Kirkland & Ellis brings former City chief Learner back

When Graham White left Kirkland & Ellis to head up Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson in London, a few names were in the frame to succeed him – but former London chief Jim Learner was not one of them.

Learner was instrumental in setting up Kirkland’s London office and his departure back in 2012 came as a shock to partners who said at the time they would try to make him stay.

After an amicable departure, the door seems to have been left open for the long-serving corporate partner. Today Kirkland confirmed he would return as London’s de-facto head on 1 February.

The market has long speculated that former Weil Gotshal & Manges banking chief Stephen Lucas had his eye on the top job after he was hired last May. But for now at least, Kirkland’s London office is back in the hands of an old friend.

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