An extremely hard-working and knowledgeable environmental lawyer who does not miss a beat. - The Legal 500

Sara K. Orr is a partner in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Sara advises clients around the world on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. She has almost two decades of experience working with private equity, public company and financial institutional clients on hundreds of complex environmental matters, and is a thought leader on sustainability and ESG issues. Her practice specifically focuses on sustainable finance, corporate sustainability programs, ESG reporting and disclosure, ESG due diligence, Equator Principles and IFC Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability, innovative climate solutions, and other ESG risks and opportunities.

Sara’s experience includes advising sponsors and lenders on multiple conventional and energy transition-focused projects and transactions, including wind, solar, biomass, and carbon capture, utilization and sequestration. She has represented clients on numerous international project financings of liquefied natural gas (LNG), petrochemical, pipeline and other major infrastructure projects. Sara also provides strategic insights gained from more than a decade of Washington, D.C. experience, including expertise with federal environmental and energy policy issues.


Thought Leadership


Financing for the Future: Surging Sustainable Finance Market Presents Challenges, Opportunities,” Kirkland Alert, August 16, 2021

Socially Conscious Leadership,” Risk & Compliance Magazine, June 2021

Surging Sustainable Finance Market Presents Opportunities for Energy and Infrastructure,” Kirkland Energy & Infrastructure Blog, May 24, 2021

Why the UN Sustainable Development Goals Matter to Clients,” American Bar Association, August 28, 2018

Introduction to Corporate Sustainability,” LexisNexis, 2017

The Department of Energy’s Simplified IIP Process Goes Into Effect in November,” Lexology, November 16, 2016

US Fish and Wildlife Service Moves Forward With Proposed Eagle Rule Revision,” JD Supra, September 28, 2016

White House Issues Final NEPA Guidance on Climate Change,” Breaking Energy, August 8, 2016

US FWS Announces Record of Decision Streamlining Wind Energy Permitting for the Upper Great Plains,” Lexology, July 21, 2016

6 Key Takeaways from the FWS’s Proposed Update to the Eagle Act Rules,” JD Supra, May 10, 2016

Drilling Down on DOI's Oil and Gas Regulatory Agenda,” Law360, July 21, 2015

Emerging Trends in Corporate Sustainability Reporting,” Law360, February 15, 2015

Speaking Engagements

Panelist, American Gas Association (AGA) Legal Forum’s Hydrogen Panel, July 26, 2021

Panelist, “The Role of Lawyers in Advising Clients on Effective, Long-term ESG Strategies,” IBA Webinar, July 14, 2021

Speaker, “Activism & ESG Developments: Lessons from the Exxon / Engine No. 1 Proxy Contest,” The Texas General Counsel Forum, July 7, 2021

Panelist, "Responding to Emerging Regulations," Strafford Webinar on ESG and Supply Chain, June 17, 2021

Session Panelist, “Climate Change: Finding the Opportunities,” Women Corporate Directors, September 2020

Panelist, Managing ESG Compliance in Complex Supply Chains, Strafford Webinar, June 17, 2020

Moderator, “Risk Hidden in Plain Sight: Exploring and Understanding the Corporate Supply Chain,” 4th Annual Sustainability Investment Leadership Conference, May 2019

Session Panelist, “Forecasting Petrochemical Industry Legal Issues,” EMLF Special Institute on Petrochemicals, April 2018

Session Panelist, “Reputation and Sustainability,” Sustainable Investment Leadership Counsel, November 2017

Session Moderator, “The Rapidly Expanding Natural Gas Market: How Will It Change Your Life?” American Bar Association 42nd National Spring Conference, March 2013

Conference Planning Committee, “Navigating the New Green Economy: The Challenges of Climate Change and the Opportunities for Clean Energy,” American Bar Association Standing Committee on Environmental Law, May 2011

Conference Coordinator, “The Environment: Chemicals Regulation–Reaching for TSCA Reform,” American Bar Association 38th National Spring Conference, June 2010


Tier 1, Environmental: Transactions, The Legal 500 United States

Memberships & Affiliations

Member, American Bar Association Section of Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law

Member, Environmental Law Institute

Member, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute


Admissions & Qualifications

  • 2002, Illinois
  • 2020, Texas
  • 2006, District of Columbia (inactive)


  • Harvard University Extension SchoolA.L.M., Psychology2021
    Dean's List Academic Achievement Award
  • University of Michigan Law SchoolJ.D.2002
    Journal of International Law
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignB.A., Englishmagna cum laude1999
    Phi Beta Kappa