Lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis have expressed concern after a social event for vacation scheme students span out of control, ending with a partner and an associate taking a pair of the students home with them.
Last week the huge-paying US firm treated students attending its vacation scheme in London to a party at Swingers, a bunker beneath the Gherkin which combines crazy golf, street food and drinks. According to several attendees, matters got slightly out of hand. "It was an absolute shit show", said one Kirkland associate, who witnessed a staffer become so "absolutely drunk" they started "shouting and screaming".
Matters took a more questionable turn when a Kirkland associate snogged one of the vacation scheme students "in front of everyone present".
The student and associate subsequently left the bar with another vacation schemer and, "crucially", a Kirkland partner who "left with them in the cab after condoning it". The foursome drove to the associate's flat where they enjoyed each other's company "until the early hours of the morning", with one of the students staying the whole night.
Slumber party! How it might have looked.
Vacation schemes are now the most likely route for students to obtain a training contract at many firms, and lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis expressed concerns that their two colleagues could be perceived to have taken advantage of the disparity in power between themselves and the younger vacation scheme students. As the group left Swingers, one of the departing students was overheard telling fellow vac schemers that they "really wanted the job", said a source. "Honestly not ok!" one associate told RollOnFriday.
Kirkland has previous for bacchanalian socials, in particular a 2016 celebration in Zermatt where its private equity team cleaned out a hotel's stock of champagne. But insiders say it's overwhelmingly a happy ship in London, and the firm was praised by staff for offering not just absolutely giant salaries, but a clear deal on career progression which incorporated a fast track to partnership. This year, Kirkland & Ellis received the highest marks in the country for both pay and career development from its London lawyers.
Kirkland declined to comment.
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