Kirkland & Ellis M&A partner Dilen Kumar has joined Katten Muchin Rosenman as a partner in Dallas, as the firm strives to expand its M&A and private equity team in Dallas because of high demand.

Kumar, who joined Katten on Tuesday, said Katten has a “well-deserved reputation” as a leader in private equity work, especially for middle-market deals, and he sees much opportunity to grow his M&A and private equity practice there.

Prior to joining Kirkland in 2018 in Dallas, as that firm moved into the Dallas market, Kumar was an associate at Winston & Strawn and before that at Weil, Gotshal & Manges. He served as an assistant counsel in the White House Counsel’s Office during the Obama administration.

Mark Solomon, managing partner of the 45-lawyer Dallas office, said Kumar is “first-class talent” bringing varied experience.

“We are actively looking to continue to grow the corporate and M&A practice. It is an extremely hot area for the firm. … We are lucky we found Dilen, to be honest,” Solomon said, adding that all transactional practices have been busy this year.

Kumar said he’s known Solomon and David Washburn, a co-chair of the firm’s M&A/private equity practice, for some time, and the opportunity came from those relationships. Solomon said they have been talking to Kumar for a while.

Washburn wrote in a press release that Kumar’s M&A skills and his experience across a variety of industries will boost the firm’s reputation in the dealmaking arena.

The new Katten partner declined to identify clients, but said he’s done deals in the technology, energy, retail, consumer goods, food and beverage, and general industries sectors.

Currently, Kumar is a co-chair of the Texas Minority Counsel Program, a State Bar of Texas affiliate that seeks to increase opportunities for diverse attorneys in Texas. At Kirkland, he served as a diversity and pro bono coordinator for the Dallas office and also on the firm’s pro bono management, and diversity and inclusion committees.

Solomon said Kumar’s commitment to diversity and inclusion efforts is one of the reasons he’s such a strong hire for Katten.

Kirkland provided this statement on Kumar’s departure: “We wish Dilen the best at his new firm.”