Nicole Washington is a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, where she is a key member of the Firm’s Investment Funds Group. Nicole regularly represents domestic and international sponsors on forming, marketing and operating private investment funds, including buyout, secondary, direct lending, special situations, growth, mezzanine, opportunistic, real estate, infrastructure and other private investment vehicles, as well as on structuring, regulatory and compliance issues. Nicole advises private investment funds on a range of complex business transactions in the secondary market, including structured secondaries, fund recapitalizations and restructurings, and other GP-led transactions. She also advises some of the world’s most sophisticated private fund sponsors on internal management and succession planning, strategic investments, co-investment arrangements, joint ventures, and other investment management matters.

Nicole’s experience includes representing some of the largest and most diversified asset managers, as well as numerous small and middle-market managers on the formation of private investment funds ranging from several hundred million to multibillion dollars. In addition, Nicole has significant experience advising emerging managers in establishing asset management firms and raising first-time funds.

Nicole is “very experienced and a fantastic attorney” according to Chambers USA where she was ranked as a leading attorney and called out for “her strong practice advising on fund formation matters, including early-stage fundraises.” Nicole was also named to Crain’s New York list of Notable Woman in Law and Savoy 2022 Most Influential Black Lawyers. In 2021 she was profiled as one of Law360's Fund Formation MVPs, one of the most coveted awards that recognizes leading lawyers for their involvement in record-breaking deals and complex global matters. In 2021 she was also recognized as a 'Rising Star' by New York Law Journal as part of the 2021 New York Legal Awards and recognized as a ‘Next Generation Lawyer’ by The Legal 500 US. In 2020, Nicole was named by Law360 to the Fund Formation “Rising Stars” list, an annual ranking that recognizes outstanding legal talent under 40 years old. Nicole was also recognized for her commitment to advancing the empowerment of women in law in Corporate Counsel where she was named as an honoree in the “Collaborative Leadership” category as part of the Women, Influence & Power in Law Awards 2020. Nicole was recognized by The Council of Urban Professionals (CUP) as one of the 2021 “Catalysts in Law.” Honorees were recognized for achieving extraordinary professional success while making significant and impactful contributions to their community through volunteerism, philanthropy, board service and mentorship.

Nicole serves as co-chair of Kirkland’s Transactional Associate Review Committee, Billings and Collections Committee and New York Recruiting Committee; and is a member of Kirkland’s Committees on Diversity and Inclusion and Firmwide Recruiting. She serves on the Board of Directors of PeacePlayers International, Just the Beginning, and New Alternatives for Children; is on the Board of Trustees of Bennett College and the Museum of the City of New York; is a member of the Advisory Board of Asian University for Women; and is a founding member of the Board of Directors of Women in Secondaries.

Select Representative Clients

Antara Capital, Ares, Ariel Investments, BC Partners, Cartesian Capital, Cerberus, Clearlake Capital, GPI Capital, Hildred Capital Partners, KKR, Landmark Partners, Leeds Equity Partners, Macquarie, Newstone Capital Partners, Pátria Investments Ltd., Round Hill Music, TPG Capital, Veritas Capital and Whitehorse Liquidity Partners.


Thought Leadership


Moderator, "Q&A with Keynote Speaker Howard Sanders, Founder & Managing Director of Auldbrass Partners," 2022 Wharton Private Equity & Venture Capital Conference, April 1, 2022

Speaker, “Managing Your Firm’s Financial Assets: Management Fees and Waterfalls,” NAIC Next Generation of Private Equity Firms Symposium, March 2022

Speaker, “Fund Formation Legal Considerations,” NAIC Next Generation of Private Equity Firms Symposium, March 2022 

Panelist, “Unconventional Paths to Liquidity,” ICR Conference 2022, January 2022

Moderator, “The GP-led Secondary Deal: Ensuring that it Works For Your Firm, Your LPs, and Your Companies,” Women’s Private Capital Summit, November 2021 

Speaker, “Recent Boom in Secondaries Fund Formation Platforms,” Liquidity Solutions Academy, November 2021 

Speaker, “Cross-Fund Sales: No Longer Taboo?,” The Weekly Knockout (Kayo Conference Series), August 2020

Speaker, “Unconventional Paths to Liquidity: Fund-Related Solutions to Exiting Portfolio Companies,” Kirkland & Ellis Webinar, August 2020

Speaker, “Continued Momentum of the Closed-End Fund Market,” Maples Investment Funds Forum, February 2020

Keynote Speaker, Columbia Business School, 26th Annual Private Equity Conference, February 2020

Moderator, “Breaking the Private Equity/Alternatives Glass Ceiling: Why Women Investing in Women-Led Firms Is the Answer,” Women’s Alternative Investment Summit, November 2019

Speaker, “Legal Matters: Fund Formation Considerations,” NAIC Next Generation of Private Equity Firms Symposium, May 2019

Speaker, “Private Debt Outlook: What are the Latest Developments,” LPGP Connect Women in Private Debt, May 2018

Moderator, “Plenary Panel: Institutional Investor Perspectives,” 3rd Annual Kayo Women’s Energy Investment Summit, June 2017

Panelist, Harvard Business School, 22nd Annual Venture Capital and Private Equity Conference, March 2016

Panelist, Maples and Calder, Maples FS, Maples Investment Funds Forum, February 2016

Press Mentions

Quoted, “Story of the Year: Continuation Funds on the Rise,” Private Equity International, December 2021

Quoted, “Trends and Developments in Secondary Fund Formation Platforms,” Private Equity Law Report, December 2021

Quoted, “What Will the Secondaries Market Look Like in 2022?,” Secondaries Investor, December 2021 

Quoted, “Wins Network Launches to Promote Women in Secondaries,” Secondaries Investor, March 2021


Recognized in Chambers USA for Private Equity: Fund Formation (2022–2023)

“Most Influential Black Lawyers” by Savoy, 2022 

“Notable Women in Law” by Crain’s New York, 2022 

“MVPs of the Year” in Fund Formation by Law360, 2021

“Catalysts in Law” by Council of Urban Professionals, 2021

“Rising Star” by New York Law Journal, 2021

“Next Generation Lawyer” by The Legal 500 US, 2021–2023

“Rising Star” in Fund Formation by Law360, 2020

Honoree in Collaborative Leadership by Corporate Counsel, 2020

Memberships & Affiliations

Trustee, National Portrait Gallery


Admissions & Qualifications

  • District of Columbia
  • New York


  • Harvard Law SchoolJ.D.
  • Columbia UniversityB.A., Political Science