Legal Education & Development


What sets Kirkland’s legal education apart is that partners design and deliver programming themselves. Partners dedicate hundreds of hours to bring unique insight, advice and practical experience to our associates, while forming personal and mentoring bonds that further enrich associates’ growth. - Jim Basile, Partner


Kirkland is dedicated to providing our attorneys with an unparalleled legal education. Our innovative and comprehensive curriculum, Kirkland University (KU), provides extensive learning opportunities to equip attorneys with the skills they need to grow professionally as well as exceed client expectations. Aligned to practice group benchmarks and attorney tenure, KU delivers progressive courses in a variety of formats, from hands-on workshops to digital modules. At the root of every program is the goal of fostering excellence, empowering teams, and cultivating smart collaboration. Highlights of our learning initiatives include:

Basic Training Academy (BTA)
BTA is an immersive learning experience that supports the growth of the next generation of exceptional deal lawyers. Through practice-specific discussions and interactive breakouts led by Kirkland partners, associates learn topics such as the life cycle of a deal, project management, and business acumen.

Kirkland Institute for Trial Advocacy (KITA)
KITA is the largest, most comprehensive trial program among major law firms, and it is the flagship litigation training program at Kirkland. This annual four-day event provides associates with an opportunity to put on a full trial every year. Associates deliver opening and closing statements, examine professional actors playing witnesses, and argue before partner judges. The trials increase in difficulty each year, with later years involving real experts, real (retired) judges, and real juries that render verdicts. Associates learn through doing, and over ninety share partners are there to offer hands-on, live-time feedback and teaching over the four days.

Kirkland Institute for Pre-Trial Practice (KIPP)
Along with KITA, KIPP forms the foundation of litigation education at the Firm. KIPP comprises over twenty separate courses offered throughout the year, with programs increasing in sophistication as associates advance. KIPP courses cover the litigation essentials: legal writing, discovery, motion practice, expert witnesses, depositions, and many other subjects. KIPP courses are designed and delivered by senior partners with deep subject-matter expertise. Kirkland puts more time and resources into its training programs than any other firm. Last year, over one hundred partners taught in KITA and KIPP.

Practice Group Programs
Kirkland develops its attorneys by giving them substantial responsibility on sophisticated client matters, but also through extensive formal programs covering all of the Firm’s practice areas. Many practice groups, listed below, organize collaborative learnings to discuss current developments in the legal market.

  • Antitrust & Competition
  • Environmental
  • Mergers & Acquisitions / Private Equity
  • Asset Finance & Securitization
  • Executive Compensation
  • Real Estate
  • Capital Markets
  • Investment Funds
  • Restructuring
  • Debt Finance
  • IP Litigation
  • Tax
  • Employee Benefits
  • IP Technology
  • Trust & Estates
  • Employment & Labor
  • Litigation

Kirkland Leadership & Management Training

In an industry as fast-paced and high-stakes as ours, it is critical to develop the managerial and relationship skills that enable attorneys to work as effectively as they can with colleagues and clients. Offered to attorneys of every level, Kirkland’s Leadership & Management Training provides concrete advice for enhancing these foundational skills. The courses reflect the increased managerial responsibilities attorneys face as they advance in their career. Topics range from delegation and feedback to strengthening client relationships.

Mentorship Program
We believe mentorship is integral to any associate’s integration and continued development. At Kirkland, our mentorship program is driven at the office level to allow for both formal and informal access to mentorship across a variety of associate growth needs. Kirkland’s approach consists of pairing a junior associate with a tenured attorney, either one-on-one or in a pod construct, to meet regularly. Associates also meet with a share partner in their practice group during the year, and feedback from these meetings helps to fuel future legal education and development learning opportunities.