The Am Law 100, the Early Numbers: Kirkland Tops $2 Billion in Revenue for First Time

The Am Law 100, the Early Numbers: Kirkland Tops  $2 Billion in Revenue for First Time

Kirkland & Ellis passed the $2 billion revenue mark for the first time last year, while profits per partner rose just 1 percent, according to The American Lawyer’s reporting. The firm recorded $2.016 billion in revenue, 4 percent more than it took in in 2012. Profits per partner, meanwhile, edged up 1 percent, to $3.278 million, and revenue per lawyer rose 2 percent, to $1.297 million. The firm declined to comment on these figures.

The firm’s head count grew 2 percent, to 1,554 lawyers, and its equity partner ranks rose 3 percent, to 334. Kirkland has 395 nonequity partners, who earn $465,000 on average.

Kirkland recorded more substantial gains in 2012, when the firm’s gross revenue jumped 11 percent and its profits per partner rose 6.5 percent.

Kirkland continued its strategy of aggressively recruiting lateral partners. The firm made its splashiest hires in July when it added Robert Khuzami, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s former enforcement director, and one of his deputies, Kenneth Lench. (The New York Times’ DealBook reported that the firm had guaranteed Khuzami compensation of $5 million a year for two years.) In November, the firm picked up Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett corporate partner Sean Rogers.

On the corporate deal front, Kirkland represented Brazilian-backed investment firm 3G Capital in connection with its joint acquisition, with Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, of H.J. Heinz Company for $28 billion acquisition. The firm also represented Charter Communications in its unsuccessful $61 billion bid for Time Warner Cable (along with Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz).

Kirkland’s strong private equity group represented Bain Capital and Golden Gate Capital in a $6.9 billion purchase of BMC Software, and advised Apax Partners in its $4.4 billion sale of insurance brokerage Hub International Limited to Hellman & Friedman funds. (Apax is a part owner of ALM Media, The Am Law Daily’s parent and publisher.)

Kirkland’s restructuring practice also had a good year, advising Cengage Learning in its $7.5 billion bankruptcy, and Ally Financial Inc. in the bankruptcy proceedings of its mortgage servicer subsidiary Residential Capital LLC. In out-of-court restructurings, it helped Energy Future Holdings Corp. renegotiate more than $40 billion in debt.

The firm is still handling litigation for BP plc related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. In another major matter, it represents the Tronox Litigation Trust in a multi-billion-dollar lawsuit stemming from Kerr-McGee’s spinoff of Tronox in 2005.

This report is part of The Am Law Daily’s early coverage of 2013 financial results of The Am Law 100/200. Final rankings and full results for The Am Law 100 will be published in The American Lawyer’s May 2014 issue and on The Am Law Second Hundred will be published in the June issue.