Maureen O'Brien is a partner in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Maureen's practice includes a broad range of employee benefits and executive compensation matters, and she has extensive experience with the M&A aspects of employee benefits and executive compensation, including strategic and private equity transactions.

Maureen advises clients on the design and implementation of qualified and nonqualified retirement plans, welfare plans, Section 409A matters and equity and incentive compensation arrangements. Maureen also advises clients regarding defined benefit plan, multiemployer pension plan and retiree welfare plan design and liabilities, including negotiating settlements with multiemployer pension funds and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and representing clients before the Internal Revenue Service.

In addition to her transactional and employee benefit counseling practice, Maureen also represents debtors with respect to the employee benefits aspects of restructuring matters and has significant experience in the employee benefits and executive compensation aspects of financing agreements.

Maureen routinely advises clients on fiduciary matters and provides guidance on corporate governance matters affecting employee benefit plans and executive compensation.


Thought Leadership

Speaking Engagements & Publications

Maureen is a frequent speaker and webinar participant on employee benefits and executive compensation matters. She also has had articles published in various legal journals and publications.


The Legal 500 U.S., for Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation and Retirement Plans: Transactional, 2023

Leading Lawyer, 2018–2021

Best Lawyers for Employee Benefits (ERISA), 2019–2021


Admissions & Qualifications

  • 1998Illinois


  • Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Institute of Technologywith High Honors1998
    Order of the Coif
  • University of California, Los AngelesB.A., English Literature (Business Concentration)1995