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Kirkland & Ellis LLP

New York

Kirkland & Ellis LLP - Chicago
  • 601 Lexington Avenue
  • New York
  • New York
  • USA
  • NY 10022
  • Number of partners: 756
  • Number of other lawyers: 860
  • Website: www.kirkland.com
  • INTERNATIONAL OFFICES China, Germany, Hong Kong, United Kingdom

Firm Overview:
For more than 100 years, Kirkland & Ellis has provided exceptional service to clients around the world in complex corporate, intellectual property, litigation, real estate, restructuring, tax and counseling matters.

Main Areas of Practice:
Kirkland is a full-service law firm focusing in the following core practice areas:

Kirkland’s corporate lawyers cover the full spectrum of corporate transactions important to businesses in today’s global marketplace. Because of the firm’s consistently high volume of complex transactional engagements, it has developed a broad vision of the issues that confront business organizations and an aptitude for developing novel, creative and constructive solutions. Kirkland’s emphasis on teamwork allows it to synthesize the specialty areas needed to support a toptier transactional practice for the benefit of its clients. For two years in a row, Chambers and Partners named Kirkland as ‘Private Equity Law Firm of the Year’. In 2010, Kirkland’s Private Funds Group was recognized with an Award for Excellence from Chambers and Partners. In 2012, for the second year in a row, Kirkland was ranked No. 1 in Global Buyouts by volume and No. 1 for US M&A by Volume in mergermarket’s League Tables of Legal Advisers to M&A for Year End 2012. The firm was also one of five selected M&A ‘Practice Groups of the Year’ in 2011, and Private Equity ‘Practice Groups of the Year’ in 2011 and 2012 by Law360.

Intellectual Property:
Kirkland’s Intellectual Property Practice Group is one of the oldest such practices in a full-service firm in the country, having been an integral part of Kirkland since 1925. Located in the firm’s Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York, Palo Alto, San Francisco and Washington, DC offices, Kirkland’s intellectual property lawyers are experienced in a variety of technical disciplines and registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Kirkland’s lawyers have been recognized for their experience in litigation, transactions, counseling and administrative matters involving all areas of intellectual property. In 2008, Kirkland was named one of three finalists in The American Lawyer’s ‘IP Litigation Department of the Year’ survey. In 2009, Kirkland was recognized with an Award for Excellence in the IP Litigation Team category by Chambers and Partners. Kirkland was one of five selected IP ‘Practice Groups of the Year’by Law360 in 2011.

Litigation & Arbitration:
Kirkland litigators expect – and are expected – to try cases. The firm believes that the best litigation results happen when the lawyers and client form a team that assumes it will try the case.Because of this trial-ready philosophy, the firm is able to offer clients a deep bench of lawyers who have been taking cases to verdict since the early stages of their careers. Whether in the courtroom, at the bargaining table or helping clients avoid risks without litigation, Kirkland has a long and proven track record of generating successful results for clients in their most high-stakes cases. In 2012, for the 11th consecutive year, Kirkland was named a ‘go-to’ firm for litigation in the Corporate Counsel survey‘Who Represents America’s Biggest Companies?’. Kirkland was named as a 2010 finalist and 2008 winner of The American Lawyer ‘Litigation Department of the Year’ competition. Kirkland’s appellate and class action practices were selected as 2012 ‘Practice Groups of the Year’by Law360.

Real Estate:
The members of the Real Estate Practice Group pursue an interdisciplinary approach to sophisticated real estate transactions to offer clients flexible and creative solutions to difficult problems across a broad range of transactions in the commercial real estate industry. In the summer of 2011, Kirkland recruited 10 seasoned real estate partners in New York and Chicago to add depth and breadth to several areas that involve important aspects of the real estate market, including joint ventures, complex debt restructurings,workouts and equity recapitalizations, fund formation, first mortgage and mortgage financings, capital markets and tax, in addition to core real estate transactional and development work. In 2011, Kirkland was one of five selected Real Estate ‘Practice Groups of the Year’by Law360.

By combining sophisticated business advisory and crisis management skills with extensive experience in domestic and international insolvency matters, Kirkland’s Restructuring Practice Group navigates clients through the turmoil of situations involving financially troubled companies. The firm has earned a distinguished reputation by achieving positive results for a wide range of global clients in complex corporate restructuring, workout and bankruptcy planning, negotiation and litigation. The practice was named second in ‘best in practice’ in the 2013 Vault Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms and was one of five selected Restructuring ‘Practice Groups of the Year’ by Law360 in 2011.

Tax, Benefits & Estate Planning:
The firm’s Tax Practice Group has handled an array of matters for clients in the courtroom and the boardroom, with proven results in the fund formation,merger and acquisition and tax litigation arenas.Kirkland’s employee benefits lawyers provide traditional employee benefits counseling and creative approaches to issues arising in the transactional, post-transactional and restructuring settings. Through the firm’s trusts and estates lawyers, individual and corporate fiduciaries receive counsel in connection with the preservation, management and transfer of wealth. In 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012, Kirkland was honored as ‘Chicago Tax Firm of the Year’, and in 2012 as the ‘Americas Tax Restructuring Team of the Year’ at the International Tax Review’s Americas Tax Awards.

Kirkland also has lawyers with significant experience in the areas of antitrust and competition, regulatory, government, internal investigation and white-collar criminal defense, and securities enforcement. Kirkland’s competition and securities practices were selected as 2012 ‘Practice Groups of the Year’by Law360.


  • 333 South Hope Street,
  • Los Angeles,
  • California
  • USA
  • CA 90071
  • Tel +1 213 680 8400
  • Fax +1 213 680 8500
  • Email : mark.holscher@kirkland.com
  • 3330 Hillview Avenue,
  • Palo Alto,
  • California
  • USA
  • CA 94304
  • Tel +1 650 859 7000
  • Fax +1 650 859 7500
  • Email : adam.phillips@kirkland.com
  • 555 California Street,
  • San Francisco,
  • California
  • USA
  • CA 94104
  • Tel +1 415 439 1400
  • Fax +1 415 439 1500
  • Email : david.breach@kirkland.com
  • 655 Fifteenth Street, N.W.,
  • Washington, DC,
  • District of Columbia
  • USA
  • 20005-5793
  • Tel +1 202 879 5000
  • Fax +1 202 879 5200
  • Email : eugene.assaf@kirkland.com
  • 601 Lexington Avenue,
  • New York,
  • USA
  • NY 10022
  • Tel +1 212 446 4800
  • Fax +1 212 446 4900
  • Email : lefkowitz@kirkland.com

Capital Markets - Nationwide

THE FIRM The team at this firm is particularly praised by sources for its representation of private equity funds and their affiliate companies on debt and equity transactions including high-yield debt matters. Recent highlights include advising Clear Channel Outdoor on its issue of $2.2 billion senior subordinated notes due 2020 by its subsidiary, Clear Channel Worldwide. Other key clients include Apax, Avis Budget and Kellogg.

Client Service "They are very prompt and accommodate us no matter how unfair our timetable is."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Joshua Korff is "highly smart," "highly practical" and is commended by sources for his business-minded approach to issues. He has notable expertise in public and private financings.

Life Sciences - Nationwide

THE FIRM Kirkland & Ellis works with life sciences clients on M&A, antitrust litigation, product liability litigation, licensing and regulatory matters. The firm has a well-regarded IP litigation practice, bolstered by the recent addition of six former Kaye Scholer lawyers, including patent and appellate litigator Leora Ben-Ami. Key clients include Pfizer, Teva, Bristol-Myers Squibb and GlaxoSmithKline.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Leora Ben-Ami is an IP specialist and "fantastic trial lawyer," whose practice covers pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, chemistry and medical devices. One client comments: "I have immense confidence in her presenting cases, taking very complex concepts and making them understandable for judge and jury."

Bankruptcy/Restructuring - New York

THE FIRM Kirkland & Ellis is internationally renowned as one of the deepest and most successful restructuring groups in the country. The team offers a comprehensive array of experts covering every aspect of distressed and restructuring situation, nationally and internationally. Kirkland is particularly recognized for large-scale debtor-side representations, with roles in a number of the nation's most significant bankruptcies in recent years. Highlights include advising prominent aircraft manufacturer Hawker Beechcraft, as well as Global Aviation Holdings, in their respective Chapter 11 bankruptcies. The team has also advised on high-value out-of-court restructurings for Barneys New York and luxury resort developer Kerzner International. 

Sources say: "They worked around our time and our hours, but at the same time they were always available to us. They were very good at understanding our business and the sensitivity of the industry - that got us through the bankruptcy a lot quicker." "There is a depth of experience; the team provides a wide range of expertise, and has seen and done just about everything." 

KEY INDIVIDUALS The "spectacular" Richard Cieri is described as a "real rainmaker" by interviewees, many of whom recognize that "he has been around along time and has great market recognition." His recent highlights include representing Hawker Beechcraft in its aforementioned Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. He is also representing Ally Financial and Ally Bank during the large-scale bankruptcy of its wholly owned mortgage subsidiary, Residential Capital (ResCap). 

James Sprayregen is among the most respected bankruptcy attorneys in the country, with interviewees describing him as "tireless and very creative. He is very good in complicated and difficult situations - he just knows how to work the process on the legal side and, more importantly, the deal side of it. He balances those dynamics well." Sprayregen splits his time between the firm's Chicago and New York offices.

Paul Basta receives praise as a "very effective lawyer who is practical in his approach," and is described as "incredible when it comes to court and credibility with the judges." He has played leading roles in a number of the firm's most significant bankruptcy matters, having recently advised both Barneys New York and Kerzner International on high-value out-of-court restructurings. 

Commentators describe Jonathan Henes as one of the "next generation of leaders" in the industry. He continues to build his prominent profile, recently representing Global Aviation Holdings in connection with its $495 million Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Interviewees describe him as "very active, with a strong presence."

Clients give Marc Kieselstein "the highest marks" for his superb and personable approach, with many commenting on his excellent responsiveness and ability to "add clarity and humor to what can be a dreadful experience." His recent highlights include advising women's fashion retailer United Retail Group in relation to its Chapter 11 restructuring.

Edward Sassower continues to build on his reputation as a "professional, business savvy deal-maker." "He has shown a good soft touch to clients," report interviewees, "and has a good relationship with all the other professionals as well, which transcends the adversarial aspect of the case." Sassower operates across the spectrum of bankruptcy-related issues.

The "extremely smart, capable and responsive" Joshua Sussberg played an integral role in the out-of-court restructurings of Barneys New York and Kerzner International. He advises clients on all types of bankruptcy issues.

Corporate/M&A - New York

THE FIRM This M&A group acts on the full range of corporate and transactional matters for strategic buyers and private equity groups, and has established a reputation for working on unsolicited bids and hostile takeovers. The team advises Bristol-Myers Squibb, Burger King Worldwide and Avis Budget Group, among others. Recent highlights include handling NRG's $4.1 billion acquisition of GenOn Energy. 

Sources say: "They have the talent to assist companies in all aspects of business and legal strategies." "It's a terrific firm to work with."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head David Fox is widely praised for his expertise in public company M&A. Commentators say he is a "no-nonsense" lawyer who "helps clients get their transaction done in an expeditious way." He recently led on Bristol-Myers Squibb's $7 billion acquisition of Amylin Pharmaceuticals, and on its $3.4 billion agreement to collaborate post-closing with AstraZeneca on developing Amylin.

Sources commend Daniel Wolf for providing "comprehensive, unembellished and strong tactical negotiating advice." Others add he has "an encyclopedic mind as it relates to the law," and is "utterly tireless." He recently led a team representing Tronox in its $3.4 billion acquisition of industrial sands operations from Exxaro Resources.

Stephen Fraidin is particularly commended for his expertise in board governance and his "unique ability to articulate and manage difficult, complex issues and problems." He recently advised the special committee to the board of directors of Expedia on Expedia's announced spin-off of TripAdvisor.

Rising star Leo Greenberg is held in high regard by market sources. Clients praise him as "commercial, extremely hard-working and extremely relationship-focused."

Also up-and-coming is William Sorabella, whom clients have described as "extremely creative, highly commercial and very much willing to step outside the box." He recently acted for Solutia alongside Fox on its $4.7 billion acquisition by Eastman Chemical Company.

Sarkis Jebejian recently joined the firm from Cravath. Clients say he is a "commercially astute, responsive" lawyer who "can put together a high-quality legal team on very short notice to handle any project." He recently represented BAE Systems in the sale of Safariland to a Kanders & Company-affiliated acquisition vehicle.

Intellectual Property - New York

THE FIRM Kirkland & Ellis continues to go from strength to strength as a top destination for leading companies looking for representation across the spectrum of IP law. Its patent litigation offering, already one of the best with regards to hi-tech and electronics, has bolstered its pharmaceuticals and medical devices expertise in recent years. The New York office is also home to one of the city's leading copyright, trademark and branding practices.

Sources say: "From a strategy perspective, they are one of the most creative firms."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Leora Ben-Ami is considered one of the best-known pharmaceutical patent litigators in the country, and the firm continues to count its blessings for having welcomed her into its ranks. Sources praise her "excellent" strategic thinking and her practical, plain-speaking approach.

Dale Cendali chairs the firm's copyright, trademark, internet and advertising practice group. As one of the most celebrated lawyers in this field in the country, she is something of a talismanic figure for the firm, and has an enviable client roster which includes Fox Entertainment Group, JK Rowling and Disney. 

Gregory Arovas is, according to sources, a "superb lawyer" and a "go-to" for in-house counsel at some of the world's best-known technology companies. He has argued sophisticated patent cases before district and federal courts, and the ITC in DC.

Steven Cherny is an IP litigator other lawyers would "recommend in a heartbeat," and is valued by clients for being "very effective at quickly grasping issues and boiling down what they mean to the case, their implications on long-term strategy as well as short-term goals." 

Claudia Ray is a copyright, internet law, trademark and unfair competition specialist with a particular emphasis on the consumer products, financial services, hi-tech, and media and entertainment sectors.

Litigation - New York

THE FIRM There is no doubt that Kirkland has a leading nationwide litigation practice, and its New York office is another example of this strength. Its attorneys are highly skilled at trial and appellate levels, and offer an impressive breadth of expertise across a wide range of commercial dispute types. The team also focuses on white-collar criminal defense and securities litigation, while maintaining strength in numerous other areas, including product liability and environmental disputes. Key clients include UBS Financial Services, CIGNA and Facebook.

Sources say: "They are extremely consistent, deliver a high-quality work product and are very easy to work with. Their advice isn't just thoughtful but practical too."

KEY INDIVIDUALS William Pratt is an extremely experienced commercial litigator, and is highly praised for his trial expertise. His recent work includes successfully representing Verizon in a jury trial relating to environmental tort claims. "He has very creative arguments," said one impressed source, "and is able to respond to any questions that are put to him as he has instant access to the facts of the law - he has a gift!"

Jay Lefkowitz is held in high regard by commentators for his impressive trial and appellate expertise, and is considered a "master strategist and tactician." Clients particularly value his dedicated commitment to cases and the experience he brings as a "brilliant Supreme Court advocate."  

Andrew Genser is a noted white-collar criminal defense litigator, and is held in high regard for his dedication to client service. His recent work has seen him represent companies and individuals in significant investigations and litigation.

Sources commend Joseph Serino as a "great trial lawyer" who "has a command of every aspect of a case." He is particularly noted for his experience in the securities litigation space, and has represented a wide range of financial services clients.

Media & Entertainment - New York

THE FIRM This international firm houses a formidable litigation team noted for its trial experience. The team is known for its outstanding expertise in copyright, trademark, patent and advertising disputes. It advises some of the entertainment industry's leading individuals and corporations, including JK Rowling, the Associated Press and Fox Entertainment, the latter of which it is currently defending in a copyright infringement claim.

Sources say: “A first-rate firm with a great trial litigation and patent practice.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Dale Cendali is a formidable litigator, considered one of the best in her field. She has been litigating some of the most prominent IP cases for various media giants, and is currently leading the team in the aforementioned copyright lawsuit for Fox.

Real Estate - New York

THE FIRM This firm's real estate practice offers particular experience in advising major real estate private equity funds, and guides clients through joint ventures, financing transactions and debt restructuring. The team recently acted for Starwood Capital on the formation of a joint venture and the subsequent acquisition of seven shopping malls from Westfield Group. An impressive client list also includes Kerzner International Holdings, Archstone and Lubert-Adler Partners.

Sources say: "They are respectful of their client's time and they're well organized. It's a pleasure to work with the Kirkland people." "Very creative and very available."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Scott Berger is a very highly regarded figure in the real estate market, with vast experience in private equity issues. His multifaceted practice includes advising international as well as domestic interests on transactions, financings and joint ventures.

Interviewees appreciate the way Jonathan Schechter can "draw on a wealth of prior transactional experience," and also highlight that he is "very responsive and diligent." He advised Starwood Capital on the formation of a joint venture for the purpose of developing a New York eco-friendly hotel and condominium community.

The "very commercial" Jennifer Morgan is "very calm, doesn't overreact to things and is always looking for constructive solutions." She focuses her practice on real estate private equity, and recently advised Kerzner International on the restructuring of $3 billion of debt.

Tax - New York

THE FIRM Kirkland & Ellis's admirable tax group offers in-depth expertise in a range of sophisticated transactions, including domestic and international M&A, bankruptcies, restructurings, fund formation, buyouts, financings and executive compensation arrangements. It also represents clients engaged in disputes with state and foreign tax authorities, and with the IRS. Its clients include Burger King, 3G Capital Management and Apax Partners. The team recently represented ABB in connection with the multibillion-dollar acquisition of Thomas & Betts.

Sources say: "A very experienced team that is able to handle European tax, US tax and wider international tax jurisdictions. They have a very commercial approach."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Patrick Gallagher is widely respected for his handling of cross-border acquisitions and divestitures, restructurings, public offerings and fund formation. Much of this work is undertaken on behalf of private equity clients. His recent highlights include representing WideOpenWest (now known as WOW!) in its high-value acquisition of Knology. "I have a very positive impression of him," states one interviewee.

Steven Clemens is admired by peers for his assured and accomplished manner. He is an expert in the fields of domestic and cross-border M&A, private equity and investment fund formation, and securities. His distinguished clients include TowerBrook Capital Partners and ABB.

Greer Phillips handles a range of sophisticated domestic and cross-border transactions, including spin-offs, joint ventures, workouts and bankruptcies, and M&A. He recently led on behalf of Burger King in its high-value partial sale to the shareholders of Justice Holdings. 

The talented Russell Light is admired by clients for bringing a creative approach to complex transactions, including in private equity investments, M&A and buyouts. Clients describe him as "a very personable guy who is very front-footed in terms of tackling quite complex issues, and very commercial."