you started your career at Kirkland & Ellis?
07 An international reputation
09 Meet Jack Davies
What if YOU WANT A CAREER IN LAW?
11 An incredible location
12 Meet Rajinder Bassi
14 High-profile clients
17 Steer your own career
18 Meet Amelia Doughty
21 A friendly environment
22 Multiple practice areas
24 An inspirational culture
26 Our contribution to society
Choosing which firm to start your legal career with is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make.
At Kirkland & Ellis we combine the closeness of a small London team giving you direct access to senior partners, with the excitement of being part of a global firm, employing 1,900 lawyers in 13 offices around the world.
It’s the best of both worlds, ensuring you have both the support and space you need to grow.
28 Meet Sam Sherwood
30 People that fit
32 How to apply
Graduate Recruitment Partners Sarah Jordan & David Arnold
“Trainees at Kirkland & Ellis seize the opportunity to take ownership of every task and make things happen for their clients and team. We reward them with real responsibility.”
At Kirkland & Ellis, we work on the biggest and most complex global private equity transactions. These are dynamic, challenging and high-profile deals that stretch your intellect and require you to be a business advisor as well as a lawyer. You will meet extremely talented clients from the most successful businesses and financial sponsors on transactions across a diverse range of industry sectors. Each year we recruit ten trainees and you will be joining a team of over 200 lawyers based in London’s iconic Gherkin building. We look for people who have a genuine interest in private equity and transactional legal work as well as individuals who are self-motivated, driven and ambitious. We have a track record of promoting our associates to partner after six years; our aim is to provide all our lawyers with an accelerated career path, the best technical and deal experience, and client development opportunities. On top of the essential academic qualifications, we’re interested in individuals who can demonstrate initiative and who have the confidence and ambition to thrive in an environment that places no limits on how successful you can be.
At Kirkland, we have close-knit deal teams of partners and associates. As such, all our lawyers get the opportunity to work across every aspect of a transaction, right from day one. This will give you full exposure to how deals come together and a greater appreciation of the importance of the tasks that you will be involved in. With an understanding of the big picture, you will quickly become an integral part of the team, putting forward ideas and finding solutions to complex legal and deal issues. Kirkland is a place where individual thinking is encouraged and where the view of each lawyer is respected. Everyone gets fully involved and takes ownership of their work to achieve the best result for the client. But don’t take our word for it…read on to learn more about the experiences of one of our trainees and two of our associates, and apply for our Vacation Scheme to experience it for yourself. We look forward to meeting you. Join a firm that is highly successful, entrepreneurial, energetic and fun.
“There’s almost no trainee role. You just dig in and do it.”
“We operate small teams which means everyone has a role and our trainees gain exposure to everything that goes on.”
What if YOU WANT TO BE PART OF THE TEAM From day one?
“You learn here by doing and as a trainee you have to show you want to be involved.” “You’re given problems to solve which makes you feel part of the team immediately.”
We believe in giving our trainees ready access to associates and partners because it means you hear about the work going on and the role you can play.
“This kind of training is challenging in some ways but there is always support there.”
Within a month you’ll be heavily involved with real deals and cases, not just listen and learn but relied upon to make a valuable contribution to the team.
“We have international work in the London office as well as working with our colleagues overseas on international projects.”
“You learn different ways of working
Graduate Recruitment Partner
when you’re involved in deals for international clients.”
What if YOU WANT TO WORK FOR A FIRM WITH A STRONG INTERNATIONAL REPUTATION?
“We’re not just an English law practice. At least half of the work we do in London is international, involving the US, Europe and Asia.”
“You have the opportunity to apply to complete a placement overseas. It’s a good way of going outside of your comfort zone and building up relationships with other offices.”
Kirkland & Ellis is a recognised major force on the global stage, practising English, US and international law. Our global footprint of offices and international outlook means we’re trusted by many of today’s biggest global brands. The organisations we work with in London and the size of the transactions means we handle frequent matters across multiple jurisdictions. We have a reputation for managing our clients’ international objectives very effectively.
“I’ve worked on a deal that involved 11 jurisdictions.”
Trainee JACK DAVIES Graduate in Law with German Law, University College London
“I went from maths and science ‘A’ levels to a degree in law and German law, then worked at an investment bank. That role was too compartmentalised for me, whereas being a trainee at Kirkland & Ellis is giving me a broad exposure to business and the law.”
I researched a lot of the US firms when I was applying for Training Contracts, knowing I wanted to be part of a small group of trainees compared to the big intakes of magic circle firms. I was looking for the opportunity to carve out a role with a firm offering bespoke, on the job training, rather than formulaic university style teaching. I was immediately interested in Kirkland & Ellis based on the reading I did but applied to the Vacation Scheme to make sure what they said was true. It was the best Vacation Scheme I took part in because I found out what it’s like to be a lawyer and what I’d be doing each day as a trainee. Also, everyone helps you to get to know the culture of the firm, so you can decide whether you’ll fit in.
within weeks I was working on increasingly complex matters. Each week after that I was doing more, leading calls, working with partners, getting exposure to clients – essentially learning on the job. Associates and partners help you to keep progressing, tell you when you’re doing quality work and give you the support when you need it. Private equity work means you experience a broad range of industries and that keeps it really interesting. The calibre of clients also keeps you on your toes. You become commercially aware, learn not to overthink the basic tasks and distil things down to the important points, vital when you’re working with people who are really busy. You’re encouraged to ask questions and you have access to everyone. The door is genuinely always open but more than that, the culture is non-hierarchical and inclusive.
On day one of the Training Contract I was involved in basic legal tasks and
“When you take friends up to the bar it makes you remember how cool it is!”
“There’s a different energy to transaction work, with different timelines.”
“When you apply, make sure you understand what we do and educate yourself.”
What if YOU WANT TO WORK IN ONE OF LONDON’S MOST ICONIC BUILDINGS?
“Our high-profile location in the Gherkin corresponds to the high-profile work we’re involved in.”
Look out of the windows at Kirkland & Ellis and you’ll see the City where the big deals and transactions we’re involved in are taking place.
Go up to the top floor and you’ll really feel the buzz of working in the Gherkin. It’s one of the most admired buildings in the world for its prime location and truly distinctive shape.
Of course, it’s easy to forget what an incredible building it is when you’re busy working. But when your clients, friends and family pay a visit you’ll remember once again. We love being here. Right at the heart of things.
Training Principal RAJINDER Bassi
“Our small trainee intake each year gives us the freedom to run a less rigid training programme than most big firms. Trainees spend the majority of their time working on real deals and cases gaining exposure to partners who are working at the top of their game.”
During the first weeks at Kirkland & Ellis, all trainees participate in an induction process that introduces them to every department we have. Our aim is to ease you into working life and integrate you into the firm. Everyone will be aware of your arrival and will be looking forward to meeting you. You’re seen as a valuable new resource for partners and associates to draw on – something you need to live up to. Over the next four months there are lunchtime seminars for you to participate in, which cover different aspects of each practice area. These are delivered by partners and are the more formalised part of our training programme. They give you valuable grounding in the practice areas you can choose from for your seat rotations. Your ability to choose in which direction you take your career is another fundamental part of our approach at Kirkland & Ellis. We strongly believe that trainees who have the freedom to express and act on their interest areas will have greater commitment to their work and achieve more. This isn’t a firm for trainees wanting a career path mapped out for them. You have to carve your own. The opportunities to play to your interests are enormous and the self-starters we’re looking for will always be talking to associates and partners about the projects
going on and the work they can get involved in. Your supervisor in each seat will help you control your workload so you can deliver on all of the responsibilities you’re eager to fulfil. A desire for responsibility is one of the common threads amongst Kirkland & Ellis trainees. We’re a firm that’s happy to give it to you based on your proven ability to deliver. With our mid and end of seat reviews we give you feedback on your development and the opportunity to develop and mould your capabilities and approach in response. Feedback is a two-way street, however. An important cultural aspect of our firm is the dialogue we encourage. Doors are always open to trainees who have ideas and initiatives they want to put forward and our non-hierarchical and meritocratic approach means great ideas will be responded to far quicker than they would be elsewhere. Our responsiveness is a key feature of our entrepreneurial culture. We’re a firm that doesn’t stand still, always finding new and better ways to do things for the success of our clients, our firm and our people. So if you want opportunities in abundance, have the confidence and drive to act on them yourself, and have the personal skills you need to build a network and become part of the team, Kirkland & Ellis is a place you will flourish without question.
“You have direct client contact early on and they’re fine with that. With the whole team involved, the client knows they’re getting a quality product.”
“Our clients are often young, very dynamic and innovative. They look to us for solutions to get their transactions done.”
What if YOU WANT TO WORK WITH HIGH-PROFILE CLIENTS FROM THE START?
One of the exciting things about the work we do at Kirkland & Ellis is advising clients from well-known companies – businesses we see around us every day. Everything from retail companies to healthcare, real estate to hospitality. It’s not unusual for the deals we’re involved in to be covered in the business pages and sometimes the headline news. It gives all of us a lot of satisfaction – no matter how long we’ve been in the business – to know we’re operating at that level and at the top of our game.
“With the clients we have you need to be commercial, intellectual and entrepreneurial.”
“You’re quickly working with your peers in client companies in investment banks and private equity companies.”
“You shouldn’t come to Kirkland & Ellis for the sake of being a lawyer. You should want to be part of the business and commercial world.”
“You have real input into the structure of your Training Contract.”
What if YOU WANT TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN CAREER?
“They really allow you to have input into the structure of your Training Contract.”
Training programmes at many other law firms are far more rigid and formalised than they are at Kirkland & Ellis because of the number of trainees they have in their intake.
With our smaller intake of ten trainees each year you can express your personal interest areas and we’ll do our very best to accommodate them.
“If you take the initiative people will help you get involved and explain things.”
You can get involved in private equity work, leveraged financings, financial restructurings, taxation arrangements on domestic and international transactions, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory and fund formation matters, and competition issues, as well as litigation and arbitration cases. There is a lot to choose from!
“Your broad ranging induction in the first two weeks will show you the full scope of work we’re involved in. From that point onwards you can discover and choose where you want to focus most.”
Associate, Corporate Amelia Doughty Graduate in Economics, Exeter University
“I didn’t expect to go on secondment so early on in my career but the opportunity arose to be part of the legal team at a private equity client. I’ve gained invaluable experience of how clients operate and make decisions.”
When I qualified I asked to join the corporate team because I enjoyed transactional work and wanted to be involved in a prestigious market-leading team. The work we do is challenging, high-profile and involves talented clients from businesses in all sectors. It also stretches your intellect and drives you to be the best lawyer you can be. It really suits people who are motivated by being more than just a lawyer. The culture at Kirkland & Ellis is definitely entrepreneurial and this manifests itself in lots of ways. You’re very autonomous straightaway, given a lot of responsibility and expected to take ownership of your work. But there are always other associates and partners around to support you. Everyone is incredibly bright and it is inspiring to be surrounded by such self-motivated and ambitious people. During my secondment with a private equity client I’ve worked across a wide range of deals in multiple jurisdictions and gained huge insights into the commercial side of deals. It’s been interesting experiencing
the work of other firms and lawyers from the client’s point of view and learning what their priorities are. It’s also been an opportunity to grow my personal, professional network. Almost all of the transactions I’ve worked on since qualification have been multi- jurisdictional, including a deal acting for Turkey’s largest private equity fund who were selling a Turkish asset to a Korean buyer, and a Swiss fund acquiring an African asset from a seller in Dubai. I got to travel to Istanbul and Dubai in my first few months of being qualified and gained exposure to a lot of high-quality work as a result. I also spent six months in our Hong Kong office as a trainee which was another great, international experience. On qualification, it’s definitely important to choose a practice that genuinely interests you. The firm’s clients need us to be responsive at all hours when deals are busy so you need to enjoy what you do. If you’ve demonstrated your commitment and interest to a particular practice group, the firm will always try and accommodate your qualification choice.
“Being in control of my own work gives me a great sense of ownership and makes me want to do it well.”
“Everyone was really welcoming and keen to help.”
What if YOU WANT
“It’s always fine to ask questions. We encourage it.”
“I play a lot of sport and I’m able to train before work.”
A FIRM WHERE PEOPLE REALLY MATTER?
“We place a lot of trust in our trainees to understand and manage their own work, which for the kind of people we hire is very motivating.”
Pursuing a career in law and working for Kirkland & Ellis is challenging but everyone here is behind your success, whether that’s your supervisor on each seat, associates you collaborate with, or partners who share their knowledge and expertise. Our open culture gives you access to everyone and through regular progress meetings you can share any concerns as well as discuss your ambitions. We also give you the freedom to manage your own time, so you can deliver what’s been asked of you and fulfil your interests and commitments outside of work.
practice areas Following your two-week induction, which includes the Professional Skills Course (PSC), you will have four six-month placements. Corporate and debt finance are our largest practice groups so it’s compulsory to do a seat in both of those teams. Other seats available are: INVESTMENT FUNDS Restructuring INTERNATIONAL Arbitration AND Litigation Anti-trust and Competition FINANCIAL SERVICES Regulatory TAX Real estate finance The seminar programme we run for the first four months of your Training Contract covers primary practice areas in detail, building on the skills you learned on the Legal Practice Course, while also introducing new topics. There are also opportunities for soft skills training, as well as the chance of a placement overseas for those interested in experiencing Kirkland & Ellis in New York or Hong Kong and the possibility of client secondments.
Your training and development does not stop after your Training Contract. We continue to invest in your professional development through regular lunchtime seminars and workshops. Many of these are tailored specifically to the work of the London office, such as corporate and finance update sessions. In addition, you will follow certain sessions from the Kirkland Institute, our firm-wide training programme, including topics like:
What if YOU WANT SUPERIOR TRAINING ACROSS
Execution of documents Navigating an SPA Board decisions and directors’ duties
MULTIPLE PRACTICE AREAS?
Finance for deal lawyers Financial promotion issues Dealing with listed companies At Kirkland & Ellis your career is our business, so we are focused on helping you become the best lawyer you can be.
Rewards & benefits First year trainees receive a starting salary of £50,000 and this rises to £55,000 in the second year. We partner with the University of Law for your GDL and LPC. We pay all your fees and provide an £8,000 maintenance grant for each course.
Start your training on our Vacation Scheme.
On top of that we also offer: Private medical insurance travel insurance Private life insurance Pension scheme Employee assistance plan Dental plan Access to a private medical clinic
FREE BREAKFASTS Discounted gym membership
Before joining our firm as a trainee, you can get to know us on our two-week Vacation Scheme. It’s designed to give you valuable hands-on experience across a range of practice areas, as well as crucial insights into how our London team operates. We offer around 30 vacation placements each year, throughout spring and summer, and on top of training participants enjoy a busy social calendar, as well as £500 per week expenses. Most importantly you come away with a crucial network of contacts.
Cycle to work scheme CHILDCARE VOUCHERS EMERGENCY CHILDCARE SUBSIDISED LUNCH
“There’s a real openness about the firm which makes it easy to be yourself.”
“Our commitment to diversity is reflected not only in the Firm’s policies, programs and committees, but also through our efforts to build and maintain a culture that values and gathers strength from difference.”
What if YOU WANT a working culture that inspires you?
DIVERSITY Kirkland & Ellis’s commitment to diversity has made the firm more vital, more competitive, and better able to serve a broad and varied client base in complex matters. Diversity at Kirkland & Ellis transcends race, gender identity, gender, age, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Our attorneys boast rich and varied backgrounds, knowledge and skills, and we value and encourage diversity with respect to each individual’s work style, career path and experiences. We work closely with diversity organisations such as Aspiring Solicitors and SEO and many of our current trainees come through this route.
Our trainees feel the benefit of this culture from the moment their Training Contract begins, through an induction programme that eases them in to their new working environment, with a focus on integration and making sure names and faces are quickly known amongst the whole London team. All of our partners operate an open door policy, ensuring any questions about cases or deals or an individual’s role and development are dealt with in an unhindered way. The atmosphere this helps to create encourages all of our associates and trainees to collaborate, share knowledge and inspire each other too. The result for our clients is a team of highly motivated and informed lawyers working on their projects, with everyone making the most of each other’s knowledge and experience to get the best result. This shared commitment to a high standard of working stretches everyone to perform to their greatest abilities and become the best lawyer they can be. Our lawyers have to work hard but in the supportive and collaborative environment we nurture, the results we deliver are significant and the sense of achievement equally so.
Everything we’re proud of at Kirkland & Ellis stems from our open, dynamic, friendly, inclusive and professional culture that we’re committed to maintaining.
“At Kirkland & Ellis we are committed to advancing the local and global communities in which we live and work. To fulfil that mission we dedicate substantial energy, talent and resources to an array of meaningful causes and initiatives that reflect our values and vision.”
“Using our legal skills to better lives, communities and our profession.”
Graduate Recruitment Partner
What if YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A FIRM THAT TAKES ITS ROLE
IN SOCIETY SERIOUSLY?
Over the last year, lawyers from Kirkland & Ellis London have provided pro bono services to a diverse range of organisations and benefitted enormously from the experience of clients and challenges outside of their usual legal work. More importantly they really made a difference to the people they worked for. Pro bono hours are billable hours for associates and our firm aims for each associate to spend 20 hours per year on pro bono work. Pro bono opportunities are available to attorneys at all levels, including Vacation Scheme students and trainees. London partners recently helped Inclusion Ghana, a non-governmental organisation that works to reduce stigmatization and ensure inclusion for all people with intellectual disabilities. This was an international pro bono legal research project that examined the challenges that intellectually disabled individuals faced when trying to vote in the country’s latest national election. As well as this matter, 350+ Kirkland attorneys devoted 5,700+ hours to voting rights work in 2016.
Technology & IP Transactional attorneys in the London office are assisting Frontline with their IP matters. Frontline is a UK charity that works to transform the lives of vulnerable children by recruiting and developing individuals to be leaders in social work and broader society. support, pro bono assistance and funding to a wide range of charities. Kirkland & Ellis started to work with them in 2007 and since then has donated £770,000 and hundreds of pro bono hours to their initiatives. Charitable donations In 2016, partners in Kirkland’s London office and the Kirkland & Ellis Foundation committed more than £750,000 to charitable organisations including: Chance UK, Hackney Quest, Spitalfields Crypt Trust, Blue Sky, Robes Project, 999 Club, Hillside Clubhouse and The Honeypot Children’s Charity. Impetus-Private Equity Foundation, (Impetus-PEF) provides management
In 2016, lawyers across Kirkland & Ellis worldwide devoted 116,315 hours to organisations and individuals on pro bono matters. Our commitment as a firm to providing legal services without charge to those who cannot afford legal counsel is based on our goals of helping to improve clients’ lives, bettering communities and deepening the professional experience of our team.
Associate, Finance Sam Sherwood Graduate in Law, Nottingham University
“I joined Kirkland & Ellis having trained at another law firm. I was attracted by the big deals and the truly international nature of the work.”
I know from conversations with my peers in other law firms that you can get far more responsibility as a junior qualified lawyer at Kirkland & Ellis than you do elsewhere. You can really forge your own career but also get all the necessary support when you need it. This firm operates an accelerated track to partnership. They help you learn as quickly as possible by giving you lots of exposure to different clients and deals. In my first year I had the opportunity to spend two months in our Hong Kong office. I was working on a deal with a client in Australia and it made sense to be in a closer time zone. It was fantastic getting to know my colleagues in Hong Kong. If you put the hard work in you can become a partner after six years.
I was working on incredible deals from day one and had a real sense I was part of a firm working at the top of the market. That’s very motivating and makes you even more passionate about your work. Whether you want to train here or, if like me you join from another firm, you have to be genuinely interested in private equity and have an understanding of what it involves. Enthusiasm is essential, as is self-motivation. You’re treated like an adult, with the responsibility that goes with it, so you have to be driven. Moving to Kirkland & Ellis has been the best career choice I could have made.
“Take the time to have a proper dig around to learn more about what we do.”
“Graduates need to show us why they’re right for this firm.”
Graduate Recruitment Partner
What if ALL THIS IS POSSIBLE?
“We want inquisitive people who are always asking, is this the best way of doing things.”
“We’re a young, modern firm looking for self-starters who’ve figured out through their research that they like the kind of work we do.”
When we interview we look for graduates who’ve got to know our business and understand the kind of work we do. Then we look for their excitement about doing it. There are common traits among the people we hire. Intelligence, focus, a commercial outlook. They’re independent and capable of managing themselves. But we also look for personalities that will fit with our open culture, mix well with our clients and engage fully with colleagues at all levels of the firm.
“Show that you’re capable of interacting with senior people at the top of their game.”
These are the people who will make partner at around six years pqe.
“We love finding the right people for our firm.”
The application timeline below applies to both law and non-law students who are currently studying at university and wish to apply for the Vacation Scheme and Training Contract at Kirkland & Ellis.
Graduate Recruitment Partner
penultimate-year law student
7 TH Jan 2018 deadline for summer vacation scheme JAN / FEB 2018 Assessment Days for Vacation Schemes Current FINAL-year non-law student
7 TH Jan 2018 deadline for summer Vacation Scheme JAN / FEB 2018 Assessment Days for Vacation Schemes
What if ALL OF THIS BEGINS WITH US?
APR / JUL 2018 ATTEND Vacation Schemes
APR / JUL 2018 ATTEND Vacation Schemes
15 TH JUL 2018 DEADLINE FOR Training Contract APPLICATIONS AUG 2018 INTERVIEWS FOR TRAINING CONTRACT Sept / OCT 2018 Commence final year at university Sept 2019 or JAN 2020 Commence LPC
15 TH JUL 2018 DEADLINE FOR Training Contract APPLICATIONS AUG 2018 INTERVIEWS FOR Training Contract
Sept 2018 Commence GDL
We’re recruiting ten trainees for 2020, with vacancies open to both law and non-law students and graduates.
Sept 2019 or JAN 2020 Commence LPC AUG 2020 COMMENCE Training Contract
Applications for our 2020 Training Contracts close on 15 th July 2018 and the interviews will take place in the summer that year. The deadline for applying for our spring & summer Vacation Schemes is 7 th January 2018.
AUG 2020 COMMENCE Training Contract
All applications should be made via our website ukgraduate.kirkland.com
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