Kelly Ryan leads the Firm’s Global Private Real Estate Funds Practice Group (with 20 years of experience in structuring real estate funds). His practice focuses on forming and structuring private real estate funds and their management companies. He has represented global investment managers as well as newly formed firms in structuring open-end and closed-end real estate funds (including core, value-added and opportunity), infrastructure funds and agriculture funds. He also represents sponsors and other investors in programmatic joint ventures, club structures, strategic investments, M&A and other significant transactions. In addition to his experience as an attorney, Kelly worked as an investment banker at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

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 2021 and Chambers USA 2020 for Fund Formation. Market sources in Chambers USA’s Tier 1 ranking of Kirkland & Ellis LLP's Fund Formation Practice Group state that Kelly provides “just the best experience in terms of work product and responsiveness.” Kelly Ryan was also recognized as a global leader and leading lawyer by Who’s Who Legal for Private Funds 2020–2021, and as a notable practitioner by IFLR1000 2019. 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.’”


Thought Leadership


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


"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

"TPG Real Estate Partners’ $3.7 Billion Fund," Global Legal Chronicle, March 29, 2019

"Infra Funds Consider New Strategies as They Reach Maturity," Inframation, March 6, 2018

"How To Make Your PE Client's Real Estate Fund Stand Out," Law360, August 9, 2016


Recognized by Who's Who Legal for Private Funds, 2020–2021

Recognized by IFLR1000 for Investment Funds, 2019–2021

Recognized by Chambers Global: USA, Investment Funds: Fund Formation, 2020–2021

Recognized by Chambers USA for Investment Funds, 2015 and 2019–2020

Recognized by The Legal 500 U.S. for Private Equity Funds, 2013–2016

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

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