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Kirkland & Ellis

300 North LaSalle
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 at the firm agree that with the firm’s robust training and the firm’s name on their resumes, their futures are bright.

Firm Stats


Total No. Attorneys (2023)

3.5K - 4K


No. of Partners Named (2022)



Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100


No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2022)



No. of Summer Associates (2023)

441 total (345 2Ls; 96 1Ls)


Base Salary

Base Salary (2023)

Vault Verdict

Kirkland & Ellis is seriously big, “bad” in the best possible way—and always ready to blow down the competition. Kirkland represents the most elite clients on some of the biggest deals out there, which means they’re in the market for associates who are ready and able to keep up. The firm wants top talent, but that doesn’t mean they only hire from the T14. Instead, the firm takes a holistic view of candidates; while good grades are important, equally so are drive and entrepreneurial spirit in order to thrive in the firm’s free market assignment system. “Go getters” will do well at Kirkland, where informal training and mentorship, along with prime assignments, are there for those ready to seize them. In spite of the fast-paced, high-intensity environment, associates rave abo...

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 Trib in defamation suits. Kirkland soon eclipsed the firm founders as the face of the outfit, carving a legacy defined by his defense of newspapers ...

Associate Reviews

  • “The culture is upbeat and energizing. The firm sponsors frequent optional/low-pressure social events that are fun. We also have the ability to organize our own impromptu social events (with signoff) paid for by the firm (and associates regularly take advantage of this perk).”
  • “The firm highly encourages and facilitates social events so that the lawyers are able to network and mingle. I have met many lawyers in other practice areas through these events.”
  • “Firm-sponsored events and community involvement are second to none; attorneys regularly have the opportunity to meet outside working hours, bring family to various functions, and more. Day to day, associates and partners and staff collaborate and work and play nicely; there is a spirit of entrepreneurialism, and that is a good thing for the right candidate.”
  • “Contrary to popular belief, [Kirkland] has a great firm culture. I genuinely enjoy my colleagues. We socialize in the office as well as outside of the office. The atmosphere is intense, but most attorneys are collegial and respectful.”

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

  • “The firm generally hires from T14 schools for summer associate positions, but also looks to excellent students in state schools as well. The firm is looking for people who are willing to work hard but also who fit with the firm's collegiate and collaborative culture. …”
  • “[Kirkland] looks for strong, entrepreneurial candidates who will do well in navigating [Kirkland]'s open assignment system.”
  • “[Kirkland] is picky but also willing to find talent in unique places. It's not all Harvard and Yale JDs here. Above all, the firm values grit.”
  • “Kirkland is doing a great job of diversifying its recruiting process—looking to hire at schools outside of the T14—and rightfully so. People choose a variety of law schools for a variety of reasons (not the least of which includes financial considerations), and recognizing that and recruiting from other schools is a valuable tool that Kirkland is employing.”

Perks & Benefits

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