As private equity firms grow, broaden the scope of their investments and encounter more litigation, a rising number of them are hiring general counsel.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., one of the biggest private equity firms in the world, and GTCR Golder Rauner LLC, one of the largest in Chicago, both are seeking first-time general counsel, according to people familiar with the executive searches. KKR and GTCR declined to comment.