Kirkland opens inaugural trainee scheme in City

Kirkland & Ellis

is planning to offer training contracts in its London office, underlining the Chicago-based firm’s commitment to the future of its UK practice.

The firm is talking to students at law schools across the country with the intention of taking on between six and 12 interns this summer, as first revealed on www.thelawyer. com (15 May).

Corporate partner Jim Learner, who heads the firm’s London office, said the intention is for between four and six of the interns to return as trainees.

The interns will each spend two weeks at the firm’s office in the Gherkin, with the long-term view of offering some of them training contracts starting in 2009.

This is the first time the US firm has run a training programme in London. Learner said it is part of the firm’s organic growth strategy.

Kirkland focuses on four core practice areas, with corporate, particularly private equity fundraising and transactions, being a key area.

Litigation is another big area for the firm, especially in the US, and there is also an arbitration team based in London. The firm also handles a lot of work on IP and restructuring matters.

Kirkland, which has its largest office in Chicago, entered the UK market in 1994, dealing initially with the US law aspects of transactions for UK-based clients.

In 2000 the firm expanded in the UK on the back of its private equity practice and now boasts 75 lawyers in London, around 20 of whom are partners.