RollOnFriday understands that Kirkland & Ellis' London office threw a debauched party in Switzerland at which, an insider claims, a client had to intervene when a partner groped a colleague's breasts.
Kirkland's City office has been hammered with bad publicity recently after seven partners jumped ship, with a capital markets partner leaving for Freshfields and a corporate partner, a tax partner and three private equity partners all quitting for Sidley Austin.
But the exodus does not appear to have dampened the spirits of the remaining partners, who two weeks ago pulled out all the stops for a European Private Equity Ski Conference. Held at the foot of the Matterhorn in Zermatt, one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, guests were given helicopter flight schedules from airports and put up by the firm in £400-a-night five star hotels. However, inside sources tell RollOnFriday that the highlight was a blowout party at The Grand Hotel Zermatterhof which achieved "Wolf of Wall Street-style" levels of excess.
Kirkland's bash was apparently so boozy that it was forced to move on to another venue after clearing the hotel out of magnums of champagne, "which had mostly been used to spray people". Apparently even partners got involved, showering associates and clients with vintage plonk. One banking partner took offence when a barman suggested the lawyers might prefer to hose each other down with cheaper champagne. "The bar was left soaking", says a source. "Even the ceiling was dripping with champagne".
A Kirkland partner checks staff have their passports
One partner became so possessed of the Bacchanalian spirit that he apparently "honked" the breast of a female partner and "embarrassingly, a client had to step in". The incident has caused "massive upset", says RollOnFriday's source, "but is unlikely to be dealt with". Or remembered by most of the people there, by the sound of it.
Pausing briefly before launching a dwarf on rollerstakes at a giant dartboard, a spokeswoman for the firm told RollOnFriday, "Kirkland does not comment on the specifics of any alleged situation, but the firm is committed to ensuring a work environment in which the dignity of every person is respected. The firm does not tolerate harassment of any kind, and takes seriously and investigates any allegations of inappropriate behavior or harassment”.