Anyone start their career at Kirkland and Ellis?

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Anonymous User
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Anyone start their career at Kirkland and Ellis?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 05, 2013 2:24 pm

Going to be starting in the corporate group at KE, and wanted to hear from people who began their careers here as well.

Hoping to hear a little bit about partnership chances, getting pushed out, lateral options, the free-market system, etc.

I've heard all the rumors about it being a sweatshop, the above-market bonuses, and whatnot but if anyone has any first-hand experience they'd like to share I'd very much appreciate it.

911 crisis actor
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Re: Anyone start their career at Kirkland and Ellis?

Postby 911 crisis actor » Thu Dec 05, 2013 3:05 pm

Partnership is easy. Just stick it out for 6 years

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Re: Anyone start their career at Kirkland and Ellis?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Going to be starting in the corporate group at KE, and wanted to hear from people who began their careers here as well.

Hoping to hear a little bit about partnership chances, getting pushed out, lateral options, the free-market system, etc.

I've heard all the rumors about it being a sweatshop, the above-market bonuses, and whatnot but if anyone has any first-hand experience they'd like to share I'd very much appreciate it.


As a junior associate, I jumped from one of the prestigious white-shoe NYC firms (think Simpson or DPW) to Kirkland's office in Chicago. No regrets thus far.

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Re: Anyone start their career at Kirkland and Ellis?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:55 pm

911 crisis actor wrote:Partnership is easy. Just stick it out for 6 years


haha. Yeah, you pretty much get NSP after that time if you're not encouraged to pursue other opportunities before then. I actually know of one guy who was an associate for 7 or 8 years before being shown the door. He was apparently really smart and churned out good work product, but he was so very awkward that the partners never felt comfortable introducing him to clients. He's the exception, not the rule, though. For the most part, if you get your hours in and are reasonably likable, you'll make NSP after 6 years.

It's harder to make Share. You'll really need to show dedication to client development for that.

The office culture varies by office. Chicago is the most hardcore, followed by NY (which I've heard has become more Skadden-like in recent years, sadly). I can't speak too much to the others, except to say I've gotten the impression that the LA office is the most laid-back of the US offices.

Despite being a very serious, buttoned-up firm, I genuinely liked 99% of the people I worked with at Kirkland, the bulk of whom were in the corporate practice group.

Congrats on your offer! It's a great firm, and even if you or they decide you're not a fit there down the line, you'll be able to pretty much go wherever you'd like after.

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Re: Anyone start their career at Kirkland and Ellis?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 06, 2013 7:48 pm

Thanks a lot! I'm really excited about it too.

A quick question on making partner. I understand the difference between NSP and share partner, and I've been told by many people that the former is easy to attain while the latter is quite difficult. But would you mind expanding on what you mean by client development, or anything else I can do to improve my chances?

Thanks again, I really appreciate your time.

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Re: Anyone start their career at Kirkland and Ellis?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:00 pm

I've got a couple friends at K&E. Everywhere is going to be a sweatshop, but beyond that, I think your experience really depends on which office you're going to.

I have heard that Chicago and NY are intense. That's not really a surprise. From what i hear, these two offices really pride themselves on their reputation. It makes sense since this is really the heart of the firm. The bonuses are above market, but you're working so much that i'm not sure it's really that much of an advantage.

LA is different. They had massive downsizing in recent years and might be unstable. They had ~130 attorneys but dropped to about 80 after the recession. Since then, they've stayed around 80-90 attorneys. Haven't rebounded back to 125 yet. This is, admittedly, based on some hearsay though

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Re: Anyone start their career at Kirkland and Ellis?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks a lot! I'm really excited about it too.

A quick question on making partner. I understand the difference between NSP and share partner, and I've been told by many people that the former is easy to attain while the latter is quite difficult. But would you mind expanding on what you mean by client development, or anything else I can do to improve my chances?

Thanks again, I really appreciate your time.


Wait, you're asking what you can do to improve your chances at making share partner?

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Re: Anyone start their career at Kirkland and Ellis?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:10 pm

Yes

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Re: Anyone start their career at Kirkland and Ellis?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Yes


It's basically the same question you can ask for any top law firm. And to answer that question, you can use google, though I would say at K&E the emphasis on business generation is greater than at, say, DPW.

But for now? Don't worry about it. You have a probability of not making shares. In fact, I can confidently say you won't. Just focus on doing good work.

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Re: Anyone start their career at Kirkland and Ellis?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks a lot! I'm really excited about it too.

A quick question on making partner. I understand the difference between NSP and share partner, and I've been told by many people that the former is easy to attain while the latter is quite difficult. But would you mind expanding on what you mean by client development, or anything else I can do to improve my chances?

Thanks again, I really appreciate your time.


I don't imagine K&E is all that much different from other firms of similar size and caliber. Typically, they'll want you to learn the firm's way of operating / practicing the first couple of years. You won't get client contact at that time. Just do good work, make good connections with senior associates and partners so that you get the work / hours.

As a midlevel, you'll start getting more client contact, and I know at least some if not all senior associates start setting up some client development meetings before making NSP.

One thing that you can look out for as a senior associate / NSP is working with partners who will be receptive to introducing you to existing clients so that you can do client retention as well as seeking out new clients. And a general client development tip - connect with the junior (bankers / executives / etc) at the client level when you're still relatively junior and keep in touch as you both rise through the ranks in your respective industries.

This is pretty far down the line, and so many things can change in the next 6-10 years before you're up for shares. For now, just concentrate on doing good work and becoming efficient at your work.

In your personal life, keep up with friends, primarily for your emotional well-being, but also because they, too, may be clients down the line.

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Re: Anyone start their career at Kirkland and Ellis?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:43 pm

It's easy to make share partner. Just become the expert in a legal field which happens to explode...

But seriously, KE is really big on equity partners eating what they kill. If you just got a job in corporate I'd guess its in the funds group? If so you just need to work your tail off to make NSP. In general the odds of making equity partner are like what? 5% of the associates?




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