Kirkland & Ellis, the Feel-Good Law Firm?

Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images

“Sharp elbows” are two words you often hear lawyers use when referring to Kirkland & Ellis, pointing to its merit-based compensation system and high attrition rate in the junior ranks.

But a new program at the firm counters its reputation as an “eat-what-you-kill” organization, and aims to improve health, career outlook and peace of mind for attorneys there.

Under the program launched last fall, the firm started offering yoga, meditation and wellness-training to some lawyers and is now expanding the program to all of its U.S. offices, according to a report in Crain’s Chicago Business.

Is the law firm now becoming a bit more kumbaya?

“Their initial reaction was, ‘Wow, this is so not Kirkland,'” executive committee member Linda Myers told Crain’s. Myers started the program at the request of the firm’s chair Jeffrey Hammes, and explained the rationale:

The business case for the program dictates that healthier employees are more productive, making “them better for your army, if you will,” Myers said. Young lawyers now stay at firms for shorter periods than previous generations. By giving attorneys the tools to deal with inevitable stress, the program, Life XT, has the potential to make Kirkland a more attractive place to work. So far, the 60 lawyers in the pilot group have seemed appreciative.

So what does the program entail?

A Kirkland spokeswoman provided Big Law Business some details: The program, which will launch to all 1,400 U.S. lawyers this spring, includes the following:

  • Monthly 50 minute 1:1 executive level coaching scheduled at the participants’ convenience
  • Bi-Monthly 10 minute digital video workshops led by doctoral level subject matter authorities that can be accessed at anytime, anywhere
  • Weekly 30 minute on-site meditation classes (optional)
  • Email access to LIFE XT trainers to help hone skills and maximize benefits
  • Individualized dashboard and customized online tools to track progress

Let us know what you think by writing to