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Kirkland & Ellis

333 West Wolf Point Plaza
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 862-2000



A legal giant—both in size and reputation—Kirkland is the perfect firm for driven individuals who are ready to take control of their legal careers. Associates agree that with the firm’s robust training and name on their resumes, their futures are bright.

Firm Stats


Total No. Attorneys (2024)

3.5K - 4K


No. of Partners Named (2023)



Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100


No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2023)



No. of Summer Associates (2024)

532 total (372 2Ls; 151 1Ls)


Base Salary

Base Salary (2024)

Vault Verdict

In the world of BigLaw, Kirkland is about as big as it gets—and we are referring to more than its size. Despite representing some of the most influential clients in the world, Kirkland doesn’t have a reputation for being elitist in terms of hiring; that is, merits and accomplishments are weighed more than pedigree alone. Personality matters too, and the firm is looking for people, whether straight from college or a second career, ready to hit the ground running. The work is abundant, but the long hours are mitigated by a fair amount of flexibility and rewarded by high-quality assignments and substantive experience. The firm’s top compensation package also helps counterbalance the heavy workload. In a firm as large as Kirkland, it’s not surprising that associate reviews of firm cul...

About the Firm

Kirkland & Ellis, one of the world’s most elite law firms, is known for its corporate, intellectual property, litigation, M&A, private equity, and restructuring work. With more than 3,500 lawyers, the firm is regularly recognized as one of the most successful in the world.

Extra, Extra!

In 1909, fresh-faced attorneys Stuart Shepard and Robert McCormick struck up a partnership in Chicago. McCormick’s grandfather founded The Chicago Tribune, and McCormick left the firm in 1920 to become the paper’s publisher—a move that he used to send more business the firm’s way, tapping Kirkland trial lawyer Weymouth Kirkland to defend The Tribune in defamation suits. Kirkland soon eclipsed the firm founders as the face of ...

Associate Reviews

  • “The firm does a good job trying to foster socializing. For example, there are regular group lunches scheduled at restaurants near the office for colleagues to sign up for, the associates have regular happy hours, and the M&A group has an annual series of year-end dinners, all paid for by the firm. Plenty of attorneys, myself included, have strong friendships with colleagues and get together outside of work.”
  • “Very professional. The associates will socialize together at times, but it is generally firm sponsored. There are good interactions, but things are very cordial.”
  • “The Kirkland culture is what you make of it. Everyone I have worked with has been very professional, and most have been very friendly. It is a large place, so you build your own community.”
  • “Intense—but everyone is kind and respectful to one another.”

Why Work Here

Kirkland & Ellis is one of the world’s most elite law firms and is recognized for our exceptional service to clients in private equity, M&A and other complex corporate transactions, litigation and dispute resolution/arbitration, restructuring, and intellectual property matters. We believe in creative solutions fueled by teamwork and are dedicated to providing our clients with superior results. We invest in our talent and build dynamic teams that operate at the pinnacle of their practice. With lawyers coming from the world’s finest law schools, Kirkland is known as an industry leader in recruiting, retaining and advancing the brightest legal talent. Our reputation for excellence is recognized globally.

Diversity at Kirkland & Ellis

"At Kirkland, we believe our ability to function at the highest level of our profession is enhanced by building a team of lawyers who bring us the benefits of a broad range of socioeconomic, racial, ethnic and personal backgrounds. Our commitment to diversity is reflected not only in the Firm's policies, programs and committees, but also through our efforts to maintain a culture that values and gathers strength from difference. Kirkland's commitment to diversity and inclusion is ensured by our Firmwide Diversity Integration Task..."

Getting Hired Here

  • “Kirkland looks for passion, drive, commitment, and eagerness to succeed. Someone who others will work well with and learn alongside. The candidates differ in light of Kirkland's commitment to diversity and culture, but at the end of the day, each associate is smart, kind, driven, and motivated.”
  • “I think my class was decently diverse, school-wise. Lots of my class have done clerkships and came back, or are leaving to clerk, etc. There is a range of people who had full careers to people who went straight through school. Overall, I think the firm is looking for people who are excited about the legal world and not afraid of working hard and are smart.”
  • “I came from a very-low-ranked law school but had been an investment banker. I am constantly grateful for all the opportunities the firm has given me and hope to repay all of them for this chance to do cutting-edge work and become the best lawyer I can be.”

Perks & Benefits

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