Kirkland & Ellis

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Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Kirkland & Ellis
No. of offices15
No. of attorneys2,300[1]
Key peopleJeffrey C. Hammes, Chairman of the firm's Global Management Executive Committee
RevenueUS$3.76 billion (2018)[1]
Date founded1909; 110 years ago (1909)
Company typeLimited liability partnership

Kirkland & Ellis LLP, sometimes referred to as Kirkland,[2] is an international law firm founded in 1909 in Chicago, Illinois, United States.

Kirkland is the largest law firm in the United States, with US$3.76 billion in revenue, and an estimated profit per equity partner of US$5.03 million. Kirkland has represented many prominent and controversial clients, such as British Petroleum (in relation to the 2010 Deepwater oil spill), Kraft foods (in relation to its merger with Heinz), billionaire and child-sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, and a group of major investors in the international fishmeal industry, in relation to their claims against China Fishery.[3]

Prominent attorneys of the firm have included Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh; former White House Counsel Neil Eggleston; former appellate court Judge Robert Bork; Clinton-era Special Counsel Ken Starr; and various Trump administration officials, including National Security Adviser John R. Bolton, Attorney General William Barr, former Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.

Kirkland is the largest law firm in the United States by revenue (US$3.76 billion in 2018), and the seventh largest in terms of number of attorneys (2,307 in 2019).[1]

Chicago office at 300 North LaSalle

Firm history[edit]

London office at 30 St Mary Axe, popularly known as the Gherkin

In 1909, two attorneys, Stuart G. Shepard and Robert R. McCormick, formed the Chicago-based partnership that would eventually become Kirkland & Ellis. McCormick was the grandson of Joseph Medill, the founder of the Chicago Tribune. By 1920, McCormick left the firm to take over as the publisher of the Tribune.[citation needed]

Weymouth Kirkland and his associate Howard Ellis joined the firm in 1915. Kirkland served as chief counsel to the Tribune and other newspapers in various free speech and defamation cases, including Near v. Minnesota. In 1938, Kirkland and Ellis hired young trial lawyer Hammond Chaffetz from the U.S. Department of Justice. Chaffetz spent six decades with the firm, during which it grew to about 780 lawyers, making it one of the 30 largest in the country.[4] As of 2017, Kirkland has 13 offices internationally.[5]

New York office at 601 Lexington Avenue

According to a 2016 study, which evaluated the political ideology of the top 20 American law firms, Kirkland & Ellis was among the most conservative.[6]

The American Lawyer ranked Kirkland as the 2018 Law Firm of the Year.[7]

As of 2018 Kirkland is the largest law firm in the US, with US$3.76 billion in revenue, with an estimated profit per equity partner of US$5.03 million.[8] Kirkland was ranked second in the 2017 ATL Power 100 law firm rankings.[9] Vault ranks Kirkland as the most prestigious firm in Chicago and the number-one firm in the U.S. for private equity, restructuring and business outlook.[10]

Notable clients and cases[edit]

Notable attorneys and alumni[edit]

Endowed professorships[edit]

The firm has endowed professorships in its name at four law schools: Harvard Law School,[40] Northwestern University School of Law,[41] University of Michigan Law School,[42][43] and University of Chicago Law School.[44]


  1. ^ a b c "Kirkland & Ellis LLP". Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  2. ^ Newsham, Jack (July 14, 2019). "Kirkland's Push Into Contingency Fee Litigation Not Threatening, Firm Leaders Say". Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Johnston, David Cay (2001-01-17). "H. E. Chaffetz, 93, Lawyer On Antitrust and Price Fixing". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-12-12.
  5. ^ "One of the country's highest-grossing law firms opens Boston office". Retrieved 2017-05-25.
  6. ^ Sen, Maya; Chilton, Adam S.; Bonica, Adam (2016-12-01). "The Political Ideologies of American Lawyers". Journal of Legal Analysis. 8 (2): 277–335. doi:10.1093/jla/lav011. ISSN 2161-7201.
  7. ^ "Kirkland & Ellis Named Law Firm of the Year at American Lawyer Industry Awards".
  8. ^ "Kirkland Poised to Keep Top Am Law 100 Rank After Another Stellar Year".
  9. ^ Shepherd, David Lat, Elie Mystal, Staci Zaretsky, Kashmir Hill, Marin, Mark Herrmann, Jay. "The ATL 2017 Power 100 Law Firm Rankings". Above the Law. Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  10. ^ "Kirkland & Ellis LLP". Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  11. ^ Thompson, Richard (February 22, 2013). "Meet the lead attorneys involved in the BP oil spill trial". The Times-Picayune. Archived from the original on February 26, 2013. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  12. ^ Ruddick, Graham (September 23, 2015). "Volkswagen hires BP oil spill lawyers to defend emissions cases". The Guardian. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  13. ^ a b c d "Litigation Powerhouse: Kirkland & Ellis LLP – Law360". Retrieved 2016-12-12.
  14. ^ "Litigation Powerhouse: Kirkland & Ellis LLP – Law360". Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  15. ^ Brown, Julie (November 29, 2018). "How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime". Miami Herald. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  16. ^ "Toy R Us bankruptcy -".
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Brett Kavanaugh is a mensch".
  19. ^ "With Trump Legal Storm Looming, Pat Cipollone May Be Perfect Pick for White House Counsel".
  20. ^ "Bress confirmation" (PDF).
  21. ^ "Kirkland & Ellis Fondly Remembers Former Partner Robert Bork".
  22. ^ Bravin, Jess. "Supreme Court Appears Unlikely to Expand Gun Rights in New York Case". WSJ. Retrieved 2019-12-04.
  23. ^ "Solicitor General: Paul D. Clement". 2014-10-23. Retrieved 2019-12-04.
  24. ^ "John Bolton joins Ken Starr at Kirkland Ellis".
  25. ^ Johnston, David (1991-11-21). "Barr Is Confirmed on Voice Vote As 77th Attorney General of U.S." The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-02-05.
  26. ^ "With Trump Legal Storm Looming, Pat Cipollone May Be Perfect Pick for White House Counsel".
  27. ^ "Who is Alex Azar".
  28. ^ Salam, Maya (2017-04-27). "Senate Confirms R. Alexander Acosta as Labor Secretary". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-12-04.
  29. ^ "Trump Chooses Bolton for 3rd Security Adviser as Shake-Up Continues". The New York Times. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  30. ^ "U.S. Senate confirms Jeffrey Rosen as No. 2 Justice Department official". Reuters. 2019-05-17. Retrieved 2019-12-04.
  31. ^ "Nathan A. Sales". United States Department of State. Retrieved 2019-12-04.
  32. ^ "Mark Filip PC".
  33. ^ Flint, Joe (2018-09-17). "Viet Dinh to Become Chief Legal Officer of the New Fox". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  34. ^ "Chief Architect of Patriot Act to Quit". Los Angeles Times. 2003-05-14. Retrieved 2019-12-04.
  35. ^ "Ex-S.E.C. Official, Robert Khuzami, Joins Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office". Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  36. ^ "Deutsche Bank Appoints Robert Khuzami General Counsel for The Americas". 2004-01-13. Retrieved 2019-12-04.
  37. ^ "Brett Kavanaugh is a mensch".
  38. ^ "Lefkowitz, Jay".
  39. ^ "President Dallin H. Oaks". Retrieved 2019-12-04.
  40. ^ "Klarman, taking Kirkland & Ellis Chair, examines 'Racial Equality in American History' (video) – Harvard Law Today". Harvard Law Today. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  41. ^ "Permanent". Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  42. ^ "Chicago firm endows Law School professorship". Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  43. ^ "Clark, Sherman J. – University of Michigan Law School". Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  44. ^ "Eric Posner". Retrieved 23 September 2015.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]