Kirkland & Ellis laid off more than 20 associates in New York on Wednesday, a source familiar with the situation confirmed. The cuts followed the firm's annual performance review period. A larger number than last year were let go this year, in part for economic reasons. Associates were also let go in Washington, D.C. The layoffs were first reported Wednesday night by The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog. The firm had roughly 335 lawyers in New York before the job cuts, according to the firm's Web site.
Kirkland & Ellis had been one of a handful of large law firms to avoid making layoffs. In New York, the firm has in recent months made a series of partner hires from other firms with the intention to grow its presence in the corporate and finance areas. In May, it hired M&A partners David Fox and Daniel Wolf from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. In July, Kirkland brought on finance partner Jay Ptashek from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.
In 2008, revenue at Kirkland & Ellis climbed 7 percent to $1.4 billion while profits per partner were flat at $2.47 million, according to The American Lawyer.