Kirkland Chicago

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Mab

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Kirkland Chicago

Postby Mab » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:21 pm

Any current insight into the firm? Searches of past threads have turned up information that is somewhat dated. E.g. its corporate practice (my area of interest) is now strong but past comments generally do not reflect that.

UPDATE: I am also strongly considering Cravath and I am indifferent about whether I live in Chicago or NYC. How do Kirkland and Cravath stack up against each other.
Last edited by Mab on Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

Bach-City

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Re: Kirkland Chicago

Postby Bach-City » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:38 pm

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Last edited by Bach-City on Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:16 pm

Bach-City wrote:Generally speaking though, KE is considered to be the top of the Chicago market. There are absolutely reasons to go to other firms in Chicago, but all things equal Kirkland is the best firm in town, especially for corporate.


I'll second this. Currently an associate in this office, so I can answer any specific questions you might have. The corporate group has been very busy this past year. In Chicago there's maybe 2-3 firms where you'll get access to similar opportunities.

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Re: Kirkland Chicago

Postby Bach-City » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:24 pm

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Mab

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Re: Kirkland Chicago

Postby Mab » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:38 pm

Bach-City wrote:Not sure where past threads would have gotten the idea that KE's corporate practice is weak. Kirkland Chicago is great for mid market private equity and has a strong corporate practice generally. Skadden and Sidley(?) do a lot more public M&A.

Generally speaking though, KE is considered to be the top of the Chicago market. There are absolutely reasons to go to other firms in Chicago, but all things equal Kirkland is the best firm in town, especially for corporate.

EDIT: Not to say that Skadden and Sidley aren't comparable. But KE is generally considered the best.


To clarify: past threads were made when the corporate practice was strong, but it seems over the past few years it's gained even more recognition and is top of the line. Am I wrong?

I'd also really appreciate it if someone could tell me more about the culture. (Likes? Dislikes?) If you prefer to talk via PM that's fine too. Thanks.

Mab

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Re: Kirkland Chicago

Postby Mab » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Bach-City wrote:Generally speaking though, KE is considered to be the top of the Chicago market. There are absolutely reasons to go to other firms in Chicago, but all things equal Kirkland is the best firm in town, especially for corporate.


I'll second this. Currently an associate in this office, so I can answer any specific questions you might have. The corporate group has been very busy this past year. In Chicago there's maybe 2-3 firms where you'll get access to similar opportunities.


Is there a particular type of work that's been predominant in the corporate group or is it just generally busy? I heard it has been a relatively slow year for M&A in the big NYC firms. May I assume it has been the same at Kirkland?

Pure curiosity: which other 2-3 firms in Chicago would provide similar opportunities?

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Re: Kirkland Chicago

Postby Bach-City » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:54 pm

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Re: Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:01 pm

Mab wrote:
Bach-City wrote:Not sure where past threads would have gotten the idea that KE's corporate practice is weak. Kirkland Chicago is great for mid market private equity and has a strong corporate practice generally. Skadden and Sidley(?) do a lot more public M&A.

Generally speaking though, KE is considered to be the top of the Chicago market. There are absolutely reasons to go to other firms in Chicago, but all things equal Kirkland is the best firm in town, especially for corporate.

EDIT: Not to say that Skadden and Sidley aren't comparable. But KE is generally considered the best.


To clarify: past threads were made when the corporate practice was strong, but it seems over the past few years it's gained even more recognition and is top of the line. Am I wrong?

I'd also really appreciate it if someone could tell me more about the culture. (Likes? Dislikes?) If you prefer to talk via PM that's fine too. Thanks.


I am a different associate than the other anon. I have found the culture to be a bit better than Kirkland's reputation generally - or at the least as advertised. There shouldn't be many surprises. Kirkland is proud of its culture and doesn't hide the ball.

There are of course some really awful people to work with but equal amounts of really great people. Corporate and M&A especially is insanely busy right now. I've been asked to be on like ten separate deals in the last week or two.

You will work a lot and after the first or second year expectations around hours really ramp up. It's obviously a great place to start your career but sustainability is certainly an issue and the common issues with biglaw are still present. Being in Chicago is WAY better than being in NYC though.

I would suggest a fair bit of soul searching before anyone picks Kirkland. It is really great firm but it's not for everyone. God bless the people who can hack it long term because the payoffs are significant. But as someone who doesnt love the firm, it's not an easy place to work.

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Re: Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:03 pm

I would do some more research about Skadden corporate. It seems like the group is not doing well. We've hired like three to four laterals from there in the past few months. I've heard of other associates going elsewhere too.

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Re: Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:08 pm

Mab wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Bach-City wrote:Generally speaking though, KE is considered to be the top of the Chicago market. There are absolutely reasons to go to other firms in Chicago, but all things equal Kirkland is the best firm in town, especially for corporate.


I'll second this. Currently an associate in this office, so I can answer any specific questions you might have. The corporate group has been very busy this past year. In Chicago there's maybe 2-3 firms where you'll get access to similar opportunities.


Is there a particular type of work that's been predominant in the corporate group or is it just generally busy? I heard it has been a relatively slow year for M&A in the big NYC firms. May I assume it has been the same at Kirkland?

Pure curiosity: which other 2-3 firms in Chicago would provide similar opportunities?


Just generally busy. Some of my colleagues have been staffed on a number of private carve-outs but others have had tons of variety. I'm a junior associate so I can't really comment as to how "relatively slow" this year has been compared to other years, but most of my peers have been very busy so far. I think the general market trends don't apply to firms with strong PE practices (like KE or Simpson) but again I don't know if this is universally true. I think Chicago's top tier corporate practices (other than KE) would be Sidley/Skadden/Latham.

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Re: Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:05 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mab wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Bach-City wrote:Generally speaking though, KE is considered to be the top of the Chicago market. There are absolutely reasons to go to other firms in Chicago, but all things equal Kirkland is the best firm in town, especially for corporate.


I'll second this. Currently an associate in this office, so I can answer any specific questions you might have. The corporate group has been very busy this past year. In Chicago there's maybe 2-3 firms where you'll get access to similar opportunities.


Is there a particular type of work that's been predominant in the corporate group or is it just generally busy? I heard it has been a relatively slow year for M&A in the big NYC firms. May I assume it has been the same at Kirkland?

Pure curiosity: which other 2-3 firms in Chicago would provide similar opportunities?


Just generally busy. Some of my colleagues have been staffed on a number of private carve-outs but others have had tons of variety. I'm a junior associate so I can't really comment as to how "relatively slow" this year has been compared to other years, but most of my peers have been very busy so far. I think the general market trends don't apply to firms with strong PE practices (like KE or Simpson) but again I don't know if this is universally true. I think Chicago's top tier corporate practices (other than KE) would be Sidley/Skadden/Latham.


I would only go to one of Kirkland, Sidley or Latham if I were pursuing corporate work in Chicago. As a law student you really don't have enough information to even know what you should be evaluating in terms of where to practice, so you should be targeting somewhere with a number of different opportunities to find your fit. For example, Goldberg Kohn is a great place for middle market lender-side leveraged finance, but who the hell knows if that's what you'll like or be good at.

Kirkland specifically is top class in all ranges of PE work, from middle market stuff to the PE mega deals. Public m&a is definitely still a growing practice. Top shop in Chicago for issuer/borrower side leveraged finance/144A and public offering work, but more specialized on that side than some of the other firms on this list (e.g. Sidley where debt work is more holistic).

Mab

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Re: Kirkland Chicago

Postby Mab » Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:34 am

I am also strongly considering Cravath and I am indifferent about whether I live in Chicago or NYC. How do Kirkland and Cravath stack up against each other. (Updating original post with this info as well.)

Thanks very much for all your useful responses so far.

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Re: Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 15, 2017 11:00 am

Mab wrote:I am also strongly considering Cravath and I am indifferent about whether I live in Chicago or NYC. How do Kirkland and Cravath stack up against each other. (Updating original post with this info as well.)

Thanks very much for all your useful responses so far.


I'd say very few people would have the experience required to answer this question properly. Both firms are demanding in terms of billable hours. Both firms are prestigious and have access to interesting and complex work. I think it comes down to where you want to live. Chicago and NYC are radically different, both in terms of culture and cost-of-living. Spend some time thinking about where you'd like to spend the next 4-6 years, it's an important consideration and shouldn't be cast aside lightly.

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Re: Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 15, 2017 11:09 am

Also should be noted that Cravath is the archetypal lock-step firm with an assignment system whereas Kirkland is free market and not lockstep (at all). This can create big differences in culture.

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Re: Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Also should be noted that Cravath is the archetypal lock-step firm with an assignment system whereas Kirkland is free market and not lockstep (at all). This can create big differences in culture.


Just to clarify, base pay at Kirkland is still lock-step, but bonuses are individualized and generally are higher than Cravath's bonuses. So Kirkland can potentially offer higher compensation at a lower cost-of-living.

Sources: http://abovethelaw.com/2015/12/associat ... ival-firm/
http://abovethelaw.com/2016/12/update-b ... onus-news/

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Re: Kirkland Chicago

Postby yyyuppp » Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Also should be noted that Cravath is the archetypal lock-step firm with an assignment system whereas Kirkland is free market and not lockstep (at all). This can create big differences in culture.


Just to clarify, base pay at Kirkland is still lock-step, but bonuses are individualized and generally are higher than Cravath's bonuses. So Kirkland can potentially offer higher compensation at a lower cost-of-living.

Sources: http://abovethelaw.com/2015/12/associat ... ival-firm/
http://abovethelaw.com/2016/12/update-b ... onus-news/


i think the poster was talking about lockstep partnership compensation, as opposed the eat what you kill style of kirkland. the selling point of lockstep is it makes the environment less competitive and more focused on client service, as opposed to partners generating business for themselves.

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Re: Kirkland Chicago

Postby skers » Tue Aug 15, 2017 1:35 pm

Lol at making a decision re what firm to go to based on partner comp though.

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Re: Kirkland Chicago

Postby stickershocked » Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:21 pm

skers wrote:Lol at making a decision re what firm to go to based on partner comp though.


It definitely can make a difference in firm-wide morale, at least at some places. I think the general idea is that non-lockstep firms harbor "greedier" partners and that "greedier" partners tend to be less pleasant partners.

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Re: Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:58 pm

skers wrote:Lol at making a decision re what firm to go to based on partner comp though.

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Re: Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:00 pm

Oh my gosh DO NOT pick Kirkland v. Cravath because of differences in partner comp. I can guaran damn tee you that at either place equity partners are insane, workaholic psychos. And that's what trickles down. People aren't nicer because their neighboring partner gets paid more or less than they do.

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Re: Kirkland Chicago

Postby skers » Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:37 pm

stickershocked wrote:
skers wrote:Lol at making a decision re what firm to go to based on partner comp though.


It definitely can make a difference in firm-wide morale, at least at some places. I think the general idea is that non-lockstep firms harbor "greedier" partners and that "greedier" partners tend to be less pleasant partners.


I forgot that Cravath is known for its chill, sociable lock-step satiated partners.

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Re: Kirkland Chicago

Postby RaceJudicata » Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:55 pm

Mab wrote:I am also strongly considering Cravath and I am indifferent about whether I live in Chicago or NYC. How do Kirkland and Cravath stack up against each other. (Updating original post with this info as well.)

Thanks very much for all your useful responses so far.


I'll never understand how someone can possibly be "indifferent" about the city you are going to spend 3+ years (and possibly much longer).

The differences between Chicago and New York will, IMO, be more significant than the differences between the associate experience at cravath and Kirkland.

(Sorry, grammar/spelling/etc shitty- on (cracked) iPhone).

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Re: Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 15, 2017 8:06 pm

I made this decision a couple of years ago and chose Kirkland. I talked to an associate who lateraled from Cravath to Kirkland and he pretty much sold me on the decision. Ask recruiting if you can talk to someone who has worked at both firms.

The main selling points for me were (1) more compensation in a lower COL city, (2) didn't like the rotation program at Cravath, and (3) the work is the same quality

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Re: Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 15, 2017 8:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I would do some more research about Skadden corporate. It seems like the group is not doing well. We've hired like three to four laterals from there in the past few months. I've heard of other associates going elsewhere too.


You're either at my firm or same thing here...

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Re: Kirkland Chicago

Postby Mab » Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:18 am

Anonymous User wrote:I made this decision a couple of years ago and chose Kirkland. I talked to an associate who lateraled from Cravath to Kirkland and he pretty much sold me on the decision. Ask recruiting if you can talk to someone who has worked at both firms.

The main selling points for me were (1) more compensation in a lower COL city, (2) didn't like the rotation program at Cravath, and (3) the work is the same quality


Sounds like you have no regrets.

Have you liked the free market system at Kirkland?



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