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HR Operations Specialist

Job ID: 7569

Updated: Feb 1, 2024

Location: Chicago, IL, 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 alternative asset management; restructurings; high-stakes commercial and intellectual property litigation; 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 20 offices across the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, we are one of the largest law firms in the world and a top financial performer.

Essential Job Functions

This position is assigned to the HR Operations department, whose goal is to support the efficient operation of the Firm’s Human Resource function, by effectively managing systems, data, and information processes.

The HR Operations department is primarily responsible for updating and maintaining accurate HR, Benefit, Payroll, Timestamp and Absence-related data in the Firm’s Core HCM system (PeopleSoft), ensuring that HR data is regularly audited, reliable, and fit for reporting and payroll processing. 

The HR Operations team is responsible for understanding the data needs of our upstream and downstream consumers, responding to report requests for HR Data and training staff to report on HR Data using the Firm’s HR System.

The HR Operations team is also responsible for leading and participating in all HR data-related initiatives such as new system implementations and upgrades that dovetail with HR data, system enhancements and bug fixes, and any other business process change involving the Human Resource function and its data.  This includes leading change management efforts through the lens of the end-user, to drive adoption and improve the end-user’s experience with HR software.

The HR Operations department is seeking an HR Operations Specialist to support the team both by entering transactions into the Firm’s HCM system, and by assisting management with planning and executing on department initiatives, as assigned.  Projects can be limited in scope such as targeted data clean-up on one field, or broader in scope such as fit-gap analysis and implementing HR process redesign.

The HR Operations Specialist role requires a results-driven professional who is highly organized, willing to serve as a lead to the assistants and coordinators on the team, and can effectively communicate with all levels of the organization. The role is expected to operate with efficiency and enthusiasm, providing seamless customer service to the variety of functions that the HR Operations team partners with including recruiting, payroll, benefits, and HRIS.


Data entry-related activities expected to be ~50% of job duties

  • Complete accurate and timely entries into the Firm’s HCM system to include re/hires, full life-cycle changes such as job title updates and promotions, schedule changes, office and department transfers, compensation and bonus updates, a variety of benefit enrollments, and terminations.  Data entry includes updating personal changes such as name, phone, address, email, citizenship, diversity demographics, education, clerkships, languages, office assignments, remote worker agreements, etc. 
  • Track HR operational items such as updating bonus-tracking sheets per payroll, and for very closely following the Firm’s payroll cut-off schedule. 
  • Run queries out of PeopleSoft to support requests for data.
  • Respond to employees using standard email response templates, and also for cataloguing, retaining and filing appropriate back-up paperwork. 
  • Will work closely with individuals assigned to manage terminations at the Firm, following a termination process checklist, creating written instructions for Payroll and local offices on a Payroll Order document, and calculating final benefit deductions for the departing individual. 
  • Responsible for quality-control checking other team member’s work, based on data entry definitions and guidelines. 
  • Support testing and implementation activities for PeopleSoft upgrades, system enhancements, and bug fixes.

Other assigned work expected to be ~50% of job duties

  • The HR Operations Specialist role is a broad role that supports the entire team’s efforts and will be expected to manage and execute on assigned tasks within any of the disciplines we are responsible for. 
  • Act as a point of contact and subject matter expert for the team regarding HR data or process-related inquiries. 
  • Responsible for identifying and operationalizing opportunities for improvement on behalf of the team, all while maintaining an attitude of “no task is too small and no project too big”.  
  • Responsible for training the team’s junior team members and other colleagues on our processes, and also for creating and maintaining step-by-step process documentation.
  • Provide requirements and assist with testing all assigned projects while use project management skills when participating in projects to include creating and updating project-related documentation. 
  • Foster excellent cross-functional relationships with all HR and Payroll application departments including the Firm’s HRIS Analysts, HR Business Partners, Local-Office HR Staff, Benefits and Wellbeing, Compensation, Employee Relations, Staff and Legal Recruiting Talent Acquisition (Recruiting). 

The ideal candidate will possess the following key competencies:

  • Results-driven, based on strategy and direction set by management
  • Self-managing: ability to set and prioritize goals and be responsible for staying focused in order to accomplish objectives
  • Proven ability to manage competing priorities in a high-pressure environment
  • Ability to meet deadlines for project assigned projects
  • Accountable for personal and team performance
  • Functional knowledge of the Human Resources discipline and applicable laws and regulations around data and data privacy
  • Strong problem-solving, decision-making, and customer service skills, even under rapidly shifting circumstances
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Project management skills (particularly with respect to organization, planning, and time management)
  • Demonstrated ability to identify the root cause(s) of problems/inefficiencies in business processes
  • Ability to present data in a logical, concise manner
  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to maintain the highest level of confidentiality at all times
  • Ability to work effectively with attorneys and all levels of management

Qualifications & Requirements

A Bachelor’s degree in or equivalent experience in a related field and a minimum of five (5) years of experience in Human Resources required.  Proficiency with MS Office, particularly Excel, is also required.  Experience in a law firm or professional services environment preferred.  The HR Operations Specialist must have excellent judgment; exceptional problem-solving skills; superior oral, written and interpersonal communication skills; and the ability to work effectively in a fast-paced environment. In addition, the successful candidate will be self-motivated, organized, and able to multi-task and effectively prioritize competing demands on his or her time and attention. 

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. #LI-Hybrid #LI-NK1