Kirkland & Ellis

Kirkland & Ellis is a megabucks US firm which brings its largesse to its London office, pegging pay to the dollar, and a very large amount of dollar it is, too.

Highly-regarded for private equity, banking and restructuring, it's a work-hard, play-hard culture. When its solicitors are made up to partner, it tends to happen very early, at 6PQE, with the philosophy being - if you work your guts out and do well, you're in. Otherwise, perhaps Kirkland isn't for you. Which may not be the worst thing in the world, as K&E looks just fine on a CV. 

Kirkland & Ellis scored joint top for pay satisfaction in the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year 2020 Survey. K&E's handsomely rewarded laweyers awarded it 85%, alongside Shearman & Sterling. "You'd have to be a dick to moan", said one junior lawyer. "No complaints here - the Yanks pay well", said a colleague. "$$$$", was how one lawyer summed up their salary packet. "Always top of the market" boasted a partner. They're not lying.

"Totally transparent partner promotion track, which happens at 6PQE", said pretty much all respondents from the firm when commenting on career development (77%). Career development was "extreme", managed a senior solicitor.

"Work/life...what?" asked a baffled junior solicitor. No surprise, really, that there isn't a lot of time to soak in the tub. The firm scored 51% for work/life balance. One junior commented "I once had a free Sunday, that was nice". A colleague pointed out, "You know the deal when you join".

"There's not a consistent culture, it varies hugely from group to group based on the individual partners," said a junior lawyer at the firm. There were "some genuine psychopaths and irredeemable shaggers floating about", said a junior, "but my team are wholesome, bordering on dull. Which is pretty much what you want from colleagues." 

Kirkland has one of the iconic office locations in the City. "I heart the Gherkin", said a partner, "Don’t know why they are looking to move". The Gherkin "is like a glass castle", said junior solicitors, one of whom admitted, "I should not have anywhere near this amount of real estate as my office". 

For the purposes of the salary table, Kirkland's salaries are shown in sterling, but in the UK above trainee level pay is pegged to the dollar, and the dollar levels are as follows:

 NQ         $190,000    
 1PQE     $200,000  
 2PQE     $220,000  
 3PQE     $255,000  
 4PQE     $280,000    
 5PQE     $305,000   

Not too shabby. And if that weren't enough, here's a sample of the Summer bonuses handed out to all (from back in 2018):

  NQ         $5,000
 1PQE      $7,500
 2PQE      $10,000
 3PQE      $15,000
 4PQE      $20,000
 5PQE      $25,000

Woof.

Offices

HQ
Chicago
UK Offices
London
Non-UK Offices
Beijing, Boston, Chicago ,Dallas, Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Munich, New York, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Shanghai, Washington DC

Salary

1st Year Trainee
£46,000
2nd Year Trainee
£48,000
NQ
£146,000
1 PQE
£155,000
2 PQE
£170,000
3 PQE
£197,000
Profit Per Equity Partner
£3,600,000

Benefits

Target Hours
-
Allowance
-
Bonus
-
Gender Pay Gap
-
Health Care
-
Flexible Working
-
Maternity & Paternity Policy
-

Trainees

Latest Trainee Retention Rate
56%
Training contracts per year
9

Kirkland & Ellis’s Firm of the Year Scores

Overall
77%
Pay
100%
Career Development
90%
Management
80%
Culture
76%
Work / Life Balance
41%
Snacks
71%
Loos
75%

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