Sanford E. Perl (Sandy) concentrates on the corporate, securities and tax aspects of complex business transactions, including leveraged buy-outs of public and private companies; strategic mergers, acquisitions, investments and joint ventures; venture capital and growth equity investments; divestitures; initial public offerings; private equity fund formations; executive compensation; and debt and equity restructurings and workouts. He manages transactions in a wide variety of industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, distribution, staffing, leasing, transaction processing, biotechnology and media. Sandy joined Kirkland & Ellis in 1990, and has been a partner of the Firm since 1996.

Sandy serves on the Firm’s Administrative Committee and Finance Committee. He is also Chairman of the Firm’s Audit Committee.


Thought Leadership


"Divide and Conquer: Why and How to Bifurcate Your LBO's Equity Structure" (along with Jack S. Levin and Shelly M. Hirschtritt), Spring 2004, The Venture Capital Review


"Private Equity Trends & Challenges," 2011 Middle Market Investor Roundtable, Chicago, Illinois

"Evolving Strategies for Capital Appreciation: A Look at the Ovation Pharmaceuticals Success Story," moderator, 2010 Kellogg Private Equity & Venture Capital Conference, Chicago, Illinois

"Healthcare Finance," 2007, American Health Lawyers Association: Fundamentals of Health Law, Chicago, Illinois


Named the 2017 & 2024 "Lawyer of the Year” in the category of Leveraged Buyouts and Private Equity Law in Chicago by Best Lawyers in America©

Listed in the 2021 Lawdragon "500 Leading Lawyers" directory for "Mergers and Acquisitions" and "Private Equity" practice areas

Listed as a “Leading Lawyer for Business” in the category of “Private Equity” in Chambers USA every year since 2004 (Band 1 every year since 2011). The 2016 edition stated that Sandy is a "creative and strategic" lawyer. Peers have the "utmost respect" for his experience, and clients identify his "ability to negotiate his positions as exceptional." Previous editions of Chambers USA noted that Sandy “has deep experience and is very pragmatic,” is "top-notch," “obviously terrific” and describe him as having “a very prominent name” with a “hard work ethic.” Sources commend him for his ability "to communicate very complex issues with very few words."

Listed in the 2017 IFLR1000 "Leading Lawyers" directory for "Mergers and Acquisitions" and "Private Equity" practice areas

Listed in Best Lawyers in America in the categories of “Leveraged Buyouts & Private Equity” and “Mergers and Acquisitions” every year since 2006

Listed in The Legal 500 U.S. - Private Equity Buyouts: National (2009, 2012–2015, 2017–2019)

Listed in Super Lawyers every year since 2005

Certified Public Accountant, Illinois, 1987

Memberships & Affiliations

University of Illinois, Board of Trustees

American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), National Board of Directors 

Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, Board of Directors and past Chairman of JUF Lawyers and Governmental Agencies Division

Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, Executive Committee

Economic Club of Chicago

American Bar Association


Admissions & Qualifications

  • 1990Illinois


  • University of Michigan Law SchoolJ.D.magna cum laude1990
    Order of the Coif
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignB.S., Accountancywith High Honors1987
    Elijah Watt Sells Award on Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination