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Associate Director of Human Resources

Job ID: 6958

Updated: Dec 19, 2022

Location: Washington, DC, United States

Category: Human Resources


About Kirkland & Ellis

At Kirkland & Ellis, we are united in our ambition and drive to move forward. We share core values that help us achieve excellence: collaboration, talent empowerment, service, inclusion, respect and gratitude. Our people are our greatest asset, and we invest in the brightest talent and encourage a diversity of perspectives and strengths to create dynamic teams that operate at the pinnacle of their field. Our talented professionals show up every day knowing they will engage in meaningful work, continuous learning and professional development.
As one of the world’s leading law firms, we serve a broad range of clients with market-leading practices in private equity, M&A and other complex corporate transactions; investment fund formation and management; restructurings; high-stakes litigation and trials; and government, regulatory and internal investigations. We handle the most complicated and sophisticated legal matters because we don’t just meet industry standards, we create them. We bring innovation and entrepreneurialism to every engagement and, as a result, have long-standing client relationships with leading global corporations and financial sponsors. With 6,500 employees (including 3,000+ lawyers) operating from 18 offices across the United States, Europe and Asia, we are one of the largest law firms in the world and a top financial performer.

Essential Job Functions

This job description will be reviewed periodically and is subject to change by management and/or Human Resources.


  • The Associate Director of HR will provide both overall strategic HR leadership and hands on day-to-day support to the Firm’s Washington DC office. This position requires excellent business partnering, change management, and organizational development skills. The successful candidate will have a strong understanding of practical and applicable organization processes and structures, combined with Human Resources expertise. 
  • The Associate Director of HR must have extensive experience in employee relations, recruiting, and compensation administration. The individual must have a track record of being a trusted HR Business Partner to leaders and as successful Human Resources leader in a large to mid-size law firm or professional services firm and experience managing staff. The individual in this role needs to ensure that the organization’s goals are met through recruiting, coaching, developing, and retaining an outstanding team of managers, paralegals, practice assistants, and support staff.  This position is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Firm’s Human Resources polices.
  • The Associate Director of HR works within established policies and firmwide parameters to promote, deploy, and communicate standards of professional development, compensation parity and ensure compliance within the law.
  • The Associate Director of HR is responsible for monitoring engagement of employees in the office and in collaboration with the CHRO and Senior Director of Administration will identify and implement strategies to increase employees’ morale and feeling of connection to the Firm, local office, and one another.
  • This position will report directly to the Chief Human Resources Officer with a dotted line to the Washington DC Senior Director of Administration.

KEY COMPETENCIES & ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS (This list is not exhaustive and may be supplemented and changed as necessary.)

Strong business acumen

  • Using extensive resources to stay up to date in the law firm industry with a deep understanding of the context in which our firm operates and how work is done within business units.
  • Collaborating with HR functional leaders across the Firm to develop HR business solutions.
  • Maintaining knowledge of legal requirements and government reporting requirements and regulations affecting human resources and proactively ensure business practices are in compliance.


  • Applying an agile thought process, anticipating and flexing to the changing needs and priorities of the business unit, changing course when necessary.

Relationship management

  • Building relationships and coordinating effectively among a wide range of stakeholders and collaborators working across offices, departments, and staff levels to partner and influence.
  • Having strong relationships with local business unit leaders and with HR functional leaders across the Firm. Serving as “trusted advisor” to local business unit leaders to ensure consistent staff development opportunities and fair implementation of disciplinary measures as needed.
  • Working closely with the leadership and managers in the office to develop a comprehensive recruiting/staffing strategy for key positions, delivering qualified candidates on time and in the most cost-effective way.

Strategic consulting

  • Partnering with stakeholders proactively developing solutions to challenges and influencing business decisions while meeting employee needs across the employee experience life cycle with strong deductive reasoning skills.
  • Driving performance management, proactively manage problem areas and key issues.

Excellent judgment

  • Acting proactively and solving problems in a client-centric way handling, analyzing, interpreting and communicating effectively and responsibly to drive business outcomes.
  • Managing and developing Human Resources staff in the Washington office, leading with empathy, fostering creativity, and motivating to achieve results.

Qualifications & Requirements

Education, Work Experience, Skills

  • A Bachelor’s degree. PHR or SHRM-CP certification is preferred.
  • The ideal candidate will have a minimum of ten (10) years human resources experience including a minimum of five (5) years of employee management experience within a professional services environment.
  • Must possess deep knowledge of Federal and local employment laws.
  • Strong familiarity with employee relations, as well as knowledge of legal requirements and government reporting requirements and regulations affecting human resources.
  • Ability to effectively manage and develop HR staff.
  • Demonstrated strategic ability and analytical skill, with a proven ability to use analytics to drive decision making.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, with an ability to inspire trust and confidence at all levels. Proven success working cross-functionally in an organization. Must have strong communication skills, both verbally and written word.
  • Demonstrated leadership talent, with the ability to motivate all levels of employees through excellent judgment, professional competence, credibility, flexibility, and personal integrity.


  • PeopleSoft, preferably version 9.2
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite

How to Apply

Thank you for your interest in Kirkland & Ellis LLP.  To complete an application and submit your resume, please click "Apply Now."

Equal Employment Opportunity

All employment decisions, including the recruiting, hiring, placement, training availability, promotion, compensation, evaluation, disciplinary actions, and termination of employment (if necessary) are made without regard to the employee’s race, color, creed, religion, sex, pregnancy or childbirth, personal appearance, family responsibilities, sexual orientation or preference, gender identity, political affiliation, source of income, place of residence, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, age, marital status, military veteran status, unfavorable discharge from military service, physical or mental disability, or on any other basis prohibited by applicable law.

Closing Statement

The job postings and recruiting mailbox are for candidates only. If you are a recruiter, search firm or employment agency, and do not have a signed contract with Kirkland & Ellis LLP ("K&E") and have not been asked specifically to submit candidates, you will not be compensated in any way for your referral of a candidate even if K&E hires the candidate. Direct contact with K&E employees in an attempt to present candidates is inappropriate and will be a factor in determining any future professional relationship with the Firm.