Photo: Diego Radzinschi/ALM

Kirkland & Ellis, the world’s largest law firm when measured by gross revenue, has continued its lateral hiring spree into the waning months of the year.

Sophia Hudson, named a rising star last year by the New York Law Journal, left the partnership at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York last month and is poised to join Kirkland in November.

“Sophia is a talented lawyer and we are delighted to welcome her to Kirkland and look forward to integrating her into our New York and global capital markets team,” said a statement from a Kirkland spokeswoman.

Hudson’s move to the firm, first noted by The Lawyer in the U.K., comes a little more than four years after she made partner at Davis Polk, where she spent almost a dozen years in the firm’s capital markets group. The NYLJ reported a year ago this month that Hudson specializes in advising health care and investment banking clients.

Sophia Hudson

At Davis Polk, Hudson served on the firm’s recruiting committee and had a key role on its training committee, positions that saw her spearhead a pilot executive coaching program for senior associates, according to the NYLJ. She did not immediately return a request for comment about her decision to join Kirkland.

Meanwhile, on the West Coast, Kirkland recently hired Simpson Thacher & Bartlett associate Michael Reeves as a partner for its corporate practice in Los Angeles. Reeves joined Simpson Thacher as an associate in 2008 and left in late 2014 to spend a little more than a year at Red Mountain Capital Partners LLC as principal and general counsel. He turned to Simpson Thacher as an associate in early 2016.

Kirkland, which just named its largest-ever class of new partners, has been on a hiring tear in 2018. The firm made waves by recruiting former Cravath, Swaine & Moore litigation head Sandra Goldstein in April—a move that reportedly netted her more than $11 million per year—and it has also added other high-profile partners from Choate, Hall & Stewart; Debevoise & Plimpton; DLA Piper; Jenner & Block; Latham & Watkins; Norton Rose Fulbright; Proskauer Rose; and Weil, Gotshal & Manges.

In early September, Kirkland secured the services of former Weil counsel Kevin Crews as a corporate partner in Dallas. Weil had sought to hold Crews to a six-month notice period as his new firm prepared to set up shop in Dallas. Last month Kirkland also brought back former associate Robert Allen as a partner in New York, where he spent the past four years as a federal prosecutor.

Other recent additions to Kirkland’s partnership ranks include health care transactional expert Chad Ehrenkranz in New York. Ehrenkranz joined the firm from DLA Piper in Miami, where he made partner in January. Kirkland also hired former Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer senior associate Leon Daoud as a partner for its funds practice in London, while welcoming aboard Steptoe & Johnson international trade and national security of counsel Anthony Rapa as a partner in Washington, D.C. The nation’s capital was where Kirkland brought on two lawyers from Morrison & Foerster this past summer in financial regulatory and compliance expert Robert Fleishman and international trade and natural security of counsel Ali Zaidi.

Kirkland also hired former Cravath associate Rachel Fritzler as a partner for its New York litigation group in July, around the same time that it picked up ex-Davis Polk associate Abhishek Kolay as a private equity partner in the city and added former Skadden counsel Karen Lee as a tax partner in Palo Alto, California. David D’Souza, a senior associate at Clifford Chance in London, joined Kirkland’s corporate practice as a partner in July.

Kirkland’s strategy of hiring associates from rivals and promoting them to partner—the firm is known for its large nonequity tier—has also been evident in Hong Kong, where it recruited ex-Shearman & Sterling associate Wanda Woo in June as a partner for its corporate group.

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