Kara Maddalena is a member of the Investment Funds Practice Group in the San Francisco office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. She focuses her practice on advising clients on ERISA matters relating to the interplay between the structure and offering of investment vehicles and the fiduciary and prohibited transaction rules. Kara's work has a particular emphasis on working with joint ventures, private equity funds, real estate funds, opportunity funds, infrastructure funds, hedge funds, group trusts, bank collective trusts and insurance company separate accounts. Kara also provides ERISA and employee benefits compliance counsel to plan sponsors, trustees, investment managers, plan professionals, and service providers. Kara has deep expertise in withdrawal liability matters, representing plans in DOL and IRS audits, applying for exemptive relief, collecting delinquencies, resolving third party liens, and drafting and reviewing plan documents and agreements.

Prior to joining Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Kara gained significant experience in providing counsel to and litigating on behalf of multiemployer pension and welfare funds in ERISA matters. She also previously worked at the U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration where she investigated and assisted in litigation centered on ERISA violations. Additionally, at the U.S. Department of Labor, Kara was selected for and completed a one year detail with the Director of the Office of Enforcement where she conducted research on complex departmental policies, coordinated and managed broad multi-jurisdictional civil investigations, and provided expert technical advice and guidance to the field offices and senior executive staff.



Admissions & Qualifications

  • 2014California
  • 2020Massachusetts


  • United States District Court for the Northern District of California
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of California


  • English
  • Spanish


  • Northeastern University School of LawJ.D.2014

    Research Assistant, Professors of Constitutional Law, Legal Research and Writing

    Co-Chair, International Alternative Dispute Resolution Society

    Dean’s Merit Scholarship

    Law Academic Excellence Scholarship

    T.E. Cargill Scholarship

    Woodman Memorial Scholarship

    Udell White Scholarship

  • University of California, Los AngelesB.A., English Literature; Spanish Minormagna cum laude2011

    UCLA Regents Scholar

    11-99 Scholarship

    Editorial Writer, Daily Bruin

Other Distinctions

Certified Employee Benefits Specialist