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Last week Kirkland & Ellis announced that 97 lawyers had joined its salaried partnership, including 13 in London – the firm’s largest-ever City promotions round.

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Law Firms Mentioned

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  • Sidley Austin

/uploads/sites/378/2016/12/Kirkland-Ellis-Article-201612181559.jpg"><img class="alignleft size-full wp-image-58413" src="http://www.almcms.com/contrib

  • Sidley Austin

/uploads/sites/378/2016/12/Kirkland-Ellis-Article-201612181559.jpg" alt="" width="616" height="372" /></a> Last week Kirkland &amp; Ellis announced that��<a href="http://www.kirkland.com/sitecontent.cfm?contentID=230&amp;itemId=13062" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" data-mce-="">97 lawyers��had joined</a>��its salaried partnership, including 13 in London ��� the firms largest-ever��City promotions round. That salaried partnership tier is relatively welcoming ��� both compared��with other��top US law��firms,��and especially compared to Kirkland���s equity partnership. Consider this: Kirkland had 359 equity partners last year,��<a href="http://www.americanlawyer.com/id=1202783501019/Kirklands-Gross-Revenue-Partner-Profits-Hit-New-Highs" target="_blank" data-mce-="">according��to <em>The American Lawyer</em>���s reporting</a>. The firm currently lists about 975 total partners. The simple fact is that most��salaried partners ��� or ���non-share partners��� in Kirkland lingo ��� will not go on to reap the windfall that comes with an equity stake in the high-powered firm. But just how many non-equity partners don���t make the cut? And what happens to them? <a href="http://www.americanlawyer.com/id=1202770008488/Shearman-Gambles-on-Wall-Street-Rarity-Nonequity-Partners" target="_blank" data-mce-="">Past reporting by <em>The American Lawyer</em></a>��has described the Kirkland partnership as an ���up-or-out��� model, with roughly 20% of��salaried partners joining the equity tier after��<a href="http://www.americanlawyer.com/id=1202575852183" target="_blank" data-mce-="">they become eligible about four years</a>��into their��salaried partner tenure. But an analysis of past��salaried partner classes suggests that��<a href="http://www.americanlawyer.com/id=1202774960269/Top-Partners-at-Kirkland-amp-Ellis-See-Cuts-to-Equity-Shares" target="_blank" data-mce-="">Kirkland���s so-called sharp elbows</a>��may not be all that pointed. <em>The American Lawyer</em> researched the current jobs of the 315 lawyers that Kirkland announced as incoming partners��between��2010 and 2013. Of the 316 partners promoted during that four-year period, 43% remain at the firm. The analysis found that 43% of the��<a href="http://www.kirkland.com/sitecontent.cfm?contentID=230&amp;itemId=9465" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" data-mce-="">70��salaried partners made up in 2010</a>��are still at Kirkland. The 2011 class,��<a href="http://www.kirkland.com/sitecontent.cfm?contentID=230&amp;itemId=9946" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" data-mce-="">which featured 82 lawyers</a>, has winnowed to 29, or 35%. Half of the��<a href="http://www.kirkland.com/sitecontent.cfm?contentID=230&amp;itemId=10404" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" data-mce-="">84 partners made up in 2012</a>��are still at the firm. And 44% of the��<a href="http://www.kirkland.com/sitecontent.cfm?contentID=230&amp;itemId=10878" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" data-mce-="">2013 class</a>��remains at Kirkland. <a href="http://www.almcms.com/contrib

  • Sidley Austin

/uploads/sites/378/2017/10/Where-partners-have-gone-Article-201710112058.jpg"><img class="alignleft size-full wp-image-68276" src="http://www.almcms.com/contrib

  • Sidley Austin

/uploads/sites/378/2017/10/Where-partners-have-gone-Article-201710112058.jpg" alt="" width="620" height="372" /></a> While more lawyers enter Kirkland���s��salaried partnership every year than almost any other firm, the position at Kirkland is less of a long-term play than at other firms. Jones Day���s partnership is comparable only insofar as it promotes a relatively high number of lawyers every year. In 2012,��<a href="http://www.jonesday.com/jones-day-names-45-new-partners-12-13-2012/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" data-mce-="">the firm promoted 45 lawyers</a>��to what it��states is a ���<a href="http://www.americanlawyer.com/id=1202779428361/A-Quiet-Law-Firm-With-a-Famous-Client" target="_blank" data-mce-="">one-tier��� partnership</a>. Today, 73% remain at the firm. The most common landing ground for Kirkland���s income partners is at other Am Law 200 firms. Across the four Kirkland income partner classes analysed by <em>The American Lawyer</em>, roughly a quarter of those lawyers are��now practising at other firms, according to those firms��� websites, state bar registrations and individual profiles on professional networking website LinkedIn. Two of the most common firms for Kirkland refugees are King &amp; Spalding and Sidley Austin. After other jobs in Big Law, the second most common role after a Kirkland��salaried��partnership is an in-house position. That is where about 21%��of former Kirkland lawyers end up. These are often high-ranking positions, with 13 partners from just four years worth of��salaried partner promotions now occupying chief legal officer or general counsel roles. The list of companies that now employ Kirkland partners as in-house��lawyers includes Amazon,��Boeing, Hulu, Intel, Johnson &amp; Johnson, Kate Spade &amp; Co, Koch Industries, McDonald���s, Sony, Target, and more than a dozen others. Government jobs ��� ranging from��assistant US attorneys��to administrative judges at the US Patent and Trademark Office ��� are the third most common, with less than 10% of lawyers taking a government paycheck. A sprinkling of lawyers start their own firms, become entrepreneurs in business or go into academia. There are also significant gender disparities in the jobs data. The gaps show up mostly in three places. First, men are more likely to be promoted to��salaried partner than women, with 69% of the 316 partners promoted at Kirkland over the four-year span being men. That is roughly in line with the percentage of non-equity partners that are women ��� about 30% ��� according to the��<a href="http://www.nawl.org/page/2017" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" data-mce-="">latest survey by the National Association for Women Lawyers</a>. (The highest percentage of women promoted to��salaried partner in a single year of those analysed at Kirkland was 2011, when 38% of new partners were women.) Second, men are also more likely to stay at Kirkland than women. Of the 99 women promoted to��salaried partner in the four-year period analysed by <em>The American Lawyer</em>, 31% are still at the firm. Of the 217 men promoted in that same timeframe, 47% remain at Kirkland. Thirdly, women are more likely to work in-house than men after leaving Kirkland. About 30% of the women who have been promoted to partner at the firm are now working in-house, compared to about 18% of men. In recent years,��<a href="http://biglawbusiness.com/kirkland-ellis-the-feel-good-law-firm/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" data-mce-="">Kirkland has invested in programmes</a>��that help lawyers at the firm find their next job, while also trying to strengthen bonds between the firm and its impressive list of alumni. For instance, Kirkland launched a training programme aimed at teaching its associates and alumni about in-house career paths. Thirty participants attended seminars from December to March of this year that included panel discussions with current in-house lawyers. Kirkland said the goal of the programme is to prepare lawyers for future transitions to in-house roles and to support women who used to work at the firm in their effort to return to practising��of law. Kirkland did not immediately return a request for comment about the data. In the past, the firm���s management has��<a href="http://www.americanlawyer.com/id=1202666907615/At-Kirkland-Another-Hire-Amid-Steady-Stream-of-Departures?mcode=0&amp;curindex=0&amp;curpage=ALL" target="_blank" data-mce-="">attributed the turnover in its partnership</a>��as a necessary byproduct of��<a href="http://www.americanlawyer.com/id=1202596737781" target="_blank" data-mce-="">turning itself into a global legal giant</a>. According to the��<a href="http://www.americanlawyer.com/id=1202784597030/The-2017-Am-Law-100" target="_blank" data-mce-="">most recent Am Law 100 rankings</a>, Kirkland trailed only Latham &amp; Watkins as the world���s most profitable firm when measured by gross revenue. Kirkland came in at fifth place��when measured by profits per equity partner. <

  • Sidley Austin


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