Stephen L. Ritchie is a partner in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis. Steve's practice is concentrated in the areas of complex business transactions, with a particular focus on structuring, negotiating and managing the legal aspects of mergers, acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations, venture capital and growth equity investments, restructurings and workouts. He has also served as lead counsel in the representation of numerous portfolio companies of private equity funds.

Praised by clients for achieving "remarkable results on divestitures" and by peers as "one of those great lawyers who is easy to work with," Steve has been recognized by Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers for Business in Corporate/M&A: Private Equity every year from 2006–2023. He was also named the Best Lawyers' 2013 Chicago Leveraged Buyouts and Private Equity Law "Lawyer of the Year." Steve has also been listed in The Best Lawyers in America every year from 2007–2019 and as one of Illinois' Super Lawyers every year from 2005–2006 and 2008–2016. He has also been recognized by The Legal 500 U.S. every year from 2012–2019 for his work in Private Equity Buyouts.

In addition to his client work, Steve has served on the Firm's 15-member global Management Committee, and is Chairman of the Firm's Nonshare Partner and Associate Compensation Committee.



Law School Teaching

Lecturer, University of Chicago Law School, teaching "Private Equity Transactions: Issues and Documentation" (2011–Present)

Memberships & Affiliations

American Bar Association


Admissions & Qualifications

  • 1989Illinois


  • University of Chicago Law SchoolJ.D.1988

    Order of the Coif

    Associate Editor, The University of Chicago Law Review

  • University of VirginiaB.A.1985