Kirkland & Ellis has asked a number of non-equity partners to leave, multiple sources report. The timing is unclear, but they may have up to six months to pack their things.
The number of laid-off non-equity partners — or “non-share partners,” in K&E parlance — is believed to hover somewhere between 15 and 25. Some are in litigation and some in corporate, but we understand that all of those let go are in Kirkland’s Chicago office.
A tipster points out:
All were told it’s because [of] performance, but most were considered fine lawyers and rated with or above their class each year.
Kirkland & Ellis spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment by the time of this posting.
It’s important to remember that Kirkland & Ellis has a fairly large class of non-equity or income partners. Kirkland uses the “non-share partner” classification liberally, and they tend to make more lawyers “partners,” at earlier stages in their careers. Some K&E “partners” would be senior associates at other firms.
But it looks like Kirkland has had to do some more belt-tightening as the economy continues to tumble. While laying off partners is unusual, it’s not unheard of; last fall, Jenner & Block axed 10 partners (both equity and non-equity).