Steve Napolitano is a corporate partner in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

Steve represents private equity funds, family offices and public and private corporations in connection with leveraged buyouts, mergers and acquisitions, going private transactions, growth equity financings, senior and mezzanine debt financings, joint ventures, recapitalizations and restructurings. He also has substantial experience representing private equity sponsors, corporations and senior management teams in connection with a broad range of management equity arrangements. In addition, he regularly counsels corporations and their boards of directors in connection with general corporate law, corporate governance, business and fiduciary duty matters.

Steve has particular experience with private equity, merger & acquisition, joint venture, financing and restructuring transactions in the heavily-regulated for-profit healthcare industry, where he has served as lead counsel in numerous private and public transactions involving complex federal and state healthcare regulatory considerations.

Previously, Steve served as the Co-Chair of DLA Piper’s U.S. Private Equity Practice and was a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee and Policy Committee. Steve has spoken extensively on private equity and mergers and acquisitions topics throughout the U.S. and internationally.



Steve has received a number of prestigious professional commendations. Since 2003, he has been repeatedly recognized by Chambers & Partners in their Chambers Global and Chambers USA legal directories, where clients and peers have commented that Steve is an “outstanding lawyer” who “knows his stuff and doesn't over-lawyer an issue.” “[H]e is highly regarded for his commercial approach to the law.” Steve “thinks like a private investor” and clients respect him for his “excellent handling of large groups during crucial negotiating sessions.” He has been described by clients as “very smart and driven,” and “an incredibly savvy attorney.” Peers have called Steve “a worthy competitor,” and he “is lauded as ‘a brilliant attorney. He has got the whole package; he's incredibly bright and knowledgeable and phenomenal in terms of dealing with people.’ Clients benefit from his extensive capabilities.”

The Legal 500 U.S. has repeatedly recommended Steve for his “creative” work. Steve is cited in The Best Lawyers in America as a leading lawyer in the field of mergers & acquisitions. He also has been recognized by Euromoney Legal Media Group as one of the leading mergers & acquisitions and private equity lawyers in the United States.

In 2021 and 2022, Steve was selected to Lawdragon's Leading Dealmakers in America guide. In 2020, Steve was included in Expert Guides’ 9th edition of the Banking, Finance and Transactional Guide.

According to the Leading Lawyers Network, Steve is a top Illinois lawyer in mergers and acquisitions, securities and venture finance and health law. He also has been recognized since 2004 as an Illinois Super Lawyer in mergers and acquisitions.

Memberships & Affiliations

American Bar Association 

Association for Corporate Growth

Board of Directors, Malignant Hyperthermia Association of the United States

Chairman, Board of Directors; Member and Chairman, Executive and Operating Committees, UCP/Seguin

Board of Directors, John P. McNicholas Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (an affiliate of Lurie Children’s Hospital)

Mentor and benefactor of the LINK Scholarship Program, which sends inner-city students to prominent private high schools in the Chicago Metropolitan area

Former member of The Board of Directors of multiple public and private corporations


Admissions & Qualifications

  • Illinois


  • Boston University School of LawJ.D.

    Editor, American Journal of Law & Medicine

    American Jurisprudence Award recipient

    G. Joseph Tauro Scholar

  • University of Notre DameB.A., Economics

    Omicron Epsilon Delta