Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Kirkland & Ellis Names 141 New Partners; Only 3 Are Black

American Lawyer, Kirkland Announces Partner Mega-Class With 141 Promotions:

KirklandThe world’s highest-grossing law firm has promoted what it says is its largest-ever class of new partners: 141 in one go [including 8 tax partners].

Kirkland & Ellis announced the names of its newly minted partners on Wednesday, distributing a list that would rival or dwarf the total partnership at plenty of sizable firms.

Like many of the largest law firms, Kirkland has had large partner classes in the past. But according to a firm representative, this one tops the list.

Kirkland is No. 1 in the Am Law 100 thanks to its revenue (over $3.7 billion in 2018), but it trails several U.S. and global firms in head count, with about 2,300 lawyers, 430 equity partners and 566 nonequity partners last year.

The firm is also known for an “up or out” approach to partnership, which means large-scale promotions to its partnership don’t translate into a top-heavy structure., Practically Invisible: Kirkland & Ellis' New Black Partners:

The law firm made a jaw-dropping number of partners this year—141 to be exact. But here's the flip side: Only three black lawyers appeared among that sea of faces.

Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink


I'd bet many of these partners are non-equity -- the equivalent of a vice president at a bank.

Posted by: Anon | Oct 9, 2019 3:21:13 PM

"nonequity"..."up or out"...How many are *partners*? Compare TIFD III-E.

Posted by: Anand Desai | Oct 9, 2019 3:57:58 PM

Now I may just be a simple country lawyer from Derp Law School and a non-Ivy League a-brain, but it seems to me that if a law firm's new partner class* is 25% of its entire nonequity partner pool, that law firm has an issue with nonequity partner attrition.

*I am presuming all or nearly all newly-minted partners are nonequity.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Oct 9, 2019 7:00:38 PM

It's sad that nobody can see anything except race and gender anymore

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Oct 10, 2019 1:56:57 AM

The word "partner" in law has lost all meaning. The vast majority of these "partners" have never had their own client, and been lead counsel on a case (or transaction) of significance. All they have proven are that they are useful to some equity partner, who delegates the tasks.

I think the new trend is to provide these people with the title "partner" to give them a chance of generating new business, which is virtually impossible with the title of "associate" or "counsel."

Posted by: JM | Oct 10, 2019 8:56:03 AM

Only three black lawyers appeared among that sea of faces.

About 4% of the working lawyers in this country are black. That ratio in re new partners is within the range of unremarkable firm-to-firm and cohort-to-cohort variation.

Posted by: Art Deco | Oct 10, 2019 11:42:53 AM