Kirkland Restructuring

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Kirkland Restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 30, 2014 2:50 pm

There have been threads in the past, but I was hoping to get a more current perspective on this group, especially since bankruptcy has been very slow recently. Any insights would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Re: Kirkland Restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 31, 2014 1:14 am

What questions do you have?

Bankruptcy at KE isn't very slow right now

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Re: Kirkland Restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 31, 2014 1:36 am

different anon than OP, but will be summering at KE (Chicago office) and picking between BK and general corporate group.

Plan on trying both assignments and have the most relevant classes on my schedule this year but would love to get some insight as well.

1. When u say that it's not slow at KE, is it because KE just gets such a large share of the BK work that's actually in the market? Or are they doing other work besides the typical bankruptcy filing that I'm imagining?

2. What kind of exit options do the associates have?

3. Also curious as to how they bill so many more hours than the other groups, have heard travel can impact that higher billables but wasn't sure if that alone explained the difference

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Re: Kirkland Restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 31, 2014 3:07 pm

K&E is by far the most active restructuring group by volume right now. Their top equity partners are killing it. I wouldn't work there, especially as a junior.

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Re: Kirkland Restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 31, 2014 3:49 pm

Why wouldn't you work there as a junior? Seems like you would get a lot of experience early on or am I wrong?

Can someone describe the lifestyle in the group? Is it an intense place to be in?

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Re: Kirkland Restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 01, 2015 1:52 am

Anonymous User wrote:Why wouldn't you work there as a junior? Seems like you would get a lot of experience early on or am I wrong?

Can someone describe the lifestyle in the group? Is it an intense place to be in?


The opposite of getting experience. Picture ultra high leverage, lots of make-work churn, and assignments that suck you in for months on a tiny sliver of a case. I can't think of a worse way to start your career.

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Re: Kirkland Restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 01, 2015 4:33 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Why wouldn't you work there as a junior? Seems like you would get a lot of experience early on or am I wrong?

Can someone describe the lifestyle in the group? Is it an intense place to be in?


The opposite of getting experience. Picture ultra high leverage, lots of make-work churn, and assignments that suck you in for months on a tiny sliver of a case. I can't think of a worse way to start your career.


This is largely untrue. While I've certainly seen people get stuck on certain parts of a massive case for some time (ie the DIP in a behemoth like EFH), a large majority spend their time working on comparably smaller cases where third years are actively running the show and/or taking large roles in negotiations (generally with someone senior there to fall back on, of course). This isn't Weil we're talking about -- KE dominates the middle-market and, while that leads to a lot of work, it often leads to experience at every stage of the bankruptcy process for juniors (associates looking to develop professionally can and do try their hand at nearly every common motion/document in the bankruptcy process by their third year -- whether that be first days, DIP, responses to common objections, parts of the plan, etc.).

While the lifestyle can be described as intense in terms of hours and personalities, I don't think it's fair to say associates aren't getting phenomenal experience out of it. I've talked to associates at almost every bk firm and nothing comes close to KE in terms of development.

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Re: Kirkland Restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 01, 2015 12:36 pm

To the poster above me: This is good information. Thanks! Do you have any advice for first/second year associates in restructuring groups, like Kirkland/Skadden/Weil?

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Re: Kirkland Restructuring

Postby cookiejar1 » Thu Jan 01, 2015 2:31 pm

How much more does the restructuring group bill on average compared to the other groups? I get the impression that you guys are just slammed all the time. Bonuses must have been particularly kind to your group, no?

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Re: Kirkland Restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 02, 2015 4:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Why wouldn't you work there as a junior? Seems like you would get a lot of experience early on or am I wrong?

Can someone describe the lifestyle in the group? Is it an intense place to be in?


The opposite of getting experience. Picture ultra high leverage, lots of make-work churn, and assignments that suck you in for months on a tiny sliver of a case. I can't think of a worse way to start your career.


This is largely untrue. While I've certainly seen people get stuck on certain parts of a massive case for some time (ie the DIP in a behemoth like EFH), a large majority spend their time working on comparably smaller cases where third years are actively running the show and/or taking large roles in negotiations (generally with someone senior there to fall back on, of course). This isn't Weil we're talking about -- KE dominates the middle-market and, while that leads to a lot of work, it often leads to experience at every stage of the bankruptcy process for juniors (associates looking to develop professionally can and do try their hand at nearly every common motion/document in the bankruptcy process by their third year -- whether that be first days, DIP, responses to common objections, parts of the plan, etc.).

While the lifestyle can be described as intense in terms of hours and personalities, I don't think it's fair to say associates aren't getting phenomenal experience out of it. I've talked to associates at almost every bk firm and nothing comes close to KE in terms of development.



This is, IMO, inaccurate. K&E restructuring gets you precisely the kind of experience I would never want as a restructuring attorney. Cookie cutter work, no real experience structuring deals or doing bespoke stuff. The big cases that they do have (i.e. EFH) they segment people into tiny-tiny subsections. If Weil is Spanish for "overstaffing" (old restructuring joke), than Kirkland is overstaffing in French.

I'll admit I only see the K&E work from the outside and from stories told by laterals, but the pleadings in the cookie cutter prepack portfolio cases suggest a real lack of training / mentoring. Marking up the last critical vendors motion for a new case is not good experience. And no, your third years are not running any sort of show, other than fetching coffee for the "partners" who in turn fetch coffee for the partners. I literally have never seen anyone below the level of "partner" (scare quotes intended) engage in any meaningful negotiation. I don't doubt that you have third years running certain pleadings, but that's because so little changes from case to case that its the kind of work other firms would be giving to first years to draft.

Its a complicated question because there's no good answer to where to get restructuring experience. Debtors side, you can go to Weil and get pigeonholed doing Lehman claims (or whatever equivalent they'll be doing these days). Go to Kirkland and rubberstamp papers for the 5th DE prepack of the year. Go to Skadden and twiddle your thumbs. Go to the firms that do committee work and have your billables read "5.5 hrs - review and comment on debtors' draft" for half of your year. Go to the DIP shops and do DIPs till the end of time. Go to the creditor side places and get very little deal experience.

I actually think the strongest DE firms are underrated in terms of training up folks, but those jobs are tough to get and most folks aren't willing to take the prestige hit even if they could get a spot. I know I wasn't.

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Re: Kirkland Restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 02, 2015 5:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:This isn't Weil we're talking about -- KE dominates the middle-market

Not sure why the Weil comparison was useful here. Pretty sure the folks at KE wouldn't say no to any one of Weil's large bankruptcy matters. Just sayin.

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Re: Kirkland Restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 02, 2015 6:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:This isn't Weil we're talking about -- KE dominates the middle-market

Not sure why the Weil comparison was useful here. Pretty sure the folks at KE wouldn't say no to any one of Weil's large bankruptcy matters. Just sayin.


Quoting this because the difference is what (I think) my disagreement with the poster above you is all about. To answer you, of course KE is happy to take on huge cases and often does, but Weil (at least from what I've heard from their associates) is made to do almost exclusively large deals like that. KE has, in my experience, a better split of big and small cases (and small doesn't always mean dollar amount, it could mean less-complex or less-contested). Happy to concede that the comparison wasn't useful or appropriate if what I heard isn't the case. And I'm certainly not saying the folks at Weil aren't talented (I'm not as anti-megacase as the extremist voicing the original complaint).

To the poster above you. I'm not pretending that you get great experience on cases like EFH, and to be honest the laterals telling you the stories probably got screwed and placed on one of those cases for two to three years and then left. The reality, however, is that most people aren't sucked entirely into megacases like that. Even if you're placed on one you can generally navigate your way off. Most associates are on a number of smaller cases (either as a supplement to a megacase or as their primary work)--and there are a LOT of smaller cases. That's where the experience I'm talking about is coming from. And that's probably where the answer to your question about where to get good experience comes from (though I too have heard some DE shops are good to work for). The smaller cases that are less soul-sucking but less complex are what you want to be on as a junior. The ones you don't hear about as much in the news. But on these cases the third year roles I alluded to DO happen, I'm not sure how else I can respond to your assertion that it's not the case. It just is.

To the others that have chimed in with questions, I'll get to them as soon as I can. Just wanted to clear up my original post.

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Re: Kirkland Restructuring

Postby 911 crisis actor » Fri Jan 02, 2015 6:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Why wouldn't you work there as a junior? Seems like you would get a lot of experience early on or am I wrong?

Can someone describe the lifestyle in the group? Is it an intense place to be in?


The opposite of getting experience. Picture ultra high leverage, lots of make-work churn, and assignments that suck you in for months on a tiny sliver of a case. I can't think of a worse way to start your career.


This is largely untrue. While I've certainly seen people get stuck on certain parts of a massive case for some time (ie the DIP in a behemoth like EFH), a large majority spend their time working on comparably smaller cases where third years are actively running the show and/or taking large roles in negotiations (generally with someone senior there to fall back on, of course). This isn't Weil we're talking about -- KE dominates the middle-market and, while that leads to a lot of work, it often leads to experience at every stage of the bankruptcy process for juniors (associates looking to develop professionally can and do try their hand at nearly every common motion/document in the bankruptcy process by their third year -- whether that be first days, DIP, responses to common objections, parts of the plan, etc.).

While the lifestyle can be described as intense in terms of hours and personalities, I don't think it's fair to say associates aren't getting phenomenal experience out of it. I've talked to associates at almost every bk firm and nothing comes close to KE in terms of development.


Wow this all sounds like a bag of shit, why do you guys want to do bankruptcy

This is, IMO, inaccurate. K&E restructuring gets you precisely the kind of experience I would never want as a restructuring attorney. Cookie cutter work, no real experience structuring deals or doing bespoke stuff. The big cases that they do have (i.e. EFH) they segment people into tiny-tiny subsections. If Weil is Spanish for "overstaffing" (old restructuring joke), than Kirkland is overstaffing in French.

I'll admit I only see the K&E work from the outside and from stories told by laterals, but the pleadings in the cookie cutter prepack portfolio cases suggest a real lack of training / mentoring. Marking up the last critical vendors motion for a new case is not good experience. And no, your third years are not running any sort of show, other than fetching coffee for the "partners" who in turn fetch coffee for the partners. I literally have never seen anyone below the level of "partner" (scare quotes intended) engage in any meaningful negotiation. I don't doubt that you have third years running certain pleadings, but that's because so little changes from case to case that its the kind of work other firms would be giving to first years to draft.

Its a complicated question because there's no good answer to where to get restructuring experience. Debtors side, you can go to Weil and get pigeonholed doing Lehman claims (or whatever equivalent they'll be doing these days). Go to Kirkland and rubberstamp papers for the 5th DE prepack of the year. Go to Skadden and twiddle your thumbs. Go to the firms that do committee work and have your billables read "5.5 hrs - review and comment on debtors' draft" for half of your year. Go to the DIP shops and do DIPs till the end of time. Go to the creditor side places and get very little deal experience.

I actually think the strongest DE firms are underrated in terms of training up folks, but those jobs are tough to get and most folks aren't willing to take the prestige hit even if they could get a spot. I know I wasn't.

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Re: Kirkland Restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:K&E is by far the most active restructuring group by volume right now. Their top equity partners are killing it. I wouldn't work there, especially as a junior.


I'm working there as a junior now and wouldn't want to be anywhere else. If anything, I think the work for juniors is easily superior to the work done by corporate and litigation juniors (although, obviously, I am biased).

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Re: Kirkland Restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:different anon than OP, but will be summering at KE (Chicago office) and picking between BK and general corporate group.

Plan on trying both assignments and have the most relevant classes on my schedule this year but would love to get some insight as well.

1. When u say that it's not slow at KE, is it because KE just gets such a large share of the BK work that's actually in the market? Or are they doing other work besides the typical bankruptcy filing that I'm imagining?


K&E gets a huge share of the BK work in the market; that's a lot of it. They also do some creditor-side stuff, but that's more of a side show compared to the debtor-side work. A few giant debtor-side cases are driving a lot of workflow right now.

Anonymous User wrote:2. What kind of exit options do the associates have?


All over the place. Depends a lot on the individual. Everything from banking-side distressed investing to boutique restructuring law firm to other biglaw firm's bankruptcy group (practically always because of location on last one).

Anonymous User wrote:3. Also curious as to how they bill so many more hours than the other groups, have heard travel can impact that higher billables but wasn't sure if that alone explained the difference


It's hard to say. It might have something to do with big, solid blocks of uninterrupted hours (e.g. travel, conference calls); or could have something to do with self-selection. I never felt more pressure to bill hours compared to my colleagues in other groups.

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Re: Kirkland Restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 04, 2015 2:54 pm

Thanks for sharing.

How many hours do associates usually bill? 2500? 3000?

Also, do you have any tips for surviving in a restructuring group that does a lot of debtor work?

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Re: Kirkland Restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 05, 2015 2:54 pm

WOW WOW WOW so much misinformation!!! For the record I am a junior associate in K&E BK and I love it. When you hear stories from laterals who left the group because they hated it, you are going to get a biased view, in the same way I am going to give you my own biased view. I have been on both megacases and smaller prepack-type cases. My experiences are as follows:

Restructuring, as an industry, is slow. Certain people are slow. However, this is going to be the case no matter where you practice. You do need to put yourself out there and look for work. Billables range between 1700 at the low end and 3000+ at the high end, depending on what cases you get staffed on, how much you put yourself out there, and how much work you turn down or take on.

Debtor work, as a rule, is going to be worse than creditor work. The volume of work is much higher, the level of analysis required is deeper, and client management can get very complicated.

Junior associate work is much more litigation-heavy than senior associate/partner work. I do a lot of research, run down bankruptcy-related questions, draft a lot of pleadings and motions, and generally work on operations-side stuff. Other junior associates do research on deal-side stuff (e.g. plan and confirmation research). I don't mind as I find it much more interesting than general corporate or litigation work -- our work tends to be much more tailored to the company's business operations. Especially on megacases, you will be doing a lot more groundwork for unprecedented issues, both operationally and deal-based.

You will get less experience negotiating deals as a junior associate, but this is a given. (Are you really going to be negotiating deals as a first or second year in any group at any firm?) However, I know that NSPs and fifth/sixth years usually have seats at the table when plan/deal negotiations are going down in a megacase, and that NSPs and third through sixth years pretty much run the show on prepacks. (I worked on a prepack where the SP showed up to give the first day case overview, and that was it. The NSP did most, if not all, of the negotiations with creditors counsel.)

In sum, working at K&E restructuring is going to be the same as working in almost any other successful group, at K&E or otherwise. If you prove yourself, you will have more responsibility handed to you earlier, including client contact and managing large workstreams. If this isn't your cup of tea, you aren't going to love it or cut it, here or anywhere else.

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Re: Kirkland Restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 05, 2015 10:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for sharing.

How many hours do associates usually bill? 2500? 3000?

Also, do you have any tips for surviving in a restructuring group that does a lot of debtor work?


From my talks with people who are now second-years, their average for the year was probably in the low 2000s (probably something like 2100-2200ish).

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Re: Kirkland Restructuring

Postby upthebracket » Sun Jun 28, 2015 1:29 pm

Kirkland's been getting some of the biggest cases these days along with the middle market restructurings. It seems like a great place to start a career as a bankruptcy lawyer.




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