Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Kirkland & Ellis International LLP

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Kirkland & Ellis International LLP

Why did you choose this firm over any others?  ‘Best law firm for private equity’, ‘market-leading practices’, ‘remuneration’, ‘quality of work’, ‘the Kirkland brand is well deserved’, ‘I’ve never seen any place quite like it in terms of productivity and expertise; teams regularly work out new market strategies in real time’, ‘K&E is the natural choice for anyone wanting to work as a transactional private equity lawyer’  

What is the best thing about the firm? ‘The can-do attitude’, ‘the people you work with are objectively smart’, ‘culture – Kirkland & Ellis supports and looks for more efficient trainee development than other firms’, ‘informal atmosphere with quality of work’, ‘private equity focus’ 

What is the worst thing about the firm?  ‘Work/life balance’, ‘the hours are sometimes unpredictable which means making plans on weekdays is often a no-go’, ‘for the hours we work and the level of the work that we do, trainees should probably be paid closer to associate rates’, ‘24/7 expectation of availability’ 

What has been the best moment of your training to date?  ‘Being given the responsibility to run closings, etc, by myself, and achieving recognition from the client at having done so’, ‘I ran a regulatory filing in Germany (with a light touch from a partner) on time’, ’signing and closing the largest logistics real estate deal ever in Europe’, ‘working on a c.$5bn financing of a headline-making deal’ 

What has been the worst moment of your training to date?  ‘I found the very late nights in the run-up to closings without much of a break before work picked up again very hard to handle in my first seat’, ‘the first few months of my training contract were a very rough shock to the system’, ‘bringing my laptop to a date’, ‘cancelling my birthday dinner due to workload’ 

The Legal 500 Future Lawyers verdict on Kirkland & Ellis International LLP

Kirkland & Ellis is a three-time Future Lawyers Winner for confidence of being kept on, client contact and salary. At this US firm you can expect ‘much more hands-on’ training and a ‘great energy’ thanks to working with ‘highly-motivated people who are passionate about what they do, but also very friendly and approachable’. Trainees appreciate the ‘ethos of giving people as much responsibility as they can handle, regardless of their level’. As one recruit put it: ‘there’s an osmosis factor – you watch the way senior lawyers work and handle themselves and use the best bits to scaffold your own brand’. In terms of work/life balance, ‘there is a massive departmental range’, but recruits should expect that ‘as a junior, your workstreams will be unpredictable’. There are times when Kirkland trainees are expected to be available at all hours, making it very hard to balance work with personal life. The trade-off is that recruits get to work with ‘the best private equity clients in the world’ because ‘Kirkland’s position in this market is unparalleled, both in terms of client relationships and quality of work’. The firm is an ideal place to train for those who consider themselves self-starters: ‘Kirkland facilitates and expects individual development at a faster rate than its peers’. For one trainee, the best thing about the firm is that ‘the private equity focus means that I did not have to pick a sector and stagnate; in the course of one six-month seat in financial regulatory, I worked on projects in tech, real estate, credit funds, telecommunications, infrastructure, and more’. If you have a ‘can-do attitude’ and are looking for an opportunity to ‘push yourself’, consider Kirkland & Ellis. 

About the firm

The firm: Kirkland & Ellis is a global law firm specialising in advising on private equity M&A and financing transactions, fund formation, litigation and restructuring. The firm is pre-eminent in those areas globally across its 19 offices in the US, Europe and Asia. The firm has developed its leading position by focusing on empowering its lawyers with accelerated career paths to partnership, rewarding dedication, focus and teamwork and allowing its lawyers to be entrepreneurial and client-facing at all stages in their careers.

The clients: Advent International, Antin Infrastructure Partners, Apax, Bain Capital Private Equity, BC Partners, Blackstone, EQT, GIC, Hellman & Friedman, Montagu Private Equity, Nordic Capital, Starwood Capital Group, TA Associates, Thoma Bravo, TDR Capital, TPG, Triton, Vista Equity Partners, Warburg Pincus.

Other offices: Austin, Bay Area, Beijing, Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Dallas, Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Munich, New York, Paris, Salt Lake City, Shanghai, Washington, DC.

Who we are: We are a leading global law firm that is focused on meritocracy and enabling our lawyers to become leading partners as early as possible in their careers. We encourage all of our lawyers to accelerate their growth by advising on complex transactions and being client-facing and business-focused.

What we do: We advise global clients including holders of private capital on their M&A and financing transactions, investment fund formations, restructuring and litigation matters.

What we’re looking for: We hire trainees who are hardworking, motivated and focused on gaining as much experience as possible and want to become partners on an accelerated career path.

What you’ll do: Our trainees gain experience through active involvement in deals throughout their careers, together with extensive technical training.

Perks: Private medical insurance, life insurance, income protection, travel insurance, pension scheme, corporate gym membership, dental plan, GP consultation service, fertility and family forming, employee assistance plan, Cycle to work scheme, free breakfast, emergency back-up child/ elder care, subsidised lunch, wellbeing apps, Kirkland concierge, 25 days’ holiday, season ticket loan.

Sponsorship: Kirkland covers the costs of PGDL/LPC/SQE fees, as well as providing a competitive maintenance payment.

Diversity and inclusion

We are a firm that celebrates diversity, inclusion and service within the global communities in which we live and work.