Kelly Ryan has a breadth of experience across the entire real estate funds marketplace that cannot be compared to any other industry expert including other attorneys, bankers, placement agents or consultants. The trust his clients place in him allows him to have the depth of knowledge and relationship that no one else has.” - The Legal 500 United States

Kelly Ryan is the global leader of the Firm’s real estate funds practice, with 25 years of experience focused exclusively on real estate private equity across the U.S., Europe and Asia. Kelly represents many of the largest global private equity firms, as well as sector-specific operators and allocators, newly formed spin-outs and family offices involved in launching investment vehicles, including open-end and permanent capital products, closed-end funds, club deals and separately managed accounts focused on real estate, infrastructure and other real assets. A significant portion of his practice also focuses on strategic investments, secondary transactions and other liquidity events involving private equity firms.

Kelly Ryan is recognized as a leading investment funds lawyer by numerous publications. Most recently, Kelly was ranked as a top tier attorney in Chambers Global 2023–2024 and Chambers USA 2023–2024 for Fund Formation. Market sources in Chambers Global 2024’s Band 1 ranking of Kirkland & Ellis’ Fund Formation Practice state that “Kelly is one of the most experienced funds attorneys in the industry,” and in Chambers Global 2023 sources state that “Kelly is a very practical and knowledgeable lawyer” and “has a terrific practice.” Sources in Chambers Global 2022 also state that Kelly “is an outstanding funds lawyer in the real estate space. He is incredibly knowledgeable and client-friendly,” and “he is the ‘go-to’ adviser for so many of the major real estate fund managers around the globe.” Kelly Ryan was also recognized as a global leader and leading lawyer by Who’s Who Legal for Private Funds 2020–2023, and as a notable practitioner by IFLR1000 2019–2023. In addition, The Legal 500’s first-tier ranking of Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s Fund Formation Practice recently explained that “[r]eal estate private equity specialist Kelly Ryan ‘is always able to come up with creative solutions to any problems that a fund faces,’” and he has been listed as a key lawyer for the last two years.


Thought Leadership


Moderator, “What next for global real estate investment?” PEI PERE Network America Forum, November 2023

Moderator, “Navigating A Turbulent Market: Leading Fund Manager Strategies” – New York, PERE America New York Forum, November 15, 2022

Moderator, “Seizing the Moment: Spotlight on Distressed and Opportunistic Investing” – New York, PERE America New York Forum, November 30, 2021

Presenter, Tax Incentives of Investing in Opportunity Zones – New York, Kirkland Seminar, December 18, 2018

Presenter, Tax Incentives of Investing in Opportunity Zones – Chicago, Kirkland Seminar, December 13, 2018

Interviewer, Ralph F. Rosenberg – Global Head of KKR's Real Estate Platform, 6th Annual Global Institutional Real Estate Investor Forum, December 11, 2018

Speaker, "Innovations in Capital Raising: Recent Trends from Buyout Funds as Applied to Real Estate," NAREIM 2018 | 2020 Investor Summit, May 11, 2018

Panelist, Kirkland & Ellis Global Trends and Issues in Private Equity and Real Estate Fund Raising Conference (Hong Kong), 2015

Guest Lecturer, "Structuring the Private Equity Fund," Columbia Business School (MBA Real Estate Program), 2012–2015

Panelist, Kirkland & Ellis Annual Real Estate Private Equity Symposium, 2011–2013


"Retail Real Estate Vehicles: Recent Developments," co-authored for PREA Quarterly, Spring 2024

"Liquidity Issues in Open-End Real Estate Funds: Key Considerations," co-authored for PREA Quarterly, Winter 2023

"Proposed IRS Regulations on Management Fee Waivers May Adversely Impact Real Estate Fund Managers," co-authored for PREA Quarterly, Fall 2015

"SEC Examinations: Examiners Shifting Focus to Real Estate Sponsors," co-authored for PREA Quarterly, Summer 2015

"Investing For the Long-Term," authored for PrivcapRE, Spring 2015

"Bespoke Fiduciary Duties in Delaware: Flexibility at What Cost?" co-authored for PREA Quarterly, Spring 2015

"The Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive: Key Considerations for US Fund Managers," co-authored for PREA Quarterly, Winter 2014

"The Proposed Hedge Fund Transparency Act of 2009," co-authored for PREA Quarterly, Spring 2009

"Private Equity/Funds," (co-author) Credit Market and Subprime Distress – Responding to Legal Issues, Practising Law Institute, 2008

Press Mentions

“Fund formation law firms see impact of volatility,” PERE, May 2023

“Real estate managers address pullback from money center banks,” PERE, November 2022

“The Real Estate Back Office of the Future,” CBRE Intelligent Investment Report, November, 2021

“How private RE became the land of the giants,” PERE, October 2019

"TPG Real Estate Partners’ $3.7 Billion Fund," Global Legal Chronicle, March, 2019

"Infra Funds Consider New Strategies as They Reach Maturity," Inframation, March, 2018

"How To Make Your PE Client's Real Estate Fund Stand Out," Law360, August, 2016

“Private Equity/Funds,” (co-author) Credit Market and Subprime Distress – Responding to Legal Issues, Practising Law Institute, 2008

Memberships & Affiliations

Big Shoulders Fund, Director

Chicago Public Library Foundation, Director, (2008–2018)

Economic Club of Chicago, Member

Pension Real Estate Association (PREA), Governmental Affairs Committee, Member

Walter E. Heller Foundation, Director, (2008–2023)

YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago’s Camp Independence, Director, (2009–2018)


Admissions & Qualifications

  • 2016New York
  • 1998Illinois


  • Northwestern Pritzker School of LawJ.D.1998
    Law Review
  • College of the Holy CrossB.A.1995