Mr Richard Godfrey > Kirkland & Ellis LLP > Chicago, United States > Lawyer Profile

Kirkland & Ellis LLP
United States


Rick is a senior litigation partner who for over three decades has represented large publicly-held corporations at trial and on appeal in some of the nation’s largest, most high-profile complex litigation matters. He routinely advises senior management and corporate Boards regarding litigation risks and strategy. For example: Rick has represented BP in Deepwater Horizon; GM in the Ignition Switch and Vehicle Recalls products liability and economic loss class action litigation; Aon in the insurance brokerage antitrust litigation arising out of New York Attorney General Spitzer’s investigation; Windstream in its bond covenant litigation; a large insurance company for over a decade in age discrimination lawsuits brought by the EEOC and in ERISA and age discrimination suits brought by plaintiffs’ class action lawyers; Exxon in gasoline pricing class action litigation; Celanese in alleged defective piping class action litigation; an industrial conglomerate in asbestos litigation; General Motors Corporation in its retiree health care litigation; and BP in various environmental class action lawsuits, among others.


Trustee, member and fellow of numerous institutions and organizations, including serving as a Litigation Member of Kirkland’s Global Executive Management Committee for 16 years, having reached his maximum term limit.


Boston University School of Law, J.D. (magna cum laude)

Lawyer Rankings

United States > Dispute resolution > General commercial disputes

(Hall of Fame)

Richard GodfreyKirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP ‘brings an almost unique set of strengths and resources to address complex, high-stakes commercial litigation.’ The practice is noted for its breadth, with expertise in civil trials, congressional inquiries, securities litigation, class action claims and government investigations, among others. Defendants and plaintiffs alike approach the group for legal support in crises. The New York-based Sandra Goldstein is noted for her expertise in fraud class actions, securities and commercial disputes. Mark Filip, who divides his time between Chicago and Washington DC, has a strong track record for civil cases: he is for instance acting for Allergan in the Opioids litigation. James Hurst‘s broad practice spans patent, products liability, trade secret, criminal, antitrust, and contract matters, and Andrew Kassof has know-how in trying cases; both are based in Chicago. New York’s Aaron Marks is well versed in acting for financial institutions. Other prominent practitioners are Richard Godfrey and Diana Watral in Chicago, as well as Craig Primis in Washington DC.

United States > Dispute resolution > Product liability, mass tort and class action - defense: automotive/transport

The ‘thoughtful, pragmatic and effective’ team at Kirkland & Ellis LLPdelivers quality class action defense‘ to a raft of high-profile corporates, including automotive manufacturers, in state and federal courts across the country, including in the context of MDL litigation. The firm is noted for its trial-ready approach which translates to very persausive advocacy in jury trials, as well as providing it with the leverage to secure favourable settlements, success at summary judgment and the early dismissal of cases. General Motors remains a cornerstone client of the practice and continues to provide a raft of product liability instructions, including relating to airbags and emissions standards. ‘A master in the complex litigation class action realm’, Richard Godfrey continues to handle work for GM, including his work alongside the ‘incredibly smart, thoughtful and client-focused’ Renee Smith  in relation to the Takata airbag litigation and the high-profile diesel emissions putative class action. All named practitioners are based out of the firm’s Chicago office.

United States > Industry focus > Energy litigation: oil and gas

(Hall of Fame)

Richard GodfreyKirkland & Ellis LLP

The oil and gas litigation team at Kirkland & Ellis LLP has a strong reputation in the energy sector, with extensive experience representing clients before major state and federal courts and agencies, including the Department of Energy and FERC. The practice group also advises in administrative and regulatory proceedings before the European Union and other international governing bodies. Based in Houston, Anna Rotman leads the group and has significant trial experience in business disputes and restructurings, representing both plaintiffs and defendants. Kenneth Young and associate Dustin Womack focus primarily on complex commercial litigation, with the former handling issues related to climate change – the pair provide strong support in Houston. In Chicago, Richard Godfrey is also recommended and forms part of the wider litigation group.