The Kirkland & Ellis Corporate Lab successfully completed in excess of 100 projects during the 2018–2019 academic year in collaboration with a wide range of companies, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Accenture, Allstate, Archer Daniels Midland, Baxter, GrubHub, Honeywell, IBM, John Deere, Koch Industries, Kraft Heinz, Meijer, Microsoft, Nike, Schneider National, Schreiber Foods, Sony Electronics, The 3M Company, Ulta Beauty, Verizon and various start-up companies, both on an individual basis and in connection with the Booth School of Business (including both the New Venture Challenge and the Social New Venture Challenge).
Additionally, the Lab engaged several new clients, including Crate & Barrel, Pier 1 Imports and A.T. Kearney.
The Lab’s transactional clinic continues to enjoy great success due in large part to the interesting projects and high-quality work that draw ambitious students and leading organizations to come together to collaborate on solving cutting-edge legal and business problems. During the past academic year, the Lab focused on many contract drafting projects, including a significant overhaul of a major international corporation’s form Master Manufacturing, Supply and Services Agreement.
The Lab also provided significant guidance to various companies regarding Europe’s new General Data Privacy Regulation, which significantly tightened the legal landscape surrounding the collection and use of data by companies. In connection with this area, the Lab produced memoranda for numerous clients ranging from retailers to technology companies, offering advice tailored to each company’s data collection and use practices.
In addition to the foregoing, the following is a representative sampling of the many projects undertaken by the Lab over the past academic year:
- Drafted director and officer questionnaire to be used in conjunction with a publicly-traded corporation’s board of director nominations in its proxy statement
- Reviewed a multi-national corporation’s bylaws as compared to those of its peers and drafted revisions based on the resulting findings
- Reviewed and commented on the risk factors section of a publicly-traded company’s 10-K and worked with the client’s in-house legal team to revise accordingly
- Drafted a white paper for a large device manufacturer on various intellectual property ownership issues arising from algorithms developed by machine learning using customer data
- Drafted a memorandum for a global manufacturer on the state of laws governing the use of automated decision making in analyzing employment applications
- Drafted a memorandum for a multi-national corporation on best practices for conducting internal investigations and drafted accompanying training materials
- Researched and advised on the environmental risks associated with a national retailer opening a new location
- Reviewed and commented on a healthcare company’s distribution agreement in connection with a potential European investment
- Drafted the terms and agreements section of a national retailer’s website and in-store wireless internet click-wrap
- Drafted licensing, consulting, and settlement agreements for various large corporations
- Assisted numerous startup clients with drafting corporate bylaws, employment agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and other documents relating to launching a startup business
Corporate Social Responsibility
- Acting as outside general counsel, provided advice on various areas of law relating to non-profit client’s mission to bring legal education to underserved pro se litigants
Beyond substantive projects, the Lab continued to host its acclaimed Speaker Series program. The Speaker Series provides Lab students with an opportunity to hear from leading practitioners (from both law firms and corporations) on core areas of law (e.g., the fundamentals of a specific type of transaction), topical business-and-law issues, and the real-world concerns critical to young attorneys’ success (e.g., client relations and professional best practices). In addition to many other esteemed practitioners, the following industry leaders participated in the Speaker Series over this past academic year:
- Barbara Kolsun (Professor at Cardozo Law; former Executive VP and GC of Stuart Weitzman);
- Scott Falk, Neil Hirshman, Sean Kramer, Joe Graham, Steve Richie, Brian Van Klompenberg (Kirkland);
- Nate Lutz, Phil Kiebler and Brandi Van Leeuwen (Meijer);
- Jeff Jakubowicz and Neal Stern (Counsel to the National Basketball Association);
- David Bronner (K&L Gates), David Brown and Brian Krob (Nixon Peabody);
- Charles Edwards (DLA Piper);
- Mike Weitz and Dave Hales (Lazard);
- Brian Crotty and Brendan Heneghan (IBM);
- Eileen Kamerick (Board member of several NYSE listed companies);
- Jason Sussman (The Pritzker Organization);
- Andrew Boutros (Seyfarth Shaw);
- William Ridgeway (Counsel at Skadden, Arps; Former Assistant U.S. Attorney).
In addition, the Lab hosted the eighth annual Transactional Challenge for rising second-year law students to provide exposure to corporate practice during the first law school summer. Over half of the rising second-year class registered for the Challenge, which allows students to compete in a series of real-world corporate transactional exercises. The Challenge also gives participating students an opportunity to network with senior in-house counsel and law firm partners as part of several post-Challenge events.