The Financial Times named Kirkland & Ellis one of the top five most innovative North American law firms and legal service providers in its 2017 North America Innovative Lawyers Report. The FT reviewed more than 530 submissions from more than 160 law firms, legal service providers and in-house legal teams to compile its rankings report and awards for North America-based lawyers.
In the “Enabling Business Growth” category, Kirkland had the top-scoring nomination for its work advising Blackstone and Sanchez Energy Corp. on a strategic partnership, financing and acquisition of acreage in the Western Eagle Ford. The FT also recognized Kirkland with an award in this category during the North America Innovative Lawyers Awards dinner. In the report, the FT noted: “Sanchez Energy wanted to buy shale acreage worth $2.3 billion, but its chances looked slim as its market capitalization was only $300 million and shale energy is a stressed market. [Kirkland] devised a financing structure that allowed private equity firms Blackstone and GSO Capital to bid on an operatorship premium basis while allowing Sanchez to retain control of its business operations.”
Kirkland’s work on the Chapter 11 restructuring of Oro Negro, the Mexican offshore oil and gas company, was also “commended” in the “Managing Complexity and Scale” category. The FT recognized Kirkland for helping to “restructure $1.3 billion of aggregate debt and liabilities consensually. Notably, Kirkland helped merge two bond tranches under Norwegian law.”
The FT also recognized Kirkland twice in the “Data, Knowledge and Intelligence” category, including a “standout” ranking for CTRAN, Kirkland’s Corporate Transactions Database. The report notes this “proprietary database provid[es] useful information on previous deals and giv[es] attorneys real-time data on a customized dashboard. It allows the firm to recognize trends for deal terms and use that information for the benefit of clients.” Kirkland was also “commended” for developing “a customized database to track the experience of clients with the firm, which helps it in pitches and business development approaches. The litigation module helps it track and analyze case outcomes for clients.”
Additionally, Kirkland was “highly commended” in the “New Business and Service Delivery Models” category for using “eDiscovery as a strategic tool as part of its trial strategy. By treating eDiscovery as part of this strategy when appropriate and using high-quality technology, the firm achieved a significant win for a big client.”