K&L Gates is Trimming Their Nonequity Partners Down
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K&L Gates

Summary: A majority of the mass of departures from K&L Gates can be credited with the firm’s efforts to only keep partners that produce business.

K&L Gates has had over 90 partners leave the firm in just seven months. Numbers that high have caused speculation and multiple explanations as to why this has happened from former partners and the firm’s chairman. While the 2,000 strong firm has been increasingly their global platform, the departure raises alarms.


Chairman Peter Kalis explains the changes as the firm’s effort to trim out their nonequity partners that don’t generate enough business. Many large law firms across the country are making the same efforts and is something that legal consultants have urged K&L Gates to do for a while.

The nonequity partners have either been asked to leave, “saw the writing on the wall”, or were unhappy with current compensation amounts. The firm has given up to a year for some attorneys to increase their business or find a new position. This may be unfair for some service partners that don’t generally bring in their own business and will struggle to do so in the struggling Pittsburgh market.

There is a need for associates that are between their sixth and eighth years to have this discussion about their business expectations and partnership requirements. If needed, these associates can be paired with mentors that have met the firm’s expectations in order to improve.

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While it may look like K&L Gates has been having a large departure, they have been promoting associates that are meeting business expectations.




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