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Revenues soar at Kirkland as London restructuring partner exits for KKR spin-off

Kirkland & Ellis has recorded a significant upsurge in its revenue and profit per equity partner (PEP) in 2016, as a partner in the firm’s London restructuring team has departed for KKR spin-off Pillarstone.

Revenue figures have shot up by 15% for Kirkland in the 2016 financial year, rising to $2.65bn. The turnover growth is an improvement on last year when global revenue was up 7%. Furthermore, PEP has risen 14% to $4.1m, a pronounced increase on last year’s figure of $3.6m.

The strong financial results cement Kirkland’s position as one of the world’s largest firms, second only to Latham & Watkins in terms of gross revenue.

Meanwhile, London restructuring partner Mark Knight has left Kirkland to become general counsel (GC) and partner at Pillarstone, a company established by US private equity giant KKR Credit.

Set up in 2015, Pillarstone is a London-based investment platform focused on improving struggling European bank assets. Knight had previously been on secondment at the company, and has now made his stay permanent.

Knight began his career as a trainee at DLA Piper in 2006 before moving to Kirkland in 2008 as an associate in its European restructuring team. After being promoted to partner in 2014, Knight advised KKR as it organised a £194m lending process to refinance the facilities of Spanish pizza chain, TelePizza.

The departure of Knight follows the news in February this year that Sidley Austin secured a seven-partner team from Kirkland’s Munich office. Veteran partner Volker Kullmann joined with fellow corporate partners Björn Holland, Christian Zuleger, Nicole Schlatter and Marcus Klie, as well as finance partner Markus Feil and tax partner Roderic Pagel.

As a result, Kirkland’s Munich office was left with five corporate partners and an overall headcount of 14 partners.

Read more on US firms in London in: ‘Swoop to conquer – a turbulent year for US firms in London but no retreat