Kirkland doubles City trainee intake as first batch qualifies

Kirkland & Ellis is planning to double its trainee intake as the first-ever group of graduates who joined the firm’s London office are all offered newly qualified (NQ) positions.

The Chicago-based firm, which has seen its City arm grow following a wave of recent partner hires, has six trainees qualifying in September 2011. Of these two have been offered NQ roles in litigation with one each in corporate, finance, restructuring and funds.

Graduate recruitment partner Graham White said: “The quality of people we’ve got qualifying is astonishing, which is a reflection of our ability to compete with the more established graduate recruitment programmes, notably those at the top City firms.”

NQ salaries at Kirkland have been set at £90,000, which is towards the top end of the remuneration packages paid by US firms to junior lawyers. At over £100,000 Bingham pays the highest NQ salary.

Meanwhile, Kirkland is hoping to increase its trainee intake to between 10 and 12 trainees and as a result plans to extend its graduate recruitment activities to a wider pool of universities to include Birmingham, Manchester and Sheffield. The firm will as a result also be boosting its summer vacation scheme programme, which it launched in 2007 from between 12 and 14 to between 20 and 22.

The growth in Kirkland’s graduate recruitment programmes coincides with a number of US firms including Ropes & Gray and Sullivan & Cromwell launching new schemes out of their London offices.