During a year when other firms struggled, in 2022, Kirkland & Ellis increased its gross revenue by 7.8% to just over $6.5 billion. It certainly looks like the firm will continue its reign as the most successful firm in not just America, but the world in the forthcoming Am Law 100 and Global 200 rankings.
At the same time Kirkland’s revenue was climbing, so was its head count. The American Lawyer has the details:
Kirkland is growing fast in head count, even after 11% growth in 2021. Kirkland’s lawyer count rose about 12.9% in 2022 to 3,415 full-time equivalent lawyers. Its associate head count rose even faster, about 14.5% to 2,029 last year.
On top of all of this, the firm is set to welcome about 425 first-year associates in the fall.
Kirkland definitely has a lot of lawyers to congratulate on yet another financial year for the record books. But maybe associates shouldn’t have started celebrating so soon. As we recently reported, some of them just lost their jobs thanks to “performance-based” cuts, otherwise known as stealth layoffs. This was the firm’s second round of — in the words of a K&E spokesperson — “not layoffs” in the last six months.
“It’s been frustrating to see what looks like reckless overhiring,” a Kirkland associate who’d just been let go told Bloomberg Law. Is Kirkland guilty of the same overhiring that’s plagued other firms that have conducted layoffs to right-size their firms this year?
Whatever the case may be, announcing personnel cuts across numerous offices at the same time as the firm’s record financials are being trumpeted across legal media is just not a good look.
If your firm or organization is reducing the ranks of its lawyers or staff, whether through open layoffs, stealth layoffs, or voluntary buyouts, please don’t hesitate to let us know. Our vast network of tipsters is part of what makes Above the Law thrive. You can email us or text us (646-820-8477).
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Kirkland, Building on $6B in Revenue, Grew Almost 8% in Down Market [American Lawyer]
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.
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