Training Contract

The Firm

With more than 1900 lawyers and 13 offices around the world, Kirkland & Ellis is a major force on the global legal scene.

Kirkland is ranked in the top 5 of the global 100 (Legal Business 2016) and based in the heart of the city in the iconic Gherkin building, our London office - comprising around 190 lawyers - acts in some of the most complex high value and high profile transactions in Europe.

Types Of Work

Although we are renowned for our private equity work in London, we are also recognised for our experience and capabilities in legal advice across the corporate spectrum including Debt Finance, Investment Funds, Restructuring, Tax, Financial Services Regulatory, International Arbitration and Litigation, Antitrust and Competition, Technology and IP Transactions, and Capital Markets. Our client list is more than a match for many larger City firms.

  • Corporate: Kirkland has one of the most active and highly regarded private equity practices encompassing all aspects of this rapidly changing field.
  • Debt Finance: Kirkland’s leading finance practice includes the representation of both borrowers and lenders in a wide variety of transactions.
  • Investment Funds: Kirkland is uniquely positioned to serve its clients in connection with the organisation and operation of private equity, real estate and hedge funds. 
  • Tax: Kirkland has a strong international reputation for providing sophisticated tax counselling and effectively representing clients in tax disputes worldwide.
  • Restructuring: Kirkland has earned a distinguished international reputation acting for a varied range of clients in complex corporate restructuring, work-out and bankruptcy planning, negotiation and litigation.
  • Financial Services Regulatory: Kirkland's regulatory advises private equity firms amongst other organisations, that are regulated by the UK regulator, the US regulator or both.
  • International Arbitration and Litigation: Kirkland represents multinational corporations, governments and government-owned entities in international arbitration and litigation cases around the world.
  • Technology and IP Transactions: Kirkland represents clients in all areas of IP, patent litigation, trademark matters, outsourcing, computer software, licensing, distribution, joint venture agreements, biotechnology, data protection and e-commerce issues.
  • Antitrust and Competition: Kirkland’s antitrust and competition practice has decades of experience in litigation and transaction clearance.
  • Capital Markets: Kirkland represents issuers, sponsors and underwriters in a wide variety of international securities transactions, with a particular focus on offerings of high-yield and other complex debt securities.

The Way We Work

Our philosophy is based around several key principles: To provide the highest quality legal services, to become true partners to our clients in their ongoing success, and to recruit the best and brightest legal talent in the market.

We delegate responsibility on a merit-based system, allowing our trainees to grow their workload along with their abilities. Almost from day one, our trainees gain hands-on experience of interacting with clients, drafting documents and working with partners. We also encourage them to choose their own path of specialism on their journey through the firm. Freedom and fairness of opportunity helps our colleagues stay motivated and team-focused workers.

It goes without saying, we do not expect you to be an expert from day one. Although much of your learning will be on-the-job, our graduate programme includes training across a range of legal disciplines to turn you into a highly effective practitioner.

To continue providing our clients with the quality legal services they expect means recruiting and training the right people and retaining their services by ensuring the work is stimulating, the atmosphere collaborative and the rewards tangible.

It is a formula proven by our status as a top 5 global law firm.

About Our Training Contract

High-quality training is the hallmark of the graduate trainee programme at Kirkland & Ellis. For 2020 we are offering 10 training contracts.

Your two-year traineeship will begin with a fortnight-long induction, including the Professional Skills Course (PSC). Then, for the following two years of your training contract, you will rotate between four six-month placements.

In addition to compulsory Corporate and Debt Finance seats, you will undertake two further seats, choosing from: Investment Funds, Restructuring, Tax, Financial Services Regulatory, International Arbitration and Litigation, Antitrust and Competition, Technology and IP Transactions, and Capital Markets. Opportunities are also available to spend time on secondment at one of our overseas offices.

Thanks to the small intakes, trainees are given early responsibility to work on complex multi-jurisdictional matters.

Throughout your training, you will benefit from an extensive seminar programme. This covers our primary practice areas in detail, building on skills learned on the LPC and introducing new topics.

You will also benefit from one-to-one guidance from senior associates and partners, and the support of a mentor, learning on the job from some of the leaders in their field.

Your training and development does not stop after your traineeship. We continue to invest in your professional development through regular lunchtime seminars and workshops.

Rewards & Benefits

You will find a career at Kirkland & Ellis rewarding for all sorts of reasons. A generous pay package where first year trainees start on £50,000, rising to £55,000 in the second year is just one of them.

We partner with The University of Law for the GDL and LPC. We pay your fees and provide a maintenance grant of £8,000.

We also offer:

  • Private medical insurance
  • Travel insurance
  • Private life insurance
  • Pension scheme
  • Employee assistance plan
  • Dental plan
  • Access to a private medical clinic
  • Discounted gym membership
  • Business casual dress every day
  • Free breakfast everyday 
  • Childcare vouchers/Emergency childcare
  • Cycle to work scheme


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