In the Room Where Private Equity Happens at Kirkland & Ellis

Jon Ballis

Private Equity

Thought Leader

Episode: 277
October 24, 2022

Episode Description:

Jon Ballis is the Chairman of the Executive Committee of Kirkland & Ellis, one of the world’s leading law firms and the market leader in private equity. Kirkland generated $6 billion in revenue last year, including work with 700 investment fund clients and $443 billion in M&A deals across 1,000 transactions. Jon has been recognized in every edition of the Best Lawyers in America since 2006 and one of the top private equity lawyers by Private Equity Magazine.

Our conversation offers a different angle on what it takes to grow and manage a high-performance professional services firm. We cover Jon’s background and path to Kirkland, growth alongside private equity, oversight of Kirkland’s business model for attracting, compensating, and motivating talent, and management of a large professional services firm. We discuss his perspectives on changes in fund and deal terms in the private markets, private credit, retail interest, and the role of private capital on social issues and regulation.

Show Notes
4:42 Jon’s background
7:29 Business model of a law firm
13:23 Path to scale
15:32 Attracting talent
16:39 Compensation in a competitive industry
20:44 Getting the most out of a team
27:00 Managing and motivating people
30:32 Evolution of fund terms
34:05 Balance of power
35:51 Working with general partners
39:35 Behavior of private credit lenders
43:06 Handling social issues
47:03 Closing questions

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