As the largest, most active investment funds practice of any law firm in the world, we are uniquely positioned to provide sophisticated market intelligence and cutting-edge solutions to investment funds and their general partner sponsors in today’s market.
Our team addresses the legal, regulatory, tax and commercial challenges facing a diverse group of investment fund clients, ranging from some of the world’s largest alternative-asset managers and financial institutions to independent boutiques and first-time fund sponsors. In addition, we represent an array of leading institutional investors throughout the world, including sovereign wealth funds, family offices, corporations and other participants in private funds.
With a team of attorneys in North America, Europe and Asia, we have established a global footprint, offering comprehensive services, including:
- Private fund formation
- Liquidity solutions
- Investment management and regulatory counsel and support
- Strategic GP advisory
We offer a deep regulatory bench with a wealth of global experience. Several of our attorneys have held senior, policy-making and enforcement positions in the key regulatory agencies governing the industry. This on-the-ground experience allows us to help clients implement customized, practical strategies.
Private Fund Formation
With one of the largest dedicated fund formation teams globally and a broad and diverse client base, Kirkland is a clear market leader in the fund formation space. Kirkland’s fund formation practice has maintained a Tier 1 ranking in Chambers Global for the past eight consecutive years.
Since January 2019, Kirkland has advised more than 800 unique sponsors on the formation of over 1,900 funds with total capital commitments in excess of $2.17 trillion. While Kirkland’s fund formation clients include many multi-billion dollar fund managers, Kirkland also represents many middle and lower-middle-market firms, including firms raising their first institutional fund. Kirkland seeks to become a long-term partner to its fund formation clients by proactively providing market insights and advice not only during a fundraise, but during all phases of a fund’s life cycle. Kirkland has a highly diverse fund formation practice and has extensive experience forming funds across the spectrum of private fund offerings.
Kirkland’s market-leading liquidity solutions practice advises on a broad spectrum of transactions in the secondary market. For more than a decade Kirkland has been at the very forefront of the evolution of the liquidity solutions space in the U.S., Europe and Asia and continues to benefit from a significant ‘early mover’ advantage in each market as they mature.
Our experienced practice brings together a deep knowledge of alternative fund products with an integrated and multidisciplinary team of attorneys to advise fund sponsors, buyers (including lead investors and syndicate participants in GP-led liquidity transactions), sellers, management teams, financial advisors and fairness opinion providers. Year after year in the U.S., Europe and Asia, Kirkland significantly surpasses other law firms in secondaries market volume (source: Private Equity International), having advised clients on a large proportion of all transactions executed to date. As the secondaries market continues to grow, we built a platform to meet that demand with more than 50 dedicated secondaries attorneys and 570 attorneys in the U.S., Europe and Asia focused on investment funds and a global platform of attorneys in every discipline including tax, regulatory and M&A. Our large global platform is coupled with vast industry knowledge, allowing us to provide sophisticated legal advice and offer novel solutions across a wide range of strategies and fund products. Our platform is further enhanced by an extensive global network of contacts and proprietary databases that enable us to provide clients with timely market insights.
Our Investment Funds Practice Group includes a regulatory solutions practice, with attorneys whose experience spans multiple regulatory regimes and diverse product types. Kirkland offers a deep, coordinated regulatory bench and a wealth of global regulatory experience, with talent derived from 85+ attorneys with decades of experience in private practice as well as in senior positions with government agencies, including the SEC. Kirkland’s partners include a former SEC Director of the Division of Investment Management, SEC Deputy Director of Examinations, Associate Director of Rulemaking as well as a former Associate Director in the Division of Enforcement and Senior Counsel to the Director of Enforcement, among others. This, coupled with Kirkland’s significant number of registered private fund investment adviser clients, means Kirkland’s regulatory and compliance practice is equipped to provide unique insights into the marketplace, and the operation of SEC, its policies and procedures, its Enforcement docket and regulatory matters, and the dynamics of the SEC’s decision-making process. Combined with the Firm’s Government, Regulatory & Internal Investigations practice, our International Risk & Investigations practice and our International Trade & National Security group, and leveraging strong integration with our leading Private Equity / M&A and Tax practices, Kirkland provides effective, proactive, and creative solutions to complex regulatory, enforcement and compliance issues. Our regulatory and compliance practice includes a focus on private fund investment manager registration, compliance and examinations, formation and operation of registered alternative funds and products, mergers, acquisitions, spin offs of investment advisers and broker-dealers and complex Investment Company Act status and structuring issues.
Kirkland’s Investment Funds attorneys have extensive experience advising on a broad spectrum of sensitive and mission critical regulatory and compliance issues. This is paired with Kirkland’s ability to leverage vast resources to navigate the intersection between core investment management regulatory regimes, such as the Investment Advisers Act, Investment Company Act, Securities Act, Securities Exchange Act, Commodity Exchange Act and Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD), as well as ERISA, tax and banking laws and regulations.
Investment management experience includes:
- Engagement at every stage of an SEC exam or enforcement action
- Development of, and regulatory engagement with respect to, innovative registered and exempt pooled investment vehicles, including mutual funds, hedge funds, liquid alternatives, exchange traded funds, business development companies, employee securities companies and special purpose companies
- Advice with respect to the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD)
- Organization and operation of a wide range of registered fund and hedge fund products
- Providing sophisticated formation and operations advice to fund advisers, including with respect to regulatory compliance
- Development, documentation and implementation of compliance policies and procedures and training of firm personnel
- Extensive experience structuring and advising issuers on avoiding investment company status under the Investment Company Act
- M&A and transactional support
Kirkland’s investment management attorneys provide industry experience in financial services transactions involving investment advisers, broker-dealers and other non-bank financial services firms and have worked on several of the largest asset management M&A transactions of the past several years. M&A experience includes mergers, acquisitions, minority investments, joint ventures, spin-outs and other transactions. Kirkland has extensive experience representing private equity firms buying and selling asset managers. Kirkland’s investment management attorneys work with our transactional, tax, ERISA and other teams to provide our clients with hands on experience of successfully executing transactions in this highly regulated industry.
Strategic GP Advisory
Registered Funds & Retail Products
Our Investment Funds Practice Group includes a dynamic, market-leading registered funds and retail products team advising on all aspects of retail investment management. Clients turn to our team when seeking to launch and operate a retail-oriented business, employ innovative and sophisticated solutions and navigate the evolving regulatory landscape applicable to these products and their sponsors.
Our clients reflect a wide array of long-standing asset managers and fund complexes, along with a significant number of “alternative” sponsors who are more recent entrants into the retail market. Our team has significant experience structuring, forming, launching and advising on the ongoing operations of products, including funds of funds, "direct access" funds, BDCs and REITs across alternative asset classes, including private equity, private credit, real estate and infrastructure, utilizing complicated investment strategies, including complex derivative structuring and other liquid alternative arrangements.
Emerging Manager Practice
Kirkland’s emerging manager practice represents the Firm’s commitment to working with the next generation of investment fund managers and helping them launch their firms, fundraise, and be positioned for long-term success. Our dedication to serving the unique needs of emerging managers has never been stronger; since January 2018 alone, Kirkland has advised on more than 130 first time funds.
Kirkland’s culture and spirit of supporting entrepreneurship is at the heart of the Firm’s emerging manager practice. The practice builds upon the Firm’s deep-rooted history advising emerging managers (including spin outs, industry executives, bank carve-outs and team-ups) across all asset classes and strategy types. In fact, some of the largest, most established private equity firms in the world today are firms that Kirkland has worked with since their inception.
Kirkland is committed to fostering long-term relationships with emerging managers and acting as partners at their side as they grow. We seek to not only be trusted legal advisers, but also value-added strategic partners, providing our clients with integrated, full-service solutions, practical business advice, market knowledge and industry connections that are second to none.
As part of the Firm’s global Investment Funds Practice Group, emerging manager clients have a dedicated team of legal and strategic advisors (including in-house former senior placement agent professionals and an outside advisory board comprised of leading industry players) and access to the same multi-disciplinary experience, market insights, thought leadership and resources as the Firm’s largest, most-established clients.
Kirkland’s unparalleled experience, market connectivity and ability to scale as emerging managers grow uniquely positions the Firm to efficiently and strategically guide clients through all aspects of the fund formation process, launch of a new firm and beyond.
Institutional Investor Representation
Kirkland’s investment funds attorneys recognize the importance that investors place on creating strong and longstanding relationships with their GP sponsors and pride themselves on helping clients create, develop and maintain those relationships. Kirkland seeks to provide straightforward, commercial advice and focus on a streamlined and efficient process to concluding investor negotiations. Kirkland has also been at the forefront of negotiating and structuring separately managed accounts or funds-of-one, both on the investor side and the sponsor side and is acutely aware of the legal, commercial and regulatory issues that need to be considered.
Additionally, due to Kirkland’s many close relationships with key industry players, the firm has historically been able to provide clients networking opportunities with more than 700 top-tier GP sponsor clients across the globe, including transactional opportunity referrals, introductions to GPs, active co-investment opportunities and client-specific seminars and events. Kirkland strongly believes this is a meaningful “value-add” for clients that sets Kirkland apart from peer firms.