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:
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):