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Hot Jobs 2001

The Internet giveth and the Internet taketh away. Hence, cyberlaw and bankruptcy are two of today's hottest practice areas. Chicago-based Kirkland & Ellis boasts leading practices in both fields.

Star lawyer Marc Zwillinger heads the firm's Cyberlaw and Information Security group. Zwillinger, a national expert on hacking and other digital crimes, came to K&E in 2000 from the Justice Department's prestigious Computer Crime and Intellectual Property section. At DOJ, Zwillinger helped coordinate the investigation into the infamous Love Bug virus the May 2000 e-mail message with the subject line "I love you" that infected thousands of computer systems and caused billions in damages. Along with one of his former co-workers from Justice, the 31-year-old Zwillinger has built a thriving six-lawyer cyber practice at K&E. Among the group's accomplishments: It brought the first series of civil seizure orders (under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act) to impound devices used by pirates seeking to circumvent copyright protection. And it drafted compliance plans for foreign Internet gambling Web sites to ensure that they don't violate U.S. antigambling statutes. The lawyers have also trained in-house security staff at various corporations in how to respond to computer attacks.

James Sprayregen heads K&E's bankruptcy group. Sprayregen (who joined the firm in 1990 and made his mark in the mid '90s handling workouts and restructurings for Citicorp Venture Capital and Banque Paribas) has shaped the practice into one of the finest of its kind. In the past year, its client list has included boldfaced names such as TWA, W.R. Grace, Chiquita Brands, Zenith Electronics, and United Artists Theatres.

In addition to young Turks like Zwillinger and Sprayregen, K&E boasts an old Turk or two. Former Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr returned to the firm in May to pursue his Supreme Court and appellate practices.

K&E has nearly doubled in size in the past decade and now numbers 764 lawyers. The firm reviewed some 10,000 resumés between last September and early this year. About 2,000 lucky stiffs got interviews, 171 landed summer associate jobs, and 81 wound up as first-years for 2001. Bonus: The firm's two-tiered partner system and meritocratic culture make it easier to grab the brass ring fast.
Top Five Offices | Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, London
Total attorneys | 764
Major departments/practices | litigation, corporate/tax, bankruptcy
First-year pay | $125,000
2001 summer associates | 171
2001 fall first-years | 81
Who to call | Kimberley Klein, attorney recruiting manager, 312-861-2000
Web site |
Random firm-name anagram | LADEN KILL RISK

Reprinted with permission from JD Jungle.  This article first appeared in the September 2001 issue of JD Jungle.