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Associate Director of Human Resources

Job ID: 7140

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

Location: Los Angeles, CA, 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 3,500+ lawyers) operating from 19 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

The Associate Director of HR is a member of the Firmwide HR leadership team and provides strategic and day to day leadership to ensure that HR strategies are identified and effectively implemented in alignment with the Firm’s Business support strategy.

Reporting to the Chief Human Resources Officer, the Associate Director of HR is responsible for ensuring excellent client service as an HR Business Partner supporting both the Los Angeles office and a FW department and the respective Senior Staff leaders they support. The individual is a trusted business advisor to Senior Staff and proactively approaches business needs of the office and the FW department with a deep understanding of the objectives and goals of each. The individual in this role has excellent business partner, change management, and organizational development skills.

  • The Associate Director of HR proactively works with Senior Staff as a trusted business advisor to create talent strategies in their departments.  Partnering with the HR Centers of Expertise (COEs), the Associate Director of HR brings ideas and solutions to all aspects of the employee lifecycle including: talent acquisition, onboarding, integration and retention of elite talent, employee relations, performance evaluations, compensation administration, performance improvement plans, department engagement, and terminations.
  • The Associate Director of HR will provide both overall strategic HR leadership and hands on day-to-day support to the Firm’s Los Angeles office and monitors overall engagement of employees in the office. This position requires excellent business partnering, change management, and organizational development skills. Managing a local HR team, the individual in this role will ensure that all local HR programming runs seamlessly.
  • Talent Acquisition: Works closely and collaborates with the TA team and Recruiting Business Advisors to develop a recruiting strategy for the supported office and department that attracts elite talent from the marketplace, delivering qualified candidates on time and in the most cost-effective way.
  • Talent Management: Supports Senior Staff and office and department leaders to monitor performance levels and oversees evaluation process, including identifying high performers and those falling behind, as input into an overall Talent management plan that identifies development opportunities and potential career paths for individuals. The Associate Director of HR collaborates with the Talent Management COE and Integration, Development and Retention COE to identify development opportunities for individuals in the department and helps to ensure that real-time feedback is provided throughout the year. 
  • Employee Relations: Addresses employee relations matters that arise locally, including conducting initial in-take conversations with employees who bring concerns to them. The Associate Director of HR uses excellent judgment to ensure that all perspectives will be taken into account with a holistic approach to employee relations including the local office, department, and overall Firm perspectives.
  • Local Office Associate Matters: Acts as the Human Resources contact for local office associates and partners. Works closely with partners in conjunction with the ER COE (and the Office of General Counsel) on all attorney employee relations matters including outplacements as a result of the annual and mid-year review processes.
  • This position will report directly to the Chief Human Resources Officer with a dotted line to the Los Angeles 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 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 ensures 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.
  • Develop and/or lead change management efforts across all phases of projects and initiatives to drive the Firm’s culture of continuous improvement.
  • 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 Talent Acquisition strategy for key positions, delivering qualified candidates on time and in the most cost-effective way.

Strategic Consulting

  • Proactively partnering with stakeholders to develop solutions to challenges and influence business decisions while meeting employee needs across the employee experience life cycle with strong deductive reasoning skills.
  • Driving performance management and proactively managing problem areas and key issues.

Excellent judgment

  • Proactively analyzing situations 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 Los Angeles 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.
  • Proven change management skills. 
  • 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."

For applicants who are based in Los Angeles, visit the following link for pay range information:

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. #LI-Hybrid #LI-KP1