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Wake Up Call: Kirkland Hits $4.8 Billion in 2020 Revenues

April 12, 2021, 12:45 PM

In today’s column, a Florida federal judge was killed in a hit-and-run accident in Boca Raton; Morrison & Foerster and Baker Botts matched the Davis Polk scale for special associate bonuses; Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz hired a key Trump defender to help Gaetz face a federal sex-trafficking probe.

  • Leading off, Kirkland & Ellis looks set to stay the biggest U.S. law firm in financial terms, with gross revenues that jumped to $4.83 billion in 2020, up 16.3% from 2019. American Lawyer’s report points to Kirkland’s big volume of restructuring matters during the pandemic, steady litigation work, combined with a comeback in M&A and private equity in the year’s second half. The Chicago-founded firm, which was among firms that made layoffs during the pandemic, had average profits per partner up 19.2% to about $6.2 million. It added 26 equity partners, a 5.8% gain, to 476. (American Lawyer)
  • Morrison & Foerster and Baker Botts are the latest firms to match the Davis Polk scale for special bonuses for associates, which runs up to $64,000 depending on year of seniority. As with several other firms matching the scale, the bonuses come in two installments and there are billable-hour requirements to get them. (Above the Law) (Texas Lawyer)
  • Federal Judge Sandra Feuerstein was struck and killed in Boca Raton, Florida, in a hit-and-run that also injured a six-year-old boy. (CNN)
  • Thompson & Knight, which is pondering a merger with Holland & Knight, recently lost two energy transactional partners to Akin & Gump in Dallas-Fort Worth. (
  • Perkins Coie said the pandemic has energized a shift in how it uses its space. The Seattle-based firm recently told employees they can continue working remotely until October but when they come back the office will be different. Changes include reducing its total office footprint by 24% in a shift to a model that mixes in-office and remote work. (American Lawyer)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz hired two Manhattan-based criminal defense attorneys, including Trump lawyer Marc L. Mukasey, to represent Gaetz as he faces a federal investigation related to alleged sex trafficking of a minor. Mukasey is a former Greenberg Traurig partner, federal prosecutor, and Rudy Giuliani friend who’s on the legal team representing former President Trump as Manhattan prosecutors probe the business dealings of Trump and his company. Gaetz also hired white collar defense lawyer Isabelle Kirshner. (CNBC)

Laterals, Moves, In-House

  • Townsquare Media hired Mayer Brown litigator Allison Zolot as senior vice president and general counsel; California-based supply chain automation company Elementum has a new chief legal officer, promoting managing director for operations Lynette Walter, a former Sidley Austin attorney, to the job. Elementum said its Bermuda subsidiary is getting John Drnek, who is currently legal counsel at reinsurance company RenaissanceRe. He’ll join as general counsel in mid-April. (LinkedIn)
  • Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr named litigation partner Toby Eveland, co-chair of its diversity, equity, & inclusion committee, to become office managing partner in Chicago, its largest office. The firm also named litigation partner Matt Haar as managing partner of its Harrisburg, Pa. office; Chicago-based Neal Gerber Eisenberg announced the third managing partner of its 35-year history. The firm said its corporate & securities group chair, Robert Gerber, who began his career at the firm as a summer associate in 1997, will step into the role June 1, taking over from Scott Fisher, who’s stepping down after five years and remains as a trial partner. (
  • Schiff Hardin brought on veteran white collar criminal defense attorney G. Michael Bellinger as a partner in New York. He joins from Carter Ledyard & Milburn, where he was co-chair of the firm’s internal investigations and white-collar defense group; Kirkland & Ellis got veteran tax partner Mark Schwed from Weil, Gotshal & Manges in New York; Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler hired former New York federal prosecutor Lauren Potter as a litigation partner in New York. (


  • Two Dutch former Big Law attorneys launched a boutique firm that advises on data breaches, cybersecurity and incident responses, and regulatory privacy investigations and enforcements. The firm’s name, Seventytwo, refers to what they say is the critical first 72 hours after a company becomes aware of a cyber incident or breach. ( International via Legaltech News)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at; Darren Bowman at