Debevoise (NY) vs. Kirkland (NY)

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Debevoise (NY) vs. Kirkland (NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:07 pm

Hi, I'm interested in what people would choose between Debevoise & Plimpton (NY) or Kirkland & Ellis (NY). I'm primarily interested in real estate and investment funds. I did notice that recently Debevoise's head investment funds and deputy head of corporate left for Kirkland. But of course, Debevoise is headquartered in NYC while Kirkland isn't (not sure if that makes a huge difference or not). Thoughts?

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Re: Debevoise (NY) vs. Kirkland (NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:10 pm

Both are good options. I've heard Kirkland NY is focusing on building their real estate practice in NYC, and it's been doing well in addition to many of their other transactional practices.

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Re: Debevoise (NY) vs. Kirkland (NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:40 pm

Before the deluge of Kirkland hate comes, I'll just add that although Kirkland is "based" in Chicago, for most purposes, both offices kind of share that role. In other words, its not a satellite office and you'd have all the (few) opportunities for advancement as you would at a New York based firm. Plenty of reasons to pick one firm over the other, just don't think you should be factoring that one very much.

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Re: Debevoise (NY) vs. Kirkland (NY)

Postby 2014 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:14 pm

I'm assuming this isn't a real question because it's January, BUT - I would choose based on culture. One is selling lockstep and everything that comes with it and the other is the epitome of free market and it's a different person that really thrives at either regardless of any real or perceived differences in the work in either group. While they are currently very much peers in both groups, Kirkland's trajectory is probably better suited for long term success and differentiation (both generally, because of their model, and vis a vis Deb, in part due to the recent partner poachings), but realistically this is a 2-5 year gig and they are going to give you similar caliber name recognition, experience and exits. An alternative way to look at it is that if you choose the one where you think you are a better fit, you are more likely to survive longer regardless of which is a "better" firm or practice.

The HQ thing also shouldn't matter, Kirkland's (and Latham's while we are at it) NY office is very well regarded, has a ton of attorneys and operates more or less autonomously so you shouldn't regularly need to either manage or directly report to people working out of other offices, which can be a pain in the ass.

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Re: Debevoise (NY) vs. Kirkland (NY)

Postby spha12 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hi, I'm interested in what people would choose between Debevoise & Plimpton (NY) or Kirkland & Ellis (NY). I'm primarily interested in real estate and investment funds. I did notice that recently Debevoise's head investment funds and deputy head of corporate left for Kirkland. But of course, Debevoise is headquartered in NYC while Kirkland isn't (not sure if that makes a huge difference or not). Thoughts?


Kirkland and Debevoise have similar ranked Real Estate practices nationwide and in NY according to Chambers. Probably not enough to make a decision based on. Significant K&E real estate clients last year were KKR, Lubert-Adler Partners, Dune Real Estate, GID Investment Advisers, Aeroterm US, Lionstone Investments, Dermody Properties. Significant Debevoise real estate clients last year were Beacon Capital Partners, The Brickstone Companies, Carmel Partners, Golden Tree Asset Management, The Rockefeller Group, Under Armour, New York City Housing Authority, Greystone Servicing, KeyBank Real, Philadelphia Housing Authority.

If interested in investment funds, then it really isn't a contest - the top two Debevoise investment funds partners who led that group joined Kirkland in December making Kirkland the market leader only rivaled by Simpson at this point.

Either way, your success at either firm won't be based on these rankings. You'll get good training for your career at either place (including what's left of Debevoise investment funds). The key is culture. The firms are drastically different in how you get work, promotions, culture, etc. Your success will be tied to which of these two firms is a better fit for you and your personality. The best way to find out is just to visit, meet people and observe. If you are a type A personality, maybe Kirkland is better for you. If your not a type A, maybe Debevoise is better for you.

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Re: Debevoise (NY) vs. Kirkland (NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:19 pm

Private equity/real estate funds a few years ago was a clear hierarchy of Simpson, then Kirkland and Debevoise basically on equal footing, then everyone else. The recent defections of a few prominent funds partners from Debevoise to Kirkland (as well as a few key fund client relationships from Debevoise to Simpson and a few other firms, like Fried Frank and Latham) mean that Kirkland is the clear second in private equity funds now, nipping at Simpson's heels, while Debevoise's funds group is sliding towards "everyone else" status. On the other hand, absolutely personality fits makes a big difference in your quality of life, and the two firms have very different personalities. It's not like being a part of Debevoise's funds group will close tons of doors, so if your priority isn't just to maximize career options at the highest-end of the investment funds practice, if you like Debevoise's personality more, it's a perfectly reasonable choice.

Can't speak as much to real estate (not real estate funds) as I am not a real estate attorney, though my general impression is that Kirkland has a large real estate practice while Debevoise does not, but that could be totally off base.

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Re: Debevoise (NY) vs. Kirkland (NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:51 am

V. different cultures. Visit and see which suits you more.

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Re: Debevoise (NY) vs. Kirkland (NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:14 am

2014 wrote:I'm assuming this isn't a real question because it's January, BUT - I would choose based on culture. One is selling lockstep and everything that comes with it and the other is the epitome of free market and it's a different person that really thrives at either regardless of any real or perceived differences in the work in either group. While they are currently very much peers in both groups, Kirkland's trajectory is probably better suited for long term success and differentiation (both generally, because of their model, and vis a vis Deb, in part due to the recent partner poachings), but realistically this is a 2-5 year gig and they are going to give you similar caliber name recognition, experience and exits. An alternative way to look at it is that if you choose the one where you think you are a better fit, you are more likely to survive longer regardless of which is a "better" firm or practice.

The HQ thing also shouldn't matter, Kirkland's (and Latham's while we are at it) NY office is very well regarded, has a ton of attorneys and operates more or less autonomously so you shouldn't regularly need to either manage or directly report to people working out of other offices, which can be a pain in the ass.

I'm guessing 1L SA since both just sent out offers



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