The Financial Times recognized Kirkland & Ellis in four categories in its 2018 North America Innovative Lawyers Report. The FT reviewed more than 500 submissions from nearly 200 law firms, legal service providers and in-house legal teams to compile its rankings report and awards for North America-based lawyers.
Kirkland was listed as a “standout” firm in the “Rule of Law and Access to Justice” category. The Firm, along with Lambda Legal, successfully challenged the transgender military ban. In the report, the FT noted: “The firm established that gender identity is immutable and bears no relation to an individual’s ability to contribute to society, rather than tying gender discrimination to sex discrimination. The court ruled that the highest standard of judicial review, known as ‘strict scrutiny,’ must be applied in gender discrimination cases, meaning a policy must serve a compelling interest to be upheld.”
The FT also recognized Kirkland in the “Data, Knowledge and Intelligence” category with a “highly commended” rating. The FT noted Kirkland’s success in implementing “a plan to eliminate offsite storage of files, digitising all records. As well as cost and time savings in locating records, data is more secure and easy to manage under the firm’s data protection policy.”
Kirkland was also listed as a “commended” firm in the “Legal Expertise: Creating a New Standard” category for its efforts in conducting an outreach program to Toys “R” Us landlords during Chapter 11 proceedings. This program afforded those landlords additional time to accurately determine the value of their leases, thus keeping store locations open during the busy holiday shopping season.
Additionally, the FT noted Kirkland as a “commended” firm in the “Legal Expertise: Accessing New Markets and Capital” category. The Firm was lauded for developing an investment framework with an automotive client for a $2-plus billion investment from a multinational holding conglomerate into its self-driving car venture. Per the FT report, Kirkland “navigated the complex and evolving regulations of the autonomous vehicles industry.”