Lawyer Returns to Former Firm Months After Leaving for Kirkland

When Kirkland & Ellis LLP brought on Scott Jones from Proskauer Rose LLP in February, it trumpeted the hire as a “key addition” to its new, fast-growing Boston office. Jones would start a tax practice group in the city to support Kirkland’s local private equity practice, the firm said.

Five months later, that “key addition” is back at his former firm. Proskauer announced this week that Jones had rejoined the firm’s tax department in Boston. Before his short stint at Kirkland, he had been at Proskauer since 2005.

“We are delighted to welcome Scott back home!” Proskauer tax department chair Ira Bogner said in a statement. “His breadth of experience advising on the tax aspects of fund formation and related matters is a very valuable resource to our clients, and he is an integral part of our practice.”

Jones’ reversal may be the first road bump faced by Kirkland since the Chicago-founded firm opened its Boston office in the spring of 2017. The highest-grossing law firm in the U.S., Kirkland has scooped up partners from some of Boston’s top legal outfits, including Ropes & Gray LLP, Choate Hall & Stewart LLP and Proskauer.

It has ramped up to more than 40 attorneys in the city in a little more than a year, growing faster than most — if not all — of the other national legal powerhouses that have entered Boston this decade. It doesn’t hurt that the average Kirkland equity partner brings in $4.7 million in profits per year, third-highest in the country, according to The American Lawyer. Its clients include some of the biggest names in Boston private equity, including Bain Capital and ABRY Partners.

Jones was not available to talk on Tuesday about the reasons behind his short-lived Kirkland tenure. For Kirkland’s part, a firm spokesman said only that, “We thank Scott for his contributions and wish him all the best in the future.”

Rob Zinn, a Boston-based managing director for legal recruiting firm Major Lindsey & Africa, said that there did not appear to be any ill will on the part of either Jones or Kirkland. Zinn has worked with both Kirkland and Proskauer, but he was not involved with Jones’ recent move, he said.

“I give Scott a great deal of credit for realizing it wasn’t the right fit for him,” Zinn said. “Not a lot of people would walk away from an opportunity to work at Kirkland. Hats off to him for doing it in such a professional manner.”

Jones clearly didn’t burn bridges when he left Proskauer, Zinn pointed out. He is returning to the 13th-largest law firm in Massachusetts, with 115 local lawyers as of earlier this year. It is one of the 50 highest-grossing law firms in the U.S., and it has profits per equity partner of $2.4 million, according to The American Lawyer.

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