Christian combines exceptional technical abilities, high service levels and a truly unique commercial perspective.” - Chambers USA, 2023

Christian Atwood is a corporate partner in the Boston office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. His practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions and other strategically important transactions, with a particular emphasis on private equity funds and their portfolio companies. Christian also has considerable experience advising with respect to growth equity and other minority investments, and is a key member of the Kirkland team advising sponsors and founders on minority stake and control sale transactions, structured and preferred equity financings, and management company financings.

Christian is an experienced and versatile counselor, well-known and sought out for his commercial acumen, creativity and bedside manner. Recent work has involved targets in a wide array of industries, throughout the U.S. and internationally, including software, health care, industrials, manufacturing, consumer and retail. Clients include Apollo, General Catalyst, Great Hill Partners, Harvest Partners, Nordic Capital, Palladium Equity, Silversmith Capital, TZP Group, and Windjammer Capital.

In addition to his work for sponsors and sponsor-backed companies, Christian is often asked to represent entrepreneurs and family offices who find themselves across the table from, or co-investing with, private equity funds, to provide counsel as to “market” terms and best practices in private equity–related structures, shareholder agreements, and compensation–related arrangements.

Christian is listed in Chambers USA and The Legal 500 U.S. as a leading M&A lawyer in the field of private equity buyouts.


Thought Leadership


Quoted, “Choate Hall & Stewart, On The Private Equity Middle-Market: Competition, Fee Pressure And China,” Forbes, November 2017.

Quoted, “PE predictions: fundraising apace, small-business boost, tax changes,” Buyouts Magazine, January 2017.

Quoted, “U.S. LBO volume rises 9 pct while M&A drops 19 pct,” Buyouts Magazine, December 2016.

Quoted, “Investment bank ‘books’ get shorter as M&A evolves,” PE Hub Network, October 2016.

Featured, “Rainmaker Q&A: Choate's Christian Atwood,” Law360, October 2016.

Quoted, “Be your own boss? Read this first,” The Deal, February 2016.

Featured, “Dealmakers Q&A: Choate Hall's Christian Atwood,” Private Equity Law360, August 2014.

Co-author, “Plan Ahead to Avoid Fateful Mishandling of Succession,” Buyouts Magazine, October 2011.

Author, “Dealmaking Outlook for 2011,” The ACG Boston Newsletter, January 2011.

Co-author, “Negotiating Sell-Side Engagement Letters,” Buyouts Magazine, August 2010.

Author, “Creative Approaches to Financing Private Company M&A in a Brave New(unlevered) World,” Dealing with M&A Financing and Risk in a Changing Market: Leading Lawyers on Understanding Client Motivations, Assessing Risk, and Handling Mergers and Acquisitions in a Changing Market (Inside the Minds), January 2010.

Co-author, “Three Indemnification Traps for Buyers to Avoid,” Buyouts Magazine, April 2009.


Guest Lecturer, Course: “Transactional Practicum: Deals," University of Maine School of Law, April 2019.

Guest Lecturer, Course: “Transactional Practicum: Deals," University of Maine School of Law, April 2018.

Moderator, “State of Private Equity (PE) Panel,” Harvard Business School's Venture Capital and Private Equity Club Conference, January 2018.

Moderator, “Industry Drill Down: Healthcare, Life Sciences and Technology,” Thomson Reuters' Northeastern M&A/Private Equity Forum, December 2013.

Moderator, “Energy Panel,” MIT Sloan Private Equity Symposium, April 2013.


Christian and his wife (a veterinarian) are active supporters of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and The Angell Animal Medical Center, both located in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood.

Memberships & Affiliations

Member, Boston Bar Association

Member, American Bar Association

Member, ABA’s Mergers and Acquisitions Committee


Admissions & Qualifications

  • 2002Massachusetts


  • University of Virginia School of LawJ.D.2001
  • Dartmouth CollegeA.B.1998