Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary Forum

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Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 10, 2021 10:01 am

Does anyone know the average salary of a Kirkland and Ellis non equity partner? Including starting salary and then how it increases over time

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Re: Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary

Post by topherdane » Fri Sep 10, 2021 10:38 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 10:01 am
Does anyone know the average salary of a Kirkland and Ellis non equity partner? Including starting salary and then how it increases over time
Someone at the firm in NYC told me a few years ago that it was around $800K to $1MM per year. Take it for what it's worth; I have no idea if that is group specific, or if that is starting or after a few years.


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Re: Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 10, 2021 4:18 pm

topherdane wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 10:38 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 10:01 am
Does anyone know the average salary of a Kirkland and Ellis non equity partner? Including starting salary and then how it increases over time
Someone at the firm in NYC told me a few years ago that it was around $800K to $1MM per year. Take it for what it's worth; I have no idea if that is group specific, or if that is starting or after a few years.
This had to be with respect to certain career NSPs. I think NSPs initially are more paid like associates who got a class bump.

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Re: Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary

Post by Sackboy » Fri Sep 10, 2021 11:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 4:18 pm
This had to be with respect to certain career NSPs. I think NSPs initially are more paid like associates who got a class bump.
This is correct. Kirkland has at least a couple of groups with no equity partners (ESG and employee benefits being two), and the career partners in those groups who would otherwise be equity partners if the economics/politics of their practices supported it are paid in the $800k-$1M range. Random 8-12 year folks trying to get equity in a practice that grants equity are paid like super-senior associates (~$550k all in). Those who are highly considered for equity receive very nice bonuses leading up to making share partner.

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Re: Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Sep 11, 2021 5:34 am

Sackboy wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 11:35 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 4:18 pm
This had to be with respect to certain career NSPs. I think NSPs initially are more paid like associates who got a class bump.
This is correct. Kirkland has at least a couple of groups with no equity partners (ESG and employee benefits being two), and the career partners in those groups who would otherwise be equity partners if the economics/politics of their practices supported it are paid in the $800k-$1M range. Random 8-12 year folks trying to get equity in a practice that grants equity are paid like super-senior associates (~$550k all in). Those who are highly considered for equity receive very nice bonuses leading up to making share partner.
Just out of curiosity, it’s only employee benefits with no equity partners, and not exec comp right? I always thought 1 or 2 of the exec comp people was an equity partner.

Anon because I’m interviewing with the firm now.

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Re: Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary

Post by Sackboy » Sat Sep 11, 2021 1:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 11, 2021 5:34 am

Just out of curiosity, it’s only employee benefits with no equity partners, and not exec comp right? I always thought 1 or 2 of the exec comp people was an equity partner.

Anon because I’m interviewing with the firm now.
Exec Comp has 6 equity partners, and it's clear to anyone who has worked with a certain partner that they'll probably have 7 equity partners after this coming year. Based on some interesting changes in the group, I could imagine an 8th is on the horizon within a couple of years. That being said, only one of them so far was a truly internal promotion (the BOS partner) (was hanging around for ~5yrs before promoted). The two who I expect might make equity in the next year or two both came over as NSPs and will spend 2-3yrs at KE before getting promoted, which I guess are internal promotions but I don't really count them as so. The other 5 share partners all lateraled in as with equity.

You won't make equity partner in Kirkland Exec Comp (or at Kirkland generally), so it really doesn't matter, but those are the details. If anything, Employee Benefits seems like an easier group to just hit your hours and check out. Shares are never in sight, so there is never the "what if" question. That being said, it's Kirkland, so they get crushed too.

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Re: Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:09 pm

Sackboy wrote:
Sat Sep 11, 2021 1:58 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 11, 2021 5:34 am

Just out of curiosity, it’s only employee benefits with no equity partners, and not exec comp right? I always thought 1 or 2 of the exec comp people was an equity partner.

Anon because I’m interviewing with the firm now.
Exec Comp has 6 equity partners, and it's clear to anyone who has worked with a certain partner that they'll probably have 7 equity partners after this coming year. Based on some interesting changes in the group, I could imagine an 8th is on the horizon within a couple of years. That being said, only one of them so far was a truly internal promotion (the BOS partner) (was hanging around for ~5yrs before promoted). The two who I expect might make equity in the next year or two both came over as NSPs and will spend 2-3yrs at KE before getting promoted, which I guess are internal promotions but I don't really count them as so. The other 5 share partners all lateraled in as with equity.

You won't make equity partner in Kirkland Exec Comp (or at Kirkland generally), so it really doesn't matter, but those are the details. If anything, Employee Benefits seems like an easier group to just hit your hours and check out. Shares are never in sight, so there is never the "what if" question. That being said, it's Kirkland, so they get crushed too.
Thanks for the info! I didn’t realize the Boston partner was a share partner.

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Re: Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Sep 12, 2021 8:23 pm

So just to make sure I understand, if someone is a long-term/career NSP in exec comp, are they also looking at $800k-1M total comp?

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Re: Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary

Post by Sackboy » Sun Sep 12, 2021 9:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 8:23 pm
So just to make sure I understand, if someone is a long-term/career NSP in exec comp, are they also looking at $800k-1M total comp?
Nobody is a career NSP in exec comp. Career NSPs are exclusively in groups that don't have share partners, from what I understand. You could try to be a career NSP in exec comp, but I think that'd more look like you going on the alternative track with reduced hours or taking over some BD/KM duties. Exec Comp doesn't have career NSPs (at least with the very good career NSP packages), because there are several dozen shops who will give equity to M&A exec comp folks with good PPP. Employee Benefits is not the same in that regard, nor is ESG. The firms that give out equity for that type of work have much lower PPP, so Kirkland just matches/beats those firms by cutting good career NSP deals. You get to work at a V10 and make as much/more than you would at anywhere else that would give you equity, but you don't have the preffftige of shares.

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Re: Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary

Post by Sackboy » Sun Sep 12, 2021 9:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:09 pm
Thanks for the info! I didn’t realize the Boston partner was a share partner.
She got shares in the past year, so it would have been easy to miss.

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Re: Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary

Post by k_moreno » Tue Sep 14, 2021 7:30 am

Sackboy wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 9:50 pm
Nobody is a career NSP in exec comp.
Michael Falk is a PC, which strongly suggests he's a share partner. That or his permanent NSP deal is in the 1.5-2MM range or more.

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Re: Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:33 am

K&E anon, how many permanent NSPs are there? And who do you have to impress to get shares? Who are the real decision makers?

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Re: Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:46 am

Sackboy wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 9:50 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 8:23 pm
So just to make sure I understand, if someone is a long-term/career NSP in exec comp, are they also looking at $800k-1M total comp?
Nobody is a career NSP in exec comp. Career NSPs are exclusively in groups that don't have share partners, from what I understand. You could try to be a career NSP in exec comp, but I think that'd more look like you going on the alternative track with reduced hours or taking over some BD/KM duties. Exec Comp doesn't have career NSPs (at least with the very good career NSP packages), because there are several dozen shops who will give equity to M&A exec comp folks with good PPP. Employee Benefits is not the same in that regard, nor is ESG. The firms that give out equity for that type of work have much lower PPP, so Kirkland just matches/beats those firms by cutting good career NSP deals. You get to work at a V10 and make as much/more than you would at anywhere else that would give you equity, but you don't have the preffftige of shares.

I am interested in learning more about the referenced "alternative track." Does K&E offer an option to mid or senior associates, or beyond, to work reduced hours for reduced pay, so that they can also do other things on the side (such as teaching or research)? Seems like a creative alternate path, but I do not know if there is some policy to this effect or what the reference is to. Any tips appreciated!

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Re: Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Sep 14, 2021 11:09 am

A bit off topic, but since there are KE-knowledgeable people lurking in this thread: what is the deal with the P.C. thing?

I know it stands for “professional corporation” (right?), and I assume it’s tax motivated. Do BL partners at other firms also use this structure (but don’t advertise it on their bio pages)? Or is P.C. exclusive to KE — and if so, why?

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Re: Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 11:09 am
A bit off topic, but since there are KE-knowledgeable people lurking in this thread: what is the deal with the P.C. thing?

I know it stands for “professional corporation” (right?), and I assume it’s tax motivated. Do BL partners at other firms also use this structure (but don’t advertise it on their bio pages)? Or is P.C. exclusive to KE — and if so, why?
Former K&E here. In my time there, even a share partner (who had P.C. after his name) told me he was skeptical as to the tax benefits of it. I'm sure there must be some tangible benefit, but if it was really that meaningful, surely every single share partner in biglaw would do the same....right?

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Re: Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:13 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 11:09 am
A bit off topic, but since there are KE-knowledgeable people lurking in this thread: what is the deal with the P.C. thing?

I know it stands for “professional corporation” (right?), and I assume it’s tax motivated. Do BL partners at other firms also use this structure (but don’t advertise it on their bio pages)? Or is P.C. exclusive to KE — and if so, why?
Former K&E here. In my time there, even a share partner (who had P.C. after his name) told me he was skeptical as to the tax benefits of it. I'm sure there must be some tangible benefit, but if it was really that meaningful, surely every single share partner in biglaw would do the same....right?
This gives part of the story (though not everything): https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/lawyers- ... ike-baker/

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Re: Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary

Post by Sackboy » Tue Sep 14, 2021 7:30 pm

k_moreno wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 7:30 am
Sackboy wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 9:50 pm
Nobody is a career NSP in exec comp.
Michael Falk is a PC, which strongly suggests he's a share partner. That or his permanent NSP deal is in the 1.5-2MM range or more.
Michael is a share partner. He is also not an employee benefits attorney. He is listed under both exec comp and benefits, but he does zero benefits work. It's basically a courtesy appointment similar to what you'd see at a law school (e.g. Professor of Law and Economics (Courtesy)). He incorrectly filled out some form when he came over some years ago from Winston and they put him under both and has no real reason to change it now. I've worked with him extensively, so I know it to be the case 100%. Nobody who actually practices in the employee benefits group is a share partner. If you want shares, you join exec comp.

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Re: Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary

Post by Sackboy » Tue Sep 14, 2021 7:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:33 am
K&E anon, how many permanent NSPs are there? And who do you have to impress to get shares? Who are the real decision makers?
It's very hard to know, but if you see someone who has been at Kirkland for 20 years and doesn't have P.C. and isn't marked as a share partner on outlook then they're a career NSP with probably a pretty good deal. The obvious answer is that you need to impress your internal and external clients to get shares. Say you're in tax. If all the share partners in your group think you're great, corporate share partners love working with you, and clients think you do a good job, you'll probably get shares (of course, this is also assuming you're churning out a lot of hours). It's not a very complicated calculus, but it does require you to be hitting your mark 99% of the time. I've also seen some specialists get shares by being the "insert client" person. If you're the exec comp guy who runs all of Thoma Bravo's deals as an NSP, you're probably in a pretty good place to get shares.

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Re: Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Sep 15, 2021 12:24 pm

Sackboy wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 7:30 pm
k_moreno wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 7:30 am
Sackboy wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 9:50 pm
Nobody is a career NSP in exec comp.
Michael Falk is a PC, which strongly suggests he's a share partner. That or his permanent NSP deal is in the 1.5-2MM range or more.
Michael is a share partner. He is also not an employee benefits attorney. He is listed under both exec comp and benefits, but he does zero benefits work. It's basically a courtesy appointment similar to what you'd see at a law school (e.g. Professor of Law and Economics (Courtesy)). He incorrectly filled out some form when he came over some years ago from Winston and they put him under both and has no real reason to change it now. I've worked with him extensively, so I know it to be the case 100%. Nobody who actually practices in the employee benefits group is a share partner. If you want shares, you join exec comp.
I’ve heard exec comp is understaffed and overworked and is more of a revolving door compared to EB (at the associate level). Obviously it’d be great to be a share partner at K&E, but 1) do people like Michael Falk make near the PPP or are they significantly lower like almost all large firms with exec comp groups and 2) what do these non-share EB partners make?

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Re: Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary

Post by Sackboy » Wed Sep 15, 2021 5:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Sep 15, 2021 12:24 pm
I’ve heard exec comp is understaffed and overworked and is more of a revolving door compared to EB (at the associate level). Obviously it’d be great to be a share partner at K&E, but 1) do people like Michael Falk make near the PPP or are they significantly lower like almost all large firms with exec comp groups and 2) what do these non-share EB partners make?
They work just as hard as each other, so if one is a revolving door the other is. EC partners probably make $2-$3M and EB NSPs make $500K-$1M. Of course EC NSPs are going to be significantly lower than general corporate, like at every other firm. That's how the cookie crumbles. However, to make the greater sums of money, you need to enjoy corporate work. These aren't interchangeable practices. I was a corporate associate before becoming a specialist, and I prefer being a specialist 100x more.That is all to say, it's somewhat of a useless observation that they make less. In the grand scheme of things, it's also $1-$3M vs $5-8M at top firms, which is pretty whatever in the scheme of life.

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Re: Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Sep 15, 2021 5:54 pm

Thanks for your responses so far. Could you also give us a general comp range for EC NSP? Seems like it is less than an EB NSP?

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Re: Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Sep 15, 2021 6:12 pm

Do you happen to know if it is true that at Kirkland you might as well not even consider becoming equity partner? My wife and I don’t want kids, we just want to excel in our careers and are willing to work crazy hours if that’s what it takes. I would like to think if I work hard and position myself well I have a shot

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Re: Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Sep 15, 2021 7:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Sep 15, 2021 6:12 pm
Do you happen to know if it is true that at Kirkland you might as well not even consider becoming equity partner? My wife and I don’t want kids, we just want to excel in our careers and are willing to work crazy hours if that’s what it takes. I would like to think if I work hard and position myself well I have a shot
Not at all true, but obviously hard. In the practice group and office I'm familiar with, your odds are basically 1-2 in 8 among people who are made NSP. But 2-4 of those original NSPs never really had a chance. So it's something like 1-2 people make it out of 4-6 realistic candidates. [These numbers are slightly fudged, but they tell the basic story]

I'm sure there's massive variance across practice groups, though.

If you had a particular group/office in mind, there's enough public information that with some effort you could actually figure out who of the NSPs made in past years ended up making it. Look up Kirkland's press release from every year listing new partners -- that's the year's NSPs (e.g. 2015: https://www.kirkland.com/news/press-rel ... w-partners). See who's left in the practice group you're in, and also check if any have PC after their name. That's your answer.

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Re: Kirkland and Ellis Partner Salary

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Sep 16, 2021 2:02 pm

Thank you all for your replies. It sounds like you can do very well for yourself as a perm NSP and it’s possible to become an equity partner. My next question is- why do I keep seeing threads that say you can’t become a millionaire as a lawyer? Say I become an equity partner at Kirkland and I am making at least 5,000,000 a year, how is it possible not to be a millionaire? What’s stopping me from affording the nice cars and a 3-4 million dollar dream home?

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