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

Kirkland & Ellis LLP
United States

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.

Lawyer Rankings

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

(Hall of Fame)

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.

United States > Dispute resolution > General commercial disputes

(Hall of Fame)

Richard GodfreyKirkland & Ellis LLP

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.

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

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.

United States > Dispute resolution > Product liability, mass tort and class actions: consumer products (including tobacco) - defense

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.

United States > Industry focus > Environment: litigation

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.

United States > Industry focus > Energy litigation: conventional power

(Hall of Fame)

Richard GodfreyKirkland & Ellis LLP

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(Hall of Fame)

Richard GodfreyKirkland & Ellis LLP