Kirkland & Ellis has kicked off its hiring in Austin, Texas, luring John Kaercher, a former co-chair of Baker Botts’ private equity group.
Kaercher advises on domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, special purpose acquisition companies, and securities offerings. He often works for clients in the technology, media, telecommunications, and energy sectors.
“John has built a name for himself in the energy and technology M&A space,” Andrew Calder, a corporate partner and a member of Kirkland’s executive committee, said in a statement. “We are excited for him to join the team in Austin.”
Austin is Kirkland’s third Texas location launched since 2014, when the Chicago-founded firm known for its private equity, M&A, and bankruptcy practices opened in Houston. The firm now has nearly 300 lawyers in Texas, many of whom were hired from traditional Texas powerhouse firms that have lost some luster as competition in the Lone Star State has grown fierce.
Kirkland’s Texas offering has focused on deal work for private equity and energy companies, and it has represented more large-scale bankruptcies in the oil and gas industry than any other firm. The firm’s Austin office started with about 20 lawyers, most of whom relocated from other cities.
Those booming practices last year helped Kirkland, already the world’s largest firm by revenue, boost its top line by 16% to $4.8 billion. Its equity partners earned more than $6.1 million on average, up nearly 20% from 2019, according to AmLaw data.
The firm views Austin as a growing, vibrant city that is a compelling attraction for Kirkland lawyers interested in relocating, Calder, who built Kirkland’s Houston office after arriving from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, told Bloomberg Law last month. The firm will look to hire lawyers from competitor firms in the city, he said.
Austin’s largest law offices by headcount belong to longstanding Texas firms including Jackson Walker, Baker Botts, and Norton Rose Fulbright. Other large firms with offices in the city include DLA Piper, King & Spalding, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Shearman & Sterling, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
Baker Botts did not immediately provide comment on Kaercher’s departure.