Kirkland’s revenue tops $7bn as PEP nears $8m

Chicago giant becomes first law firm to smash turnover milestone as PEP grows 6%
Washington, D.C., USA- March 1, 2020: The entrance to Kirkland and Ellis LLP office in Washington, DC, USA. Kirkland and Ellis LLP is an American law firm.

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Kirkland & Ellis grew revenue by more than 10% to $7.21bn last year, as profits per equity partner (PEP) rose nearly 6% to $7.96m.  

The global giant’s headline financial results, reported by, are in line with 2022’s nearly 8% rise in turnover, though pales in comparison to its barnstorming 2021, when a record global deals market helped the firm boost turnover 25% to cross $6bn for the first time.  

The growth in PEP came as the firm grew its equity ranks by more than 30 to 539 and its overall lawyer headcount by around 100 to just over 3,500, according to

Noteworthy laterals last year included Paul Weiss’s London office head, leading private equity lawyer Alvaro Membrillera, and leading banking and private credit partner Adam Shapiro in New York from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. The firm also added M&A and capital markets partners from Latham & Watkins and White & Case to open the firm’s office in Riyadh last October.  

Going the other way, Kirkland lost more than a dozen private equity partners to Paul Weiss in the US and UK over the course of the year, including debt finance superstar Neel Sachdev in London and capital markets lawyer Eric Wedel to open an office in Los Angeles.  

Sachdev was joined in London by a series of partners from Kirkland including M&A specialist Roger Johnson and debt finance trio Kanesh Balasubramaniam, Matthew Merkle and Deirdre Jones.  

Kirkland has since bolstered its London bench with the hire of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett finance partners Ian Barratt and Sinead O’Shea as well as tax partner James Morgan from Linklaters.   

It also announced another record set of partner promotions in October, making up 205 in a round again dominated by the US and its formidable M&A and private equity practice. However it also let go some associates in the US earlier in the year, in a move it framed as performance-related rather than as layoffs.  

As the value of global dealmaking fell to a 10-year low in 2023, Kirkland’s work on 644 deals worth $397bn saw it earn top billings in the London Stock Exchange Group’s legal advisor rankings by deal value. The result saw the firm reclaim the top spot from Sullivan & Cromwell, which had led the pack for the previous two years.  

Standout deals included acting for KKR’s $24bn acquisition of Telecom Italia’s fixed-line network and ONEOK’s $19bn acquisition of Magellan Midstream Partners. 

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