UPDATED (3:27 p.m.)
Kirkland & Ellis has made a few high profile pick ups in recent weeks. Today, the news broke that they’ve hired two of Skadden’s top corporate dogs.
According to The New York Times, former Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom partners David Fox and Daniel Wolf have jumped to Kirkland & Ellis’ New York office, taking with them client portfolios that the Times reports brought in tens of millions of dollars for the firm each year.
Fox, 51, is an M&A lawyer and was reportedly among Skadden’s most highly paid partners. He joined the firm more than 20 years ago. Wolf, 36, is also a corporate partner and was one of the youngest lawyers to make partner at Skadden when he got the nod at age 30. Both lawyers worked together on BHP Billiton’s $150 billion bid for Rio Tinto.
According to the Times, Fox and Wolf were drawn to Kirkland by "an opportunity to build the firm, based in Chicago, into one of the top five worldwide M.& A. advisers."
Skadden’s gross revenue at the firm was $2.2 billion, but profits per partner ($2.07 million) are lower than the PPP of $2.47 million top-tier equity partners receive at Kirkland. Skadden, which routinely ranks atop the AmLaw 100, has a one-tier partnership with 470 equity partners among the firm's roughly 2,100 lawyers; Kirkland & Ellis has a two-tier partnership, with 235 equity partners among its 1333 lawyers.
The addition of Fox and Wolf comes shortly after Kirkland announced two more big hires. Former Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip ditched Skadden, where he worked in the firm’s Chicago office from 1999 to 2004, to join Kirkland, The National Law Journal reported last week. The firm also marked the return of former White House Office of Management and Budget general counsel Jeffrey Rosen last week. Rosen was previously a partner at the firm for 21 years and had been on the firmwide management committee.
Skadden issued a statement regarding the departure of Fox and Wolf, saying "David and Daniel have been members of our M&A department for many years. We wish them well in this new endeavor to help develop Kirkland & Ellis's M&A practice."
Skadden has made a few big name pick-ups of its own lately. Earlier this week, the firm announced that it was adding John Beisner, who chaired the class actions practice at O'Melveny & Myers, and O'Melveny litigators Stephen Harburg and Jessica Davidson Miller to its Washington office.
UPDATE: Thomas Yannucci, chairman of Kirkland's worldwide management committee and a partner in the firm’s Washington office, says the move to go after Fox and Wolf was a way to "provide more depth" to the firm's clients.
"We were looking to enhance our M&A practice in our New York office, and Daniel and David fit into the culture of our firm," Yanucci says. "They're both very high energy and have a wide array of skills. Today is a good day for us."