Atif is “practical, concise, analytical and strategic” and “excellent at combining very strong litigation skills with excellent client service.” - Chambers, 2020 (Client Quote)

Atif Khawaja litigates high-value commercial disputes. He has successfully tried cases across the country, including claims of antitrust, breach of contract and fiduciary duty, fraud, misrepresentation, patent infringement, trade secret theft and unfair competition. He regularly handles major litigation for prominent businesses based outside the United States. His matters have been covered by international press, including The New York Times, Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal. He is recognized as one of the top litigators in the country by Chambers USA, The Legal 500 USA, Benchmark Litigation, Law360, the New York Law Journal and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. The National Law Journal recognized Atif as a “Litigation Trailblazer” in 2020, and many of his wins have been profiled by The American Lawyer in its “Litigator of the Week” contest. In 2022, Crain’s New York Business named Atif a “Notable Diverse Leader in Law.” According to a client quoted in Chambers USA in 2022, Atif “can take very complex issues and quickly distill the information into understandable sound bites to provide succinct advice.” And Thomson Reuters has recognized him as a “Stand-out Lawyer” for multiple years based on recommendations of senior in-house counsel.

Atif co-chairs Kirkland’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee and sits on its Associate and Partner Review committees. He is committed to pro bono service and oversees the pro bono program in Kirkland’s New York office. He also volunteers as a Director of The Legal Aid Society, the nation’s oldest and largest provider of legal aid to the poor.


Thought Leadership


“Kirkland Teaches Associates Deposition Skills Through Practice, Preparation,” Bloomberg BNA, May 30, 2019

“Discovery Process, Costs Can Confuse Foreign Companies Caught in U.S. Litigation,” Bloomberg BNA, March 12, 2019

“Can Your Overseas Company Be Taken to U.S. Court?,” Bloomberg BNA, March 4, 2019

“Supreme Court's Decision in 'BMS' Presents New Hurdles to Forum Shoppers,” New York Law Journal, December 18, 2017

“An Ounce of Prevention: Accidental Destruction of ESI Is Serious Business,” New York Law Journal, February 17, 2017


Recognized for Litigation: General Commercial by Chambers USA, 2022–2024

Recognized as a “Future Star” by Benchmark Litigation, 2020–2024


Admissions & Qualifications

  • 2003New York


  • United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan


  • Boston University School of LawJ.D.magna cum laude2002
    Boston University Law Review, Topic & Book Review Editor
  • University of VirginiaB.A., Biology & Religious Studies1999

Distinctions & Affiliations

Recognized as a “Litigation Trailblazer” by The National Law Journal, 2020

Ranked as a leading lawyer for General Commercial Litigation by Chambers USA, 2020–2023

Recognized as a leading lawyer for General Commercial Disputes by The Legal 500 USA, 2020–2021

Recognized as a “Future Star” by Benchmark Litigation, 2020–2023

Named to Lawyers of Color’s inaugural “Nation’s Best” list, 2019

Director, The Legal Aid Society, 2018–Present

Named one of eleven national “Rising Stars” by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, 2017

Named one of five “Rising Stars” in Intellectual Property, Law360, 2017

Named a “Rising Star” by the New York Law Journal, 2016

Recipient, Multicultural Leadership Award, National Diversity Council, 2014

Recipient, Kirkland & Ellis Pro Bono Service Award, 2006–2019

Fellow, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, 2015

Steering Committee, The American Lawyer, New Partner Forum