Kirkland & Ellis Nabs Latham’s Private Equity Chair

In the latest expansion of its deal team, Kirkland & Ellis has hired one of the co-chairs of Latham & Watkins’ private equity practice.

Jennifer Perkins has joined Kirkland as a partner in its New York corporate practice group, the firm announced Tuesday. Perkins previously spent more than 20 years at Latham, which she joined as an associate fresh out of Cornell Law School.

In a conversation with Big Law Business, Perkins said it was “obviously a difficult decision” but that she is very excited about the new role. 

“I’ve been opposite Kirkland attorneys throughout my career and I’ve always been impressed,” Perkins said. “I’m attracted to Kirkland’s private equity platform, which is growing, and the energy of the group and the energy of the place. There’s a great entrepreneurial spirit.”

Perkins’ clients have included GTCR, KKR, Vestar Capital Partners, Centerbridge Partners and The Carlyle Group. It remains unclear which clients, if any, will move over to Kirkland with her.

Kirkland’s hire of Perkins comes on the heels of another big lateral move. In January, Cravath Swaine & Moore partner Eric Schiele joined Kirkland’s growing mergers and acquisitions practice.

Kirkland claims to have one of the largest private equity practices in the world, with over 400 private equity firm clients. The firm has approximately 300 attorneys doing deal work in the U.S., most of whom do private equity work, according to a spokesman.

Other recent hires to the private equity team include Christian Atwood, who joined from Choate Hall & Stewart in January, and David Higgins, a former Freshfields attorney who joined Kirkland in December.