K&L Gates LLP is ranked as the 8th largest law firm in the United States by the National Law Journal and as the 17th largest American law firm by The American Lawyer for the year 2011. The firm has over 2800 attorneys working in 63 offices. The firm's largest office, located in Pittsburgh, has 370 attorneys. The firm's largest practice area is commercial disputes, with 476 attorneys.
K&L Gates represents leading global corporations, growth and middle-market companies, capital markets participants and entrepreneurs in every major industry group as well as public sector entities, educational institutions, philanthropic organizations and individuals.
Over the last three years, the firm's revenues exceeded $1 Billion. Although the firm recovered well from the recession, even ranking first in The American Lawyer's new 2010 Recession Performance Index, in 2011 the firm's gross revenue was flat, and profits per partner declined more than 4%.
Pittsburgh-based K&L Gates has been described as "a lobbying firm that represents the hi-tech and energy sectors.
The law firm now branded K&L Gates has undergone a series of identity-shifting mergers in modern times. As early as in 1946, Kirkpatrick & Lockhart was founded as a law firm. Later in 2005, it merged with London-based Nicholson Graham & Jones Ltd to become Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham. On January 1, 2007, Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham merged with Seattle-based Preston Gates & Ellis to form Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis, which was later shortened to simply K&L Gates.
In the past four years, K&L Gates combined with law firms like Hughes & Luce, a Dallas, Texas-based firm of 150 attorneys, Kennedy Covington Lobdell & Hickman LLP, a North Carolina-based firm of 200 attorneys and Bell, Boyd & Lloyd, a Chicago based firm with approximately 215 attorneys in Chicago, San Diego and Washington, D.C.
Areas of practice
Corporate and Transactional
Infrastructure and Resources
Litigation and Dispute Resolution
Policy and Regulatory
Well Fargo Bank was represented by K&L Gates in the $25 billion global settlement with the various American governmental organizations related to residential mortgage loan default servicing practices. The settlement was awarded in February 2012.
K&L Gates also represented Kraft Foods Global Inc. when Sara Lee filed a lawsuit against Kraft alleging false advertising. After two years of litigation and a trial that lasted two weeks, the case was dismissed.
A cross-continent team of lawyers from K&L Gates LLP has advised leading action sportswear retailer Zumiez Inc. on the acquisition of the Blue Tomato group for a purchase price of
Awards and recognitions
The American Lawyer's 2005 "Corporate Scorecard" ranked K&L Gates as the leader among all firms in representation of fund clients in the mutual fund industry, and it is a leader in municipal finance, PIPE, private equity, and venture capital transactions.
The firm has been named among "Global Powerhouse" firms in 2012 Law360 Global 20 for the second year in a row.
In 2012, Corporate Board Member magazine, in association with FTI Consulting, Inc, ranked K&L Gates as one of the top 25 law firms in its annual list of "America's Best Corporate Law Firms." The firm ranked No. 16. The ranking was based on a survey of nearly 2,000 general counsels of U.S. publicly held companies. The survey focused on which law firms those general counsel would engage in a variety of important legal subject matters.
The firm seeks its candidates to demonstrate initiative/leadership abilities, excel academically, possess excellent communication skills, and thrive independently in a supportive/team-oriented environment. As K&L Gates grows, firm management has become increasingly focused on recruiting from top schools. Still, candidates should be able to show a connection to the local office where they interview. However, last year, K&L Gates recruited more through job fairs than from campus recruitment's. In 2011, the firm visited three job fairs, while it did not visit any law school for campus recruitment.
K&L Gates believes that establishing and maintaining a diverse, fully inclusive, and community-minded workforce is essential to a strong law firm. K&L Gates has implemented a number of programs to promote diversity and inclusion, and is an industry leader in this regard. In 2003, the firm appointed the profession's first Chief Diversity Officer.
Similarly, the firm's appointment of the industry's first Director of Professional and Personal Life Integration and the launching of its innovative Balanced Hours Initiative received acclaim throughout the profession. q
Summer associate program
K&L Gates' eight-week summer program is quite different than the ones offered by other law firms. Most of the "real work" done by the associates during the summer program is used by the firm. The associates' work product is either incorporated into a legal brief, presented to a client, or incorporated into articles, presentations or other publications.
A summer associate is expected to complete 11 to 15 projects in various practice areas. The summer program offers training and mock trial program. The firm also provides a wide variety of social activities ranging from a low-key but intimate dinner at a partner's house to a baseball game in a luxury suite.
K&L Gates made offers to 61% of 60-members summer class in 2009 and in 2010, it made offers to 100% of its 32 summer associates. The Class of 2011 summer will join the firm in September 2011.
Salary & benefits
K&L Gates offers competitive compensation packages that reflect its status as a preeminent law firm in the U.S. K&L Gates's starting salary is $160,000. The firm pays this starting salary in each of its U.S. offices. K&L Gates's profits per equity partner in 2009 were $860,000, placing the firm in the 30th percentile.
In addition to market competitive salaries, associates get a discretionary bonus on meeting a minimum threshold of 1,950 client billable hours. Associates also receive credit towards the bonus threshold for specified amounts of approved pro bono time.
Apart from the benefits like salary advances or stipends, relocation expenses, reimbursements for exam expenses, and their own office, the firm also provides subsidized gym memberships and subsidized data plans for BlackBerrys and iPhones.
K&L Gates LLP allows attorneys (including entry-level attorneys) to work part time. Currently, 100 attorneys are working part time.
401(k)/IRA/Other Retirement Plan
Bar Association Fees
Business Casual Dress Code
Domestic Partner Benefits
Employee Assistance Program
Family/Dependent Care Leave
Flexible Spending Account/Pre-Tax Option
Health Club Membership
Long-term Care Insurance
Long-term Disability Insurance
Medical Spending Account
On-site Child Care - Emergency
Short-term Disability Insurance
Technology (Laptop, PDA, etc.)
Benefits Package: K&L Gates provides medical insurance (including coverage while traveling abroad), vision insurance, dental insurance, life insurance (including spouse/domestic partner/child coverage), accidental death & dismemberment insurance, business travel accident insurance, long-term care insurance, professional liability insurance, identity theft insurance, domestic partner coverage, short & long-term disability, 3-4 weeks vacation, parental leave, family and medical leave, 401(k) plan, employee assistance program, flexible spending accounts, pre-tax commuting program, emergency child care program, health management programs, health club subsidy and bar membership dues. The firm's wellness program is designed to promote good health and fitness among all of the firm's employees. Personnel in all U.S. offices have the opportunity to participate in online health risk assessments and in coaching programs for various lifestyle and medical conditions. In addition, the firm offers corporate discounts at designated fitness facilities and subsidies for other fitness facilities and weight management memberships.
Working for the K&L Gates LLP
For many, working at K&L Gates is advantageous as the working hours are not crazy for a big firm, it provides meaningful mentorship opportunities and gives great resources with a small office feel. However, some aspects like mediocre compensation levels, difficulty in getting work during lean periods and lack of transparency in determination of performance, do raise concerns.
K&L Gates has a long tradition of its attorneys providing community service through pro bono projects. The firm's policy is to strongly encourage its attorneys and staff to undertake a meaningful level of pro bono and community service in areas of their choice and interest. The firm is a signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge and has committed to make good faith efforts to provide pro bono services at a level equal to or greater than 3 percent of its annual billable hours.
The firm also recommends that its attorneys set for themselves a personal goal of performing at least 60 hours of pro bono and community service work per year.
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