A legal giant—both in size and reputation—Kirkland is the perfect firm for driven individuals who are ready to take control of their legal careers. Associates at the firm agree that with the firm’s robust training and the firm’s name on their resumes, their futures are bright.

Firm Stats


Total No. Attorneys (2022)

3K - 3.5K


No. of Partners Named (2021)



Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100


No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2022)



No. of Summer Associates (2022)

526 total (469 2Ls; 57 1Ls)


Base Salary

Base Salary (2022)

Vault Verdict

Kirkland & Ellis is a BigLaw behemoth in both size and reputation. At one of the top firms in the world, Kirkland attorneys represent the crème de la crème of clients and handle some of the most complex and sophisticated legal work to be found. Associates will tell you that a Kirkland pedigree will open almost any door in your career, such that it (almost) doesn’t matter that equity partnership remains elusive for most. While Kirkland associates are aware of the firm’s reputation for high expectations, associates heap Kirkland’s culture with praise; attorneys (and staff) socialize regularly, and associates feel incredibly supported by partners. The firm’s open assignment system means associates can seek out as much substantive work as they can handle, with the pa...

About the Firm

Kirkland & Ellis, one the world’s most elite law firms, is known for its corporate, intellectual property, litigation, M&A, private equity, and restructuring work. With more than 3,000 lawyers, the firm is regularly recognized as one of the most successful in the world.

Extra, Extra!

In 1909, fresh-faced attorneys Stuart Shepard and Robert McCormick struck up a partnership in Chicago. McCormick’s grandfather founded the Chicago Tribune, and McCormick left the firm in 1920 to become the paper’s publisher—a move that he used to send more business the firm’s way, tapping Kirkland trial lawyer Weymouth Kirkland to defend the Trib in defamation suits. Kirkland soon eclipsed the firm founders as the face of the outfit, carving a legacy defined by his defense of newspapers in ...

Associate Reviews


  • “No firm is a monolith as far as culture is concerned. I've surrounded myself with associates and partners that are pleasant to work and spend time with.”  
  • “Overall, Kirkland has a collegial and collaborative atmosphere where attorneys are encouraged to socialize and develop close relationships with one another. The days are busy, so sometimes it is difficult to step away, but it is clear the firm values and devotes resources to encouraging events where attorneys can meet and get to know one another across practice groups.”
  • “I feel like everyone at Kirkland is rowing in the same direction. From the staff to attorneys (of all levels), everyone is very intelligent, driven, competent, and very collegial at the same time. Everyone has a fundamental understanding of our collective goals and offers support where needed.”
  • “The lawyers at Kirkland are far more collegial and supportive than I ever imagined. I came to Kirkland fully aware of its reputation for ‘sharp-elbows,’ but this honestly hasn't been my experience. I've found that associates, whether they're in my group or other groups within the firm, are very helpful and supportive. I think the general consensus is that we are all here because we are passionate about what we do and that breeds a certain amount of camaraderie. …”

Why Work Here

Kirkland & Ellis is one of the world’s most elite law firms and is recognized for our exceptional service to clients in private equity, M&A and other complex corporate transactions, litigation and dispute resolution/arbitration, restructuring, and intellectual property matters. We believe in creative solutions fueled by teamwork and are dedicated to providing our clients with superior results. We invest in our talent and build dynamic teams that operate at the pinnacle of their practice. With lawyers coming from the world’s finest law schools, Kirkland is known as an industry leader in recruiting, retaining and advancing the brightest legal talent. Our reputation for excellence is recognized globally.

Diversity at Kirkland & Ellis

"At Kirkland, we believe our ability to function at the highest level of our profession is enhanced by building a team of lawyers who bring us the benefits of a broad range of socioeconomic, racial, ethnic and personal backgrounds. Our commitment to diversity is reflected not only in the Firm's policies, programs and committees, but also through our efforts to maintain a culture that values and gathers strength from difference. Kirkland's commitment to diversity and inclusion is ensured by our Firmwide Diversity Integration Task..."

Getting Hired Here

  • “The firm is looking for self-starters who have a genuine interest in building out their practices.”
  • “The most important thing we look for is hunger and eagerness to do the work. Having gone to a good school helps, but I think only as a proxy for the factors that help people thrive here, which are tenacity, resilience, desire to work hard, and, of course, intelligence.”
  • “There is a big emphasis on T-14 schools, but we are starting to interview more people from different schools.”
  • “Kirkland is looking for smart people who have a lot of drive to do good work and learn. I think [the firm] does care about the school you went to, but not to the exclusion of finding top talent elsewhere. In my group, they care a lot about us being one team, and so they are looking at how you’ll interact with others and whether you can build trust and rapport.”