Kirkland & Ellis has let go of some of its associates across US offices following mid-year performance reviews that took place last week.
The Chicago-founded law firm, which brought in $6 billion in gross revenue in 2022, laid off an unknown number of associates, according to four sources familiar with the situation. The cuts came at Kirkland’s California, Texas, Chicago and Salt Lake City, Utah, offices, the sources said.
A spokesperson for Kirkland told Bloomberg Law that these cuts “were not layoffs.”
“These were performance-based decisions resulting directly from our attorney review process, just like we do every year for all attorneys at all levels,” the spokesperson said.
Big Law firms have trimmed their junior ranks as work slowed. The cuts come after a hiring craze for associate talent in 2021, which was driven by a boom in transactional work.
Cooley laid off 150 associates and staff across its US offices late last year. Goodwin Procter laid off associates, paralegals and other professional staff across its offices amid a slowdown in legal work in January. Kirkland had previously laid off associates last year following performance reviews.
The firm is known for its private equity work, advising clients like Blackstone Inc. and Bain Capital Credit LP.
Laid off Kirkland associates will receive full salary and benefits and stay on the firm’s website until July 31st, said a Kirkland associate who was included in the cuts.
“It’s been frustrating to see what looks like reckless overhiring,” the Kirkland associate said.
The decision to cut associate ranks comes as Kirkland is set to welcome new associates later this year. Roughly 425 first-year associates will start at the firm across its 11 US offices in the fall, the firm said.
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