Kirkland & Ellis

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Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Kirkland & Ellis
No. of offices 10 total, 4 international
No. of attorneys 1,517 (2012)
Major practice areas General practice
Revenue $1.94 billion (2012)
Date founded 1909
Company type Limited liability partnership

Kirkland & Ellis LLP is an international law firm headquartered and founded in Chicago. Known for its work in cases that go to trial, law firm Kirkland & Ellis maintains a variety of practices aimed mainly at corporate clients. Besides litigation, the firm's core practice areas include corporate transactions, intellectual property, restructuring, and tax.[1] Kirkland has offices in Beijing, Chicago, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Munich, New York, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Shanghai and Washington, D.C.

The firm had gross revenue of approximately $1.94 billion in 2012, an 10.7% increase from 2011. As of 2013, it was the eleventh largest law firm by headcount in the United States and the fifth largest by revenue. Kirkland is the second most profitable law firm per partner, with estimated profits per partner of $3.25 million in 2012, a 6.6% increase from 2011.[2] Vault's 2016 rankings placed Kirkland as the number one firm in Chicago, and among the top ten best firms in the United States. [3]


The firm was founded in 1909[4] by attorneys Stewart G. Shepherd and Robert R. McCormick, a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law and a member of the prominent McCormick family, who would later become the publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The firm's modern namesakes, Weymouth Kirkland and Howard Ellis, joined the firm in 1915. In 1938, former United States Department of Justice lawyer Hammond Chaffetz joined the firm. The firm now consists of approximately 1,500 attorneys in twelve domestic and foreign offices, with particular strength in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Palo Alto and Washington, D.C.

Notable clients[edit]

The firm has represented a number of high-profile clients, including United Airlines in that company's Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Other major clients of the firm have included General Motors, Brown & Williamson, Motorola, Conseco, Honeywell, S. C. Johnson & Son, Apple, Intel, Raytheon, Schering-Plough, Samsung Electronics, Siemens AG, Charter Communications and Westinghouse Electric Company. The firm is representing BP in the litigation arising from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Political contributions[edit]

Kirkland, through its employees, was a top-20 contributor to Barack Obama in 2008, giving at least $493,735.[5] The firm's attorneys leaned heavily (77%) Democratic in their political contributions during the 2008 election cycle, which were substantial ($579,976 as of 10/29/07).[6]

The firm has its own Political Action Committee (PAC), which gave 97% of its contributions to Democrats during the 2008 election cycle, as of 12/7/07.[7] The firm's members have given more money to Illinois Senator Dick Durbin (by some measures the most liberal Democrat in the Senate)[8] since 1989 than donors from any other company or organization.[9]

Endowed professorships[edit]

The firm has endowed professorships in its name at four of the leading law schools in the United States:

Notable staff[edit]

Among its most well-known current and former lawyers, including three of the last ten U.S. Solicitors General, are:


External links[edit]