After Brexit: Kirkland strengthens its antitrust ambitions with the start of the Brussels office

Legal business

Kirkland & Ellis summed up its European antitrust ambitions after the UK left the European Union to open an office in Brussels.

The Chicago-based giant has usually never been late for the party and has followed in the footsteps of several colleagues, many of whom have operated a Belgian office for decades, with the exception of Simpson Thacher, who opened a store in the competitive capital of Europe in February, to better serve its list of heavyweight private equity clients.

Kirkland’s new outpost is led by up-and-coming partner Thomas Wilson, who joined the firm in 2018 as an attorney at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and has since made a name for himself in the fast-paced world of multi-jurisdiction antitrust matters.

With the move, Wilson will move from London to Brussels and the new office will initially be occupied by employees outside the city. The last two years in particular have shown that the increased demand from customers in view of the increasing EU legislation on merger control has made a move to Brussels unmistakable.

In April, Kirkland announced it had increased $ 680 million to beat Latham & Watkins again as the world’s top-selling law firm as global revenue rose 16% to $ 4.83 billion.

This stellar achievement was largely underpinned by a private equity bonanza where dealmakers recalibrated and made up for lost time after a hiatus following the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

Earnings per Equity Partner (PEP) were $ 6.2 million, up 19% from $ 5.2 million in 2019, despite Kirkland’s workforce increasing 5% to 2,725 lawyers in 2020 . Revenue per attorney increased 11% from $ 1.6 million to approximately $ 1.8 million.

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