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Associate Director, Project Management

Job ID: 5086

Updated: Jun 25, 2019

Location: Chicago, IL, United States

Category: Information Technology

About Kirkland & Ellis

Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a preeminent, full-service law firm with offices around the world and a staff as diverse as the practice areas we support. Our clients range from Fortune 100 companies to medium and small corporations, financial institutions, and private equity firms.  Known for our commitment to excellence, Kirkland strives to provide superior service to our clients as well as our fellow employees. From Information Technology to Human Resources, Paralegal Services to Business Development, Kirkland offers non-attorney professionals challenging careers in a variety of functional areas. Whether starting or growing your career, Kirkland can offer a performance-driven culture filled with bright and innovative teams of co-workers.

Essential Job Functions

The Associate Director of the Project Management Office (PMO) is responsible for leading a team of senior project managers who drive the most complex and critical technology-enabled project efforts in accordance with the Firm’s project lifecycle, policies, procedures, standards and guidelines. The individual is responsible for building and maintaining the Firm’s project portfolio by business unit with input from all areas throughout the year.  He or she will need to demonstrate mastery in the Firm’s project management tool to maintain and update the overall Firm portfolio to ensure focus on what is most important to the Firm and to help determine where PMO-led project management can be best applied. He or she will also be conferring with senior leadership to ensure that project management efforts are effectively focused on the top priorities of the Firm. The person in this role will need to mentor and guide project managers to drive efforts from project charter inception through to the desired end state in a manner that is transparent/measurable, on time and on budget.  Lastly, he or she may run projects when/where necessary to help deliver results and to stress-test procedures and make continuous process improvements when warranted.

Candidates for this role must have excellent people and process management skills coupled with a strong technology background and an ability to write, lead and present at meetings and influence people effectively. The individual in this role must be detail oriented and self-motivated with a strong commitment and focus on getting the best results for the customer. He or she must lead by example, influencing those within and outside of the IT organization, work well with other teams and be methodically organized.



  • Developing organizational mission, objectives, milestones and plans with some oversight from a Director level manager or higher. 
  • Leading development of document structures with minor guidance.
  • Idea generation with customer, creation of IT strategy in a particular area.
  • Strong spoken communication of tactical plans to team on a routine basis.
  • Ability to create and deliver performance reviews, improvement plans and career plans.
  • Advanced active listening skills.

Decision Making

  • Makes complex decisions based upon experience, analysis and judgment.
  • Coaches employees on decision making process. 
  • Holds others accountable for quality and timeliness of decisions.
  • Incorporates new information with historical information to make timely decisions.
  • Implements personnel decisions.
  • Partners with HR on personnel decisions.

Interpersonal Skills

  • Identifies, diffuses and resolves conflicts and redirects teams. 
  • Helps clients and teams resolve conflicts through the use of conflict resolution tools and techniques.
  • Negotiates skillfully in difficult situations with both internal and external groups.
  • Inspires and motivates.
  • Recognized as a positive and motivational leader on the team.

Strategic/Change Leadership

  • Manages complex organizational development, including team development and strategic change programs.
  • Affects change within sphere of influence. 
  • Creates focus by quickly sensing what will help or hinder accomplishing a goal. 
  • Quickly eliminates roadblocks and barriers to group performance in order to spend time and time of others on what is important. 
  • Contributes individually or through others. 
  • Assumes responsibility for others and for team results.


  • Any other related functions/duties as assigned by management. Functions may vary based on portfolio needs.

Qualifications & Requirements

8+ years’ project/portfolio management experience; managerial experience preferred. Bachelor’s degree. Computer science major and/or graduate experience a plus.

  • Leading a PMO, developing project management and portfolio management approaches and continuously improving a PMO
  • Project Management Software
  • Strong working knowledge and use of Microsoft Office suite
  • Affinity to learn and use new software


  • Leads PMO team to run projects in accordance with Firm's project management lifecycle at both program and project levels.
  • Actively mentors to improve understanding and use of Firm PM Tool, methods and practices; helps build and maintain PMO lifecycle and its artifacts.
  • Provides end-to-end portfolio creation and management.
  • Influences business teams and leadership to align and adopt on team’s project efforts and major Firm technology changes.
  • Works with team to ensure daily/standard use of Project Management Portfolio system, providing up-to-date transparent view into project workplan, status and risks.
  • Determines effectiveness and appropriately hones current PM Lifecycle and its artifacts to allow for best results.
  • Manages team and self to assigned project efforts in accordance with the Firm's methodologies, guiding principles, policy & behaviors.
  • Manages team and self to run projects at all levels with appropriate work breakdown structure (WBS) and resource plan that supports overall project goals and timeline.
  • Works with functional / resource manager to on board and manage assigned resources.
  • Actively utilizes Firm’s portfolio project management (PPM) system to create project timelines, update status, and drive task completions from inception to production readiness review (PRR) to go-live and project close.
  • Recognizes and manages risk and issues with Firm’s PPM tool; effectively manages team and self to keep sponsors and stakeholders apprised of status and escalates issues in a timely and appropriate manner.
  • Demonstrates highly effective meeting management skills with others and recruits, maintains and mentors project management staff to do same.
  • Supports annual portfolio planning and management.
  • Conducts quality reviews of PMO controlled efforts to ensure compliance with overall firm standards and PM methodology.
  • Tracks and actively oversees all project/programs ensure timing, quality, and scope and resources are aligned for delivery as defined in charter.
  • Acts as escalation point for risks and issues; proactively identifies risks and issues missed by project managers.
  • Leads by example with transparency, accountability and ownership for successful execution of PMO led project efforts; may step in as needed to run key project(s) or program based on risk and business criticality.
  • Builds and mentors seasoned teams of project managers to provide end to end project delivery that meets, if not exceeds, sponsor/stakeholder expectations.
  • Works with teams to help understand and define the needs of the Firm practices and administrative functions at an enterprise level to help set IT program. 
  • Actively measures success by providing on time, on budget project delivery that meets business requirements and objectives.

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.