Former Kirkland & Ellis London head Jim Learner is returning as a partner in Kirkland’s corporate practice to the City office he helped launch 20 years ago.
Learner quit Kirkland to join US private equity house HGGC (formerly Huntsman Gay Global Capital) in August 2012 after 25 years at Kirkland. During his first term at Kirkland, Learner was involved in launching the US firm’s London office in 1994 and helped grow the team from 14 lawyers to 115.
Before the City launch, Learner worked at Kirkland’s Chicago office after which he officially relocated to London in 2000 and worked in the City office for 12 years. During this time, he led the firm’s European operations and served as a member of the global management executive committee.
His new role will go into effect on 1 February 2015. ‘Jim was instrumental to helping our London office grow during his 12 years there, and in institutionalizing many of our important client relationships,’ said Jeffrey Hammes, chairman of Kirkland’s global management executive committee. ‘We are thrilled to welcome our friend and colleague back to the firm.’
Learner has particular experience in representing private equity firms in leveraged buyout and growth capital investing and in fund formation activities. He relocates to London from Palo Alto after two years. ‘I am grateful for the opportunity and the experience I had working with the talented group at HGGC, and I look forward to continuing to advise HGGC on their transactions. My family and I are excited to return to London, and I am thrilled to be able to provide advice and counsel once again to Kirkland’s outstanding clients,’ added Learner.
The re-hire follows the exit of Kirkland’s senior partner and European debt finance practice head Stephen Gillespie, who announced last month that he would leave the firm after nearly nine years to join Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.