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Relentless as ever: Kirkland surpasses own record to promote 145 new partners and 16 in London

 In characteristic ‘retrenchment be damned’ fashion, Kirkland & Ellis has beaten its own record for the number of partners it promotes, making up 145 globally and 16 in the City. 

The move sees the world’s highest-grossing law firm continue its striking ascent even in the face of coronavirus uncertainty to add four to last year’s 141-strong total, of which 16 were in London.

In London, five of the new partners are in investment funds: Alex Brodkin; Gloria Ho; James King, Sophie Smith and Tana Wilner, while four are in M&A/private equity Dan Clarke, Adrian Duncan, Rachel Greenhalgh and Daniel McMann. 

Debt finance has seen a three-strong cohort in Lloyd Jones, Sam Sherwood and Alexander van der Gaag and tax has two new partners: Cian O’Connor and Sam Trowbridge. 

Competition and financial services regulatory have one apiece – Shane Cranley and Thomas Woodhead respectively. 

The 2,700-lawyer firm has an unusual model in that it makes up large ranks of salaried partners before considering promotions to its tightly-held equity. Operating a fast track, associates can make salaried partner six years after qualification – bucking the wider trend of pushing back promotions. 

Kirkland’s London arm now generates around $425m and its current level of promotions dwarf comparable rates at top London firms by a long way. 

As with last year, the rest of Kirkland’s new partners have been made up in the firm’s global offices spanning Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Munich, New York, San Francisco and Washington DC. In addition, it has also promoted one partner in Shanghai to its litigation practice. 

The Chicago-bred giant in March revealed it had added $390m to its top line to beat Latham & Watkins once again as the world’s highest-grossing law firm, as global turnover surged to $4.15bn, while profit per equity partner (PEP) reached $5.2m.