans: transactional
- Energy: transactions: conventional power
- Energy: transactions: oil and gas
- Environment: litigation
- Environment: transactional
- General commercial disputes
- International tax
- M&A litigation: defense
- Patents: litigation (full coverage)
- Patents: litigation (International Trade Commission)
- Private equity buyouts
- Private equity funds (including venture capital)
- Product liability, mass tort and class actions: toxic tort - defense
- Real estate
- Restructuring (including bankruptcy): corporate
- Technology transactions
- Trade secrets (litigation and non-contentious matters)
- US taxes: non-contentious
- Advertising and marketing: litigation
- Capital markets: debt
- Capital markets: equity offerings
- Corporate investigations and white-collar criminal defense
- Energy litigation: oil and gas
- M&A: large deals ($1bn+)
- Merger control
- Patents: licensing
- Restructuring (including bankruptcy): municipal
- Securities litigation - defense
- Shareholder activism
- Structured finance: securitization
- Trademarks: litigation
- Environment: regulatory
- Financial services litigation
- Leading trial lawyers
- Product liability, mass tort and class actions: consumer products (including tobacco) - defense
- Product liability, mass tort and class actions: pharmaceuticals and medical devices - defense
- Real estate investment trusts (REITs)
- US taxes: contentious
- Commercial lending
- Construction (including construction litigation)
- International trade
- Product liability, mass tort and class actions: automotive/transport - defense
- Structured finance: derivatives and structured products
- Healthcare: life sciences
- Media and entertainment: litigation
- Project finance