Legal Business

Welcome to Miami: Kirkland and Winston open in Florida as Willkie targets Frankfurt capital markets

Welcome to Miami: Kirkland and Winston open in Florida as Willkie targets Frankfurt capital markets

Winston & Strawn and Kirkland & Ellis have boosted their profiles on the US east coast by opening Miami offices, while Willkie Farr & Gallagher has continued its recent expansion in Frankfurt by establishing a capital markets practice.

Fresh off the back of becoming the first law firm to surpass $6bn in annual global revenue, Kirkland is looking to use the new Miami office to further its goal of attracting the best legal talent.

Corporate partners Jeremy Liss, Matthew Arenson, Jeffrey Swatzell (all Chicago) and Eduardo Leal (New York) are to launch the practice, which is set to open its doors this summer.

Jon Ballis, chairman of the executive committee, commented: ‘We are excited about the opportunity that Miami offers: a vibrant and growing business community where talent and capital are moving at a rapid pace. Kirkland’s ability to attract, train and retain the best legal talent is key to our continued success, and being present where that talent wants to be is critical.’

In April it was revealed that the Chicago-bred powerhouse had added $1.2bn to its top line to remain the world’s highest grossing law firm, as turnover surged 25% from $4.83bn to $6.042bn.

Profit per equity partner (PEP) also spiked 19%, increasing from $6.2m to $7.38m and revenue per lawyer also saw double-digit growth, from $1.8m to just shy of $2m.

Meanwhile, Winston & Strawn’s new office marks the firm’s largest expansion in five years. It will be initially staffed by six new lateral recruits. M&A partner Enrique Martin has joined from Jones Day and is to lead the office, while commercial litigators David Coulson and Gustavo Membiela have come over from Greenberg Traurig and Hunton Andrews Kurth respectively. Richard Puttré from Hogan Lovells will chair the Latin America projects group while Kimberly Prior and Daniel Stabile have joined from Shutts & Bowen to collectively lead the digital assets and blockchain technology team.

Enrique Martin said: ‘Miami’s unique position as a magnet for capital from across the globe makes it a vibrant forum for complex transactional and litigation work. Winston has an outstanding reputation in both areas. I am proud to be one of the initial partners of Winston in Miami, and I look forward to contributing to the office’s rapid growth and success.’

Talbert Navia, co-head of Latin America, added: ‘As supply chain issues continue to drive the need for cross-border trade with Latin America, we are seeing a corresponding need for clarity on a wide range of matters related to regulation, litigation, and capital flows. Miami represents the ideal location from which to address these and other business challenges on behalf of clients across the Americas.’

Elsewhere, Willkie has expanded its capital markets practice into its Frankfurt office.

Simon Weiss and Joseph Marx have joined the firm to lead the new offering, having previously worked at McDermott Will & Emery. Weiss, who has experience working in Germany and the US, advises on IPOs, equity-linked transactions and investment grade and high-yield bond offerings. Marx’s expertise include accelerated primary and secondary offerings, Rule 144A transactions, US registered offerings and private placement transactions.

The arrivals are the latest in a spree of hires in the region that has seen the New York-led outfit bring in over ten partner and counsel laterals in recent years.

Frankfurt lead, Georg Linde, said: ‘In the space of only two years we have added a number of new practices to our German offering, including real estate, litigation, restructuring, employment and regulatory law, while continuing to expand our private equity and M&A capabilities. Simon and Joe are well-known and talented practitioners. They will serve as the core of our new German capital markets practice, which will be a valuable resource to the expanding needs of our clients in Germany and across the firm.’

charles.avery@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Kirkland shortens equity track as it wages intensified war for talent

Kirkland shortens equity track as it wages intensified war for talent

Kirkland & Ellis has shortened its path to equity partnership by a year in another audacious move that will doubtless make rivals sit up and take notice.

The move means that its most-talented lawyers will now be considered for equity partnership nine years out of law school, rather than 10.

The Chicago-bred firm has an unusual model in that it makes up large ranks of salaried partners on a fast track with associates able to make salaried partner six years after qualification – bucking the wider trend of pushing back promotions on a more opaque career track. Admission to the tightly-held equity will now be considered three years into non-equity partnership.

An internal firm memo circulated yesterday (1 December) stated: ‘Given the talent of our partnership and the increased responsibilities and experience gained in today’s environment, we believe that consideration for equity a year sooner is appropriate.’

In April, Kirkland said it had added $680m to its top line to beat Latham & Watkins yet again to remain the world’s highest-grossing law firm, as global turnover surged 16% to $4.83bn.

Profit per equity partner (PEP) hit $6.2m, up 19% on the $5.2m for 2019 even as Kirkland’s headcount grew 5% in 2020 to 2,725 lawyers. Revenue per lawyer increased 11% from $1.6m to around $1.8m.

The firm does not disclose regional breakdowns but London was believed to have substantially outpaced global growth at around 29%, growing revenue from $425m to roughly $550m.

In October, Kirkland again broke its own partnership promotion record, making up 151 globally and 19 in London. As with last year when the Chicago-bred giant outpaced itself with 145 global promotions and 16 in the City, the move continued an ascent that shows no signs of being thwarted by coronavirus concerns or any other.

nathalie.tidman@legalbusiness.co.uk

Legal Business

Kirkland breaks own record again to make up 151 new partners and 19 in London

Kirkland breaks own record again to make up 151 new partners and 19 in London

With the boldness the market has come to expect from the world’s highest-grossing law firm, Kirkland & Ellis has again broken its own partnership promotion record, making up 151 globally and 19 in London.

As with last year when the Chicago-bred giant outpaced itself with 145 global promotions and 16 in the City, the move continues an ascent that shows no signs of being thwarted by coronavirus concerns or any other.

In London, four new partners have been added in M&A/private equity: Henry Birch; Nick-Raj Birdi; James Hunn and Cillian Moynihan, while three have been promoted in debt finance – Stefan Arnold-Soulby; Kanesh Balasubramaniam and James Collins.

Restructuring has seen three partner promotions in Ian Clarke, Hannah Crawford and Kai Zeng and investment funds has two new partners – Agne Eriksson and Katerina Syomina.

Antitrust and competition has added two in the form of Philipp Gnatzy and Athina Van Melkebeke with financial services regulatory partner Zach Milloy also making the grade, along with technology and IP transactions lawyer John Patten, IP transactions lawyer Peter Pereira, tax lawyer Art Ward and capital markets attorney Samita T. Ali-Khan.

Perhaps the most pressing matter on the minds of law firm leaders is the thorny issue of talent retention in a post-pandemic market where careers are more fluid than ever.

However, the now 2,900-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 on a less clear career track.

The rest of Kirkland’s new partners have been made up in the firm’s global offices spanning Austin, the Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Munich, New York, Paris and Washington DC.

The promotions coincided with Kirkland’s announcement that it has hired Linklaters partner Julia Dixon to its financial services regulatory practice in London.

In April, Kirkland said it had added $680m to its top line to beat  Latham & Watkins yet again to remain  the world’s highest-grossing law firm, as global turnover surged 16% to $4.83bn.

Profit per equity partner (PEP) hit $6.2m, up 19% on the $5.2m for 2019 even as Kirkland’s headcount grew 5% in 2020 to 2,725 lawyers. Revenue per lawyer increased 11% from $1.6m to around $1.8m.

The firm does not disclose regional breakdowns but London was believed to have substantially outpaced global growth at around 29%, growing revenue from $425m to roughly $550m.

nathalie.tidman@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Following Brexit: Kirkland bolsters antitrust ambitions with Brussels office launch

Following Brexit: Kirkland bolsters antitrust ambitions with Brussels office launch

Kirkland & Ellis has nailed its European antitrust ambitions to the mast in the wake of the UK’s exit from the European Union to launch an office in Brussels.

Never normally one to be late to the party, the Chicago-bred giant has followed in the footsteps of several peers, many of which have operated a Belgian branch for decades, except notably Simpson Thacher, which in February opened up shop in the competition capital of Europe, to better serve its roster of heavyweight private equity clients.

Kirkland’s new outpost will be led by up and coming partner Thomas Wilson who joined the firm in 2018 having been a counsel at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and has since made a name for himself in the fast-moving world of multi-jurisdictional antitrust matters.

The move will see Wilson relocate from London to Brussels and the new office will initially be staffed by personnel out of the City. It has become clear, especially in the last two years, that the heightened demand from clients in the face of the EU’s ramping up of merger control legislation has made a move to Brussels impossible to ignore.

In April, Kirkland announced it had added $680m to its top line to beat Latham & Watkins yet again as the world’s highest-grossing law firm, as global turnover surged 16% to $4.83bn.

Underpinning that stellar performance largely was a private equity bonanza that saw dealmakers recalibrate and make up for lost time in 2020 after a hiatus in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Profit per equity partner (PEP) hit $6.2m, up 19% on the $5.2m for 2019 even as Kirkland’s headcount grew 5% in 2020 to 2,725 lawyers. Revenue per lawyer increased 11% from $1.6m to around $1.8m.

nathalie.tidman@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Kirkland closes in on $5bn revenue as it remains world’s highest-grossing firm

Kirkland closes in on $5bn revenue as it remains world’s highest-grossing firm

Kirkland & Ellis has added $680m to its top line to trounce Latham & Watkins yet again as the world’s highest-grossing law firm, as global turnover surged 16% to $4.83bn.

The Chicago-bred giant had a significant uptick in private equity work to thank for its stellar 2020 results, which saw revenue surge from $4.15bn in 2019.

Profit per equity partner (PEP) hit $6.2m, up 19% on the $5.2m for 2019 even as Kirkland’s headcount grew 5% in 2020 to 2,725 lawyers. Revenue per lawyer increased 11% from $1.6m to around $1.8m.

The firm does not disclose regional breakdowns but London is believed to have substantially outpaced global growth at around 29%, growing revenue from $425m to roughly $550m.

The private equity bonanza came as dealmakers made up for lost time after a hiatus in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, while restructuring, M&A and litigation all performed well.

Kirkland was noticeably more frugal on the lateral partner front in London in 2020, only adding one to its partnership in the form of Linklaters tax lawyer Mavnick Nerwal. However, the firm is unsurprisingly still the market leader in the number of promotions it makes, year after year smashing its own records.

Kirkland’s culture is underpinned by an unusual model that sees large ranks of salaried partners made up before being admitted to its tightly-held equity. Operating a fast-track system, associates can make salaried partner six years after qualification – bucking the wider trend of pushing back promotions. In that vein, 19 lawyers were made up, including three lateral promotions, a number which far outstripped the conservative market at large.

Observers have grown accustomed to the two-horse race between Kirkland and Latham to become the world’s highest grossing law firm. Last month, Latham reported its third consecutive year of double-digit growth as its revenue surged 15% to $4.33bn and PEP hit $4.52m. Latham’s 20% uptick in London turnover meant the City office now generates in the region of $540m.

nathalie.tidman@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

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

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. 

nathalie.tidman@legalease.co.uk 

Legal Business

Kirkland vs Covid-19 – How the world’s largest law firm handles this crisis will define it… and the global elite

Kirkland vs Covid-19 – How the world’s largest law firm handles this crisis will define it… and the global elite

For journalists, ill winds usually bring a few benefits, not least that readers have greater interest in what we’re churning out. But while it’s a good time for industry anoraks to get the attention they crave, it’s not the pieces I’ve done in 2020 on crisis, coronavirus or even Black Lives Matter that have attracted the biggest audience. The most read was an article from March focused on the two-horse race between the world’s largest law firms, Kirkland & Ellis and Latham & Watkins, and its wider relevance for the high-end legal market.

That speaks to the extraordinary interest among peers in Kirkland, which has defied expectations to batter its way to the top of the global market in the last decade, much to the startled unease of traditional elites in New York and London.

That the Chicago-bred juggernaut has secured such a hold on the profession’s collective imagination speaks in part to Kirkland’s disregard for many of the received wisdoms of global law. While other firms pepper their rhetoric with ‘collaboration’ and ‘innovation’, Kirkland fashioned its own singularly-entrepreneurial path with a dash not seen since the respective glory days of Skadden Arps and Clifford Chance.

Consider the magnitude of that rise. In 2008, Kirkland posted revenues of $1.28bn, by 2020 it had surged to $4.15bn, while also boasting profit per equity partner (PEP) of $5.2m and City revenues exceeding $400m.

Even now, with conversations with law firm leaders dominated by Covid-19, global recession and what to do with 300,000 square feet of prime London real estate, talk still quickly moves to: ‘So, how’s Kirkland doing?’

The underlying question is obvious: will this crisis end Kirkland’s extraordinary momentum and expose the weaknesses its critics have long argued will haunt it, or merely serve to strengthen an already commanding hand?

The point is fundamental for Kirkland because major law firms that achieve prolonged outlier growth often build up structural weaknesses masked by relentless expansion. Robbed of growth by a market shock, as seen with DLA Piper and much of the Magic Circle after the banking crisis, such firms can abruptly lose that self-sustaining cycle as problems set in and rob the institution of its swagger.

In a few cases such shocks have seen apparently successful operations badly falter, most notably in the UK with the collapse of Halliwells a decade ago, though such extreme outcomes usually come with firms previously dogged by middling or erratic performance.

Will Kirkland fall into either camp?

There is no doubt that the firm built in its modern incarnation by pugnacious chair Jeffrey Hammes currently faces the first serious test of its foundations and Kirkland has some particular challenges. For one, it has a huge transactional team – with roughly 1,000 lawyers, by far its largest practice – now facing a deal market set for deep freeze through 2020.

Kirkland also has a partnership heavy with youth, thanks to its famed system of accelerated promotions, and many senior lawyers shipped in from rivals, thanks to a decade of aggressive recruitment. It simply cannot call on the cultural bonds or numbing grip of institutional inertia in the manner that most firms generating $2m-plus PEP do when turbulence hits. Moreover, partners that have become used to super-growth will find the hard grind of global recession a rude awakening. Kirkland, which has more than its share of divas, will certainly have to manage its 1,000-plus partner ranks deftly to ensure the jostling energy and animal spirits remain constructively channelled.

But allowing for these genuine challenges, a closer look at its business model strongly suggests that Kirkland should emerge even stronger from the current crisis.

For one its practice remains, for a firm of its size, extraordinarily focused, zeroing in on just four areas: transactions; litigation; restructuring; and intellectual property. Even within its largest practice, transactions, Kirkland tacks heavily towards major sponsors on banking and corporate work, rather than generalist corporate mandates, avoiding the trudge of plc panels.

The firm also has a small network for its size, with just 16 offices, including only six outside its US heartlands. Moreover, much of its revenue growth has come through driving extraordinary productivity, around $1.6m revenue per lawyer for its last year, rather than adding significant head count. Kirkland faces the current crisis in lean shape, with around 2,500 lawyers, one of the lowest tallies in the global top ten.

This unalloyed focus will stand it in good stead, making it easier to stand out against generalist rivals and tightly direct its competitive energy. While keeping its huge transactions team busy is no given, its private equity base looks like the first movers to wade back into the deal market. Kirkland is also positioned as go-to firm with a string of its marquee sponsor clients, meaning it will benefit even as conflict counsel twiddle their thumbs amid reduced deal flow.

It barely needs noting that its muscular and famously productive litigation and restructuring practices provide Kirkland with a welcome hedge when crisis hits, with restructuring in particular looking on superb form in recent years.

Leaving the practice mix aside, perhaps Kirkland’s biggest asset will be the very culture that critics decry as the time bomb beneath it. For one, the firm’s lean and fast-moving leadership, lack of red tape and emphasis on entrepreneurial drive is a mix that looks well-suited for a brutally tough 2020 and 2021. As much as rivals like to talk down Kirkland partners as money-driven mercenaries, its ranks have plenty of true believers that have bought into its ethos and can-do spirit. It looks a much better formula for current conditions than the bureaucracy and dysfunctional decision-making that too many global law firms indulge in.

If there is one point that will test the health of Kirkland’s soul amid the current crisis, it will be its attitude to retrenchment and job losses. Some will argue for substantial cuts – this should be resisted. Such tactics will do more damage to Kirkland than most peers, undercutting its model and playing into an image the firm has been trying to ditch for years. Latham can get away with some axe-wielding, Kirkland not so much.

The firm will also need a strong stomach to keep investing through the hard times, though its recruitment in May of Wachtell Lipton corporate partner Ed Lee suggests Kirkland is still ready to place long-term bets on outstanding talent, whatever the immediate market conditions.

What is emerging is a difficult balancing act, one that will need a more deft touch than we’ve previously seen from an outfit renowned for bling, flair and audacity. Striking that balance will certainly test whether new chair Jon Ballis can live up to his billing as a more measured and subtle leader than Hammes, as befitting Kirkland’s new status as industry leader rather than challenger brand. Known for disruption and tearing down – the title of Legal Business’s last in-depth profile of the firm was ‘Wrecking ball’ – Kirkland must become as adept at building or at least preserving if it wants to live up to its potential.

With a good crisis, Kirkland’s position and considerable influence on the legal market will be strengthened hugely. If it falters, Covid-19 will have been the immovable object that stopped this irresistible force. I’d bet on the former outcome but by summer 2021 we’ll pretty much know which way it’s going.

alex.novarese@legalease.co.uk

For an in-depth look at Kirkland’s rise see our 2018 cover feature

Legal Business

Comment: Latham vs Kirkland means everyone else loses – They own the global elite now

Comment: Latham vs Kirkland means everyone else loses – They own the global elite now

Skadden Arps, Clifford Chance, Linklaters and, currently, Kirkland & Ellis – over the last 30 years these firms have all at one time had claims to have been the most influential law firms of their age, the pioneers that defined the top of the profession through dash, ambition and imagination.

And many senior lawyers would think that list is missing the name of the institution that looked unchallenged until the Kirkland effect gripped the market in the last three years.

That firm is Latham & Watkins, the Los Angeles-bred giant whose ascent was as predictable and well trailed as Kirkland’s was rude and disruptive. With a history of strong leadership, strategic clarity and an envied culture, its rise seemed unstoppable.

While no one expects the firm to dominate big-ticket deal work reserved for rarefied sections of Manhattan, on the wider international stage, spanning key hubs in the US and Europe, Latham was the pace-setter for global law through most of the 2010s.

Yet Latham enters the 2020s in a more ambiguous position than expected a few years back. That is partly due to the loss of its managing partner in 2018 under surreal circumstances that badly undercut Latham’s slick image. But the far more substantive issue has been the relentless challenge of Kirkland in many of its core markets, a campaign that has seen the Chicago outfit outstrip Latham in revenue, growth and profitability. Even worse, Kirkland is now regarded as a more potent performer in a number of Latham’s marquee business lines like leveraged finance, private equity and restructuring.

The fierce competition with Kirkland is concentrating minds in what is emerging as a more hard-edged outfit under the leadership of Richard Trobman.

For a firm that had forgotten how to play defence, this came as a shock and there is no doubt that a minority of Latham partners would like a more individualistic approach that responded more directly to the threat of Kirkland and its $10m-plus offers for rainmakers.

Other questions remain for a firm whose many strengths and sheer brand power often obscures its flaws. In public M&A, the firm’s US business remains patchier than the sales pitch, with a bench too shallow and lacking younger stars. Neither is it as apparent that Latham’s bond-centric, bank-heavy business is quite the asset it used to be. It is also debatable if even as an outfit as institutionally robust as Latham has been able to fill the vacuum left by the 2015 departure of Bob Dell, one of high-end law’s most revered leaders.

None of which changes the conclusion that Latham 2020 remains a singularly formidable outfit that will not be dislodged from the upper reaches of the global market anytime soon. If anything, the fierce competition with Kirkland is concentrating minds in what is emerging as a more hard-edged outfit under the leadership of Richard Trobman.

That shift will fall far short of reinventing Latham in Kirkland’s image. Despite common ground of strong leadership, expansive vision and an affinity for lev fin, these beasts are polls apart in culture and model, with Latham far more diversified and team-oriented than its buccaneering rival. But that also means that for broader-service work to major plcs, in many European markets Latham is still a more ominous threat for London rivals than Kirkland. Between them, with their collective City revenues closing in on $1bn, the pair are leaving precious little space for rivals. In short, global law in the 2020s belongs to this pair, everyone else is just along for the ride.

alex.novarese@legalease.co.uk

Click here for our feature on Latham & Watkins, ‘Heavy hangs the crown’

Legal Business

Latham vs K&E means that everyone else loses

Latham vs K&E means that everyone else loses

Skadden Arps, Clifford Chance, Linklaters and, currently, Kirkland & Ellis – over the last 30 years these firms have all at one time had claims to have been the most influential law firms of their age, the pioneers that defined the top of the profession through dash, ambition and imagination.

And many senior lawyers would think that list is missing the name of the institution that looked unchallenged until the Kirkland effect gripped the market in the last three years.

Legal Business

Kirkland remains world’s highest-grossing law firm in becoming first to surpass $4bn

Kirkland remains world’s highest-grossing law firm in becoming first to surpass $4bn

Kirkland & Ellis has added $390m to its top line to trounce Latham & Watkins once again as the world’s highest-grossing law firm, as global turnover surged to $4.15bn.

The Chicago-bred giant today (18 March) revealed results for the 2019 financial year, revealing a 10% hike in revenue from $3.76bn last year. Profit per equity partner (PEP) reached $5.2m, up 3% on the $5.04m for 2018. Kirkland’s head count grew 13% in 2019 with revenue per lawyer dropping 2% to $1.6m from $1.63m the previous year.

The firm did not disclose regional breakdowns but London is believed to have slightly outpaced global growth at around 12%, growing revenue from around $380m to $425m.

The stellar year has been on the back of thrusting fund formation, restructuring and transactional private equity practices. Kirkland also last year unveiled its largest partner promotion round ever seen by a top legal practice, making up 141 partners, including 16 in the City. The move was an increase of 19 on the previous year’s eye-catching 122-strong round, with the hefty numbers of promotions a statement of intent that moving lawyers up the ranks internally remains a mainstay of the firm’s strategy.

Kirkland 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 system, associates can make salaried partner six years after qualification – bucking the wider trend of pushing back promotions. Last year’s promotion round meant the firm had made up 531 partners in the last five years.

The Chicago-bred giant now has more than 350 lawyers in London and has forged something of a private equity powerhouse operating across Europe. It started 2019 on a high when it lured the much sought-after private equity partner Adrian Maguire from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. The high-profile hire paid dividends last month when Maguire acted for long-standing client Cinven for the first time since making the move, along with Advent International and the RAG foundation, on their €17.2bn acquisition of Thyssenkrupp’s elevator business.

Kirkland’s success also comes on the back of a number of bumper lead mandates including on the $63bn acquisition of Allergan by US biopharmaceutical company AbbVie and the acquisition underpinning the $90bn merger between Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene.

Observers have grown accustomed to the two-horse race between Kirkland and Latham to attain the status as the world’s highest grossing law firm. Last month, Latham reported its second consecutive year of double-digit growth as its revenue surged to $3.77bn in 2019 while profit per equity partner (PEP) hit $3.78m.

nathalie.tidman@legalease.co.uk