Stuart Drake is a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Stuart has more than three decades of experience in environmental regulation and litigation, representing vehicle and engine manufacturers and companies in the alternative fuels industry. Stuart also represents pro bono indigents and other individuals with limited resources who have been injured by the government.

Stuart’s automotive clients have included industry leaders headquartered in Asia, Europe and the United States. His work frequently involves advice on compliance with U.S. federal and state vehicle or engine air pollution laws and regulations as well as negotiations with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state air pollution control agencies. Stuart is often brought into matters by companies to work alongside other counsel to ensure they have a strong trial option if a fair settlement cannot be achieved. He led the Kirkland teams that defeated the first and only two ordered recalls ever issued by the California Air Resources Board. Stuart has been recognized in every edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, from 2005 to 2022. The guide says he is “as good as they get” and “a fearless advocate for his clients.” Stuart was also named to Lawdragon’s list of the “500 Leading Environmental & Energy Lawyers” in 2021 and 2023.

Stuart also assists companies and their trade associations in rulemakings and represents them in litigation under the Clean Air Act, the federal energy laws, and state air pollution laws. In one such matter, a Kirkland team led by Stuart obtained the first preliminary injunction entered by a federal court against a California motor vehicle air pollution regulation; Kirkland proved the regulation would have disrupted competition in the new-vehicle market in California but would provide no environmental benefits. Another Kirkland team that Stuart led obtained a preliminary injunction against a California regulation that gave a competitive advantage to in-state producers of motor-grade ethanol without any positive air-quality impact.

Stuart’s pro bono clients have been referred to Kirkland by organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, and Families Against Mandatory Minimums. His successes include the award of damages to a victim of the long-hidden and unlawful campaign against the U.S. Communist Party undertaken by federal agents in the 1950s, and the coordination of a Kirkland team that in 2017 obtained one of the largest jury-trial damage awards for an individual plaintiff in the history of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee.



Admissions & Qualifications

  • 1983District of Columbia


  • Yale UniversityJ.D.1981
    Note Editor, Yale Law Journal
  • Faculty of Law, University of CambridgeM.Litt.1981
  • Yale UniversityB.A.1977
    Phi Beta Kappa